2018 - The year of Fullness

So I know we’re already 2/3 through January, but I wanted to post about my word for the year! It’s not a New Year’s Resolution, so I figure I can post about it any time I want! For the past several years, I’ve chosen one word to form and inform my goals, attitudes and actions for the year. And as 2017 was coming to an end, I had a very long shortlist, I knew that I’d have to choose during my trip to Zambia since that’s where I would be ringing in the new year, but I had no idea that, like so many times before, the word would choose me! The word FULLNESS was already in my top 3, and it was confirmed in a very beautiful way!

The moment the picture below depicts was when we went to meet the Chief. I’d brought a gift from Taiwan for the occasion, but I wasn’t sure if it would be appropriate for me to give it or not, after all, I was there accompanying my dear friends, and very content to remain in the background. The Chief is a man of impressive vision and authority. He shared his belief that in order to build a country, community or church, it must start with building up people and that the power to lead people comes from God. This resonated with me so much, and when it came time to present my gift, I thanked him for what he had shared and explained the rose stone I’d brought from Taiwan. What happened next is a moment that will remain with me forever: he began to speak a blessing over me that I knew was prophecy because I wasn’t so much hearing his words as feeling them in my soul, he spoke to my deepest needs and encouraged me with this: The place from which you have given will not remain empty.

I tend to be a giver, but I can have a hard time accepting help.  Many people have told me that I have a big heart, I’m sometimes not sure if that’s a strength or a weakness. But in that moment, I was reminded of a lesson God will probably spend my whole life teaching me: when we give from a place of fullness it is both pure and effective. When we give with open hearts and open hands, we remain open to receive even more. So I declare 2018 to be a year of fullness, enough, abundance and not lack. It’s going to be about learning to be satisfied, content, grateful and so many other things. I’m hoping to have a different “fullness” for each month of the year, but for January I’ve just been focusing on fullness – appreciating the experiences I’ve been given, living in the present, and even simply considering my own hunger and fullness cues as I continue on a journey toward greater physical health. I even learned how to say “I’m full” in Bemba – ninchikuta! I’d like to be a food ninja for sure!

For me this year began with joy (Psalm 16:11- in your presence is fullness of joy), connection (Ephesians 1:23 - the fullness of him who fills everything in every way)  and abundance (John 1:16 – from the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another). I got to visit another continent, ride a camel, see incredible sights and bond with new and old friends. No matter what this year brings, I can’t deny how blessed it has already been.

January: fullness
February: faithfulness
March: mindfulness
April: cheerfulness
May: watchfulness
June: gracefulness
July: helpfulness
August: hopefulness
September: usefulness
October: thankfulness
November: thoughtfulness
December: fruitfulness

There are lots of bible verses about fullness, especially in Ephesians! I think to the words of this beautiful prayer that I memorized long ago:
Eph 3:14-19 For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

One final thought, or maybe challenge for me is this quote from Charles Spurgeon: You will never know the fullness of Christ until you know the emptiness of everything but Christ. I don’t think fullness is about hedonism at all, but about learning when and how to appreciate what one already has. Just like “investing” in 2017 ended up looking a lot like “boundaries” for me, there will be times that fullness looks like emptiness. May I have the wisdom to see it and embrace it.