Well my friends, we have reached day 366 of the year 2016. At least that’s what my big ole wall calendar tells me. I don’t want to do any research beyond that, so if I’m wrong, just let me be wrong. Leap year, right?
For the past few years, rather than making a New Year’s resolution, I’ve chosen a word or theme for the coming year – what I hope to learn, settle in to, or be intentional about in the days ahead. For 2016, that word was dwell.
According to the people who make up meanings for words, dwell means: to live or continue in a given condition or state; to linger over, emphasize, or ponder in thought, speech, or writing.
As I entered in to 2016, I wanted to figure out what dwelling with God, myself, and others could look like. To live or continue in a state of rejoicing or mourning with those I care about. To linger over what the Lord was doing in my life, and not freak the heck out about it. To ponder anew what the Almighty can do if I just sit and continue with Him.
I wanted to ask, is this a relationship worth me dwelling in? Is open, honest life with this person a mutual calling to good, or one-sided exploitation that does both of us harm?
And ultimately, I wanted to sit in this question: If all I ever do is dwell with the One who came to dwell with us – if Jesus is all I ever get – is that enough?
You know how when they say if you pray for patience, be ready to experience opportunities to practice patience? Well, same principle applies.
2016 was full of opportunities to let life get the best of me. To be anxious and afraid and feel a lot of crap that the enemy wanted to use against me. Sometimes dwell was the last thing I wanted to do – unless it was dwelling in my bedroom, under the covers, with my eyelids shut tight.
Many times I felt a stirring in my heart/soul/insides/whatever that made me restless, itchy, anxious, and afraid. Insecurities I thought had been put to bed came bubbling back up. The opposite of dwelling seemed like the easier choice so often in the past 365 days.
But the most amazing thing happened.
I stuck around.
I continued in the state I was given.
And God didn’t leave me.
My friends didn’t leave me.
I was able to dwell in the midst of some disruptive crapitty-crap and I am coming out the other side still alive.
There are marked moments of God showing up, helping me to dwell and to settle in to life, disrupted, but not shaken by the world around me.
He allowed for words to be spoken to me that applied an instant salve on my heart.
He illuminated His mercy for me in new ways that left me speechless.
He dwelled with me throughout the entire time, not leaving me on the rickety boat alone, but stuck around, hoisting the sails, bailing water that came in over the sides, making sure that if nothing else, we stayed afloat.
Even though today is the last day of the year and most resolutions are resolved, I think this whole dwell thing has really only begun. Today – right now – Jesus is enough. Other days, honestly, it doesn’t seem like He is. But the best part about dwelling with Him is that, even when I tell Him that I don’t believe He’s enough, He still sticks around.
I cannot wait to see what 2017 brings – the joy and hope in what God is up to, the depth of relationship He will continue to grow, and the promise He is the God that will never leave or forsake us growing more and more true in my life.
Now, I need to go pack my gold sparkly heels (that I will have officially worn for the 3rd time in 4 years after tonight). I’ve got a wedding to go to and a rug to cut.
Thank you again Kayla, for sharing with us your life. I love how well you can express yourself in the written word, and how open you are with us. It is such an encouragement for me. Life is not easy. God never said it would be. So many times his word talks about “our trials”. They are hard, and can be messy, but he is in it with us. Sometimes we don’t really focus on Him there but when we calm down and “dwell” on that situation, we do see that he was there all the time, and trying to teach us through it all. God bless you for being so opened, and just being you. We love you girl. Happy New Year, 2017.
[…] was the year of dwelling. 2017 was the year of […]