Around this time last year, I wrote the words: “Reaching the end of December has been a relief. I am glad 2019 is (nearly) over. I’m also glad I made it through. God’s strength is what got me through it all. Not my own strength.”
Change the year to this year and we could be talking about 2020 instead of 2019.
What was I talking about, you may ask? I’m talking about my annual, “What’s Your Word?” post. Never heard of it? Well, pull up a chair and let’s go there.
Back in 2016 (or prior – I don’t exactly remember now), I began thinking about resolutions. We were, after all, approaching the end of the year and it was time to make a resolution. What was I going to resolve to do better or achieve in 2017?
In 2017 and 2018, I wanted to help people see beyond that standard act. January 1 makes it convenient to change or try something new. But, who says a “resolution” can only be on January 1? . (What’s Your Word? 2018)
I came up with a new word each month for those two years. Why does a resolution only happen on January 1? Any time is a good time to start something new or make a positive change. Don’t wait until January to do it. Make the choice today.
Or, so I believed.
It was simply about encouraging people. Find a word, gain focus and live out that word, be it for a day, a month or a year. Fight for it, was how I put it.
Then 2019 rolled around and, oh boy! My word for 2019 was “strength”. God gave me that word, through prayer and fasting. I needed every ounce of His strength that He offered. And in the process, I grew to trust God more.
The monthly encouraging Instagram “words” grew fainter, but I was learning something that I needed to learn.
Fast forward to December 2019.
My word for 2020 is RELEASE.
I don’t know what it means yet. There are some ideas stirring around in my head, but I’ve learned the hard way that it is best to put my faith and trust in God to see me through. I will let Him decide what “release” means and pray He helps me to understand it.What’s Your Word? – Sunny Cadwallader, December 2019
2020 was the Year of Release.
I got that word from the Lord in December 2019. I’m sitting here not even wanting to type that out because of how…well, it was…the truth.
January 21, 2020, I had to say good-bye to my beloved dog, Chewey. If you haven’t read my story, “Dear Chewey” yet, please take the time to read it if you can. He wasn’t just a dog. He was an answered prayer. But, I had to release him.
July 6, 2020, my husband’s family had to say good-bye to their matriarch. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, here in Washington state, not everyone could be with her when she took her last breath here on earth. The funeral which should have been attended by hundreds of people was minimally attended, even though we had an outside service.
Releasing a loved one. Releasing hopes, dreams, desires for a proper good-bye.
Did I mention a pandemic? Yeah, about that. While some had to walk through their own release of loved ones due to the coronavirus, others were released from jobs and schools. Some had to release the freedoms they once enjoyed, depending upon where they lived. Release was happening around the world in a multitude of ways.
Release – I’m not one who “predicts” things. I take no glory in what 2020 has wrought through release. Now more than ever I am leaning into submission before the Lord. I don’t have it mastered because, well, I’m still here on earth and not in heaven with Him. I just know that without Him, I couldn’t cope.
Which brings us to 2021.
My mindset is very different this year. There’s a lot of internal wrestling going on, but I try to never show it. God is walking me through a process that doesn’t make sense to people. It wouldn’t make sense to the outside world. I’m not even sure I can explain it to anyone else.
I just know that there is an internal process happening that is forcing me to make some decisions spiritually.
What do I believe? Will I stay or will I go? Will I speak or stay silent? Will I share on social media or go dark? Will I obey God or shrink back into disobedience? Will I choose to stay comfortable by longing for the “normal” or let Him be the normal?
Back in April, I posted this on my Facebook/Instagram stories. Thankfully, I posted it on my FB news feed. While I can’t post the direct video within this post, I am able to post the link for you to watch on God being the normal.
Being comfortable is easy. There’s no challenge to it. There’s no growth to be had. It’s…existence.
I don’t want to just exist.
Even within the “Christian” culture, we grow comfortable. We grow comfortable with going to church, singing songs, listening to a sermon, reading a devotional, having the bible read to us on our phones and, dare I say, serving in church or communities. (I’m preaching to myself here.)
All of that can bring a level of comfort to our earthly existence.
The word that I heard that I couldn’t shake loose is the word “Vertical”. Two bible verses have jumped out at me with this word.
Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.Colossians 3:2 (NKJV)
But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God;
I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever.Psalm 52:8 (NKJV)
Vertical could mean exactly what Colossians 3:2 says, to focus on things above…focus on God. Seems simple enough. Look up, to Him.
As for Psalm 52:8, I’m thinking trees…growth…up…vertical. Then again, reading some of the commentaries on this verse, the green olive tree symbolizes established and flourishing despite what the circumstances may be at the time. There’s much more to that entire passage in Psalm 52, as well as other scriptural references to the olive/olive tree.
However, I hope I know better than to assume either of my interpretations are accurate. Just like I wrote last year, “I don’t know what it means yet. There are some ideas stirring around in my head, but I’ve learned the hard way that it is best to put my faith and trust in God to see me through. I will let Him decide what “release” means and pray He helps me to understand it.“
And so, I will ponder, wait and for now, focus on the one that sounds easy, but really isn’t without the help of the Holy Spirit.
I will focus my eyes and mind on things above. Focus on God.
Focus on the vertical.