I’m delighted to share the first guest post of 2016 with you. It’s a fitting first as it is this writer’s first time guest posting as well. Please welcome writer, photographer, artist Amanda Taylor to A Voice in the Noise today.
I over think everything, and I do mean everything.
Last year I tried to come up with one word to try and meditate on, one word to lead me through the year and recenter me when needed. I would come up with a word that I thought God wanted me to have. Then I would over think it, second guess it and dismiss it. I would think to myself maybe it’s a word I want but not the word that God wants me to have.
I could never settle on a word. Feeling defeated I gave up and let it go. I stopped thinking about the word and what it could have meant for my year, how God could have spoken to me through that word.
This is year I have taken a new approach to it. I started early in December. As I anticipated the birth of Christ I started to ask God to show me a word that he wanted me to focus on. I started softly whispering to God that I was ready to hear what he wanted to tell me. This year I wasn’t going to try and come up with it on my own. I was going to wait however long it took to hear and feel a word that came from Him, not from me.
Shortly after Christmas I took a trip up to one of my favorite places to think, reflect, recenter. I wanted to hear God clearly. This monastery is so dear to my heart that I feel at peace as soon as I drive onto the grounds.
I sat and wrote some notes to myself, some things to remember this coming year and I thought more about my word and then I corrected myself – God’s word. It was God’s word I was asking for that would become mine over the coming year. But first I had to understand it was his word.
During vespers as the monks sang out the feelings rang through my soul and I quietly sang back. I took in all that God was trying to tell me and for once I wasn’t quick to second guess it or jump to conclusions.
I thought maybe, just maybe, he was pointing me in the direction he wished me to go so I asked louder for Him to please show me what it was he had for me. What word would propel me into the new year and closer to what he had in store for me?
It wasn’t until just a couple days later as I was getting up, still feeling heavy from sleep and groggy in my thoughts, that one word shouted out to me as clear as a bell. I could barely focus on pulling myself together and heading to the shower but one word was so clear it sparkled.
I showered and washed away the fog from my brain. As the hot water permeated my flesh, this crystal clear word acceptance permeated my soul.
That was my WORD, the word I had asked for and this year patiently waited for. Last year I second guessed and tried to fit the meaning of the word into my life. This glorious word needed no guessing. I didn’t need to try and make it fit because as surely as I knew the word, I felt how it fit.
I second guess everything no matter if it’s from another person, a thought I have on my own or something I think God is trying to give me to. I second guess, overthink, and then get so bogged down. Confused by it all, I stop dead in my tracks and refuse to move forward one step more.
This year God has given me the word acceptance. I need to accept that when I have a feeling, a thought or nudge that tells me it’s what God wants for my life; accept it.
I want to accept the word he has given me, accept the path he is trying to lead me down and accept that I don’t need to be in charge.
I will accept the challenges that he is surely placing in my path are for me to grow and become closer to him, accept that he does all of this for me and that he does it out of a holy love I can’t yet understand.
Acceptance will come and I will embrace it, not only from God and for him but in other aspects of my life.
I need to accept that my womb will never hold another new life but that my heart still might hold that life and love. I have to accept that my only baby is going to college and she will make her own choices and mistakes. I accept that God wants me to travel across the world to a foreign land to share his love with the lost.
I have accepted my word from God and I am accepting all the challenges ahead this year.
I can sing a little louder, I can smile wider and I can be in his holy spirit more fully because I know I am accepted by Him and it’s going to be an amazing 2016.
Amanda Taylor is an elementary school art teacher living just south of Atlanta. She shares her home with her husband,daughter and a menagerie of animals. Her passion for helping others and desire to share the word of God with the hurt and lost comes through in her artwork, photography and writing. She can be found on Instagram and Twitter as @it_tingles.
Header photo courtesy of Amanda Taylor