Happy New Year has a ring to it, huh? The old one, you know 2016, the year that took Prince, Carrie Fischer, Daryl Coley and far too many beloved celebrities. You remember the trip around the sun that has America bracing for a Trump presidency. And, closer to home, so much happened in my private life that, at one point, I didn’t know if I was going or coming. But, enough about that.
Right now, I’m Relentless. And, that’s my word for the year.
Every year in November, I start praying about the following year’s guiding word. Since 2013, scriptures have inspired my word choices. This past November, the word relentless inspired me to find a complementing scripture. It haunted me so that I had no other choice but to make it my word for 2017.
According to Google, relentless means oppressively constant; incessant. Other dictionaries had the following meanings: showing or promising no abatement of severity, intensity, strength, or pace (Merriam-Webster) and that does not relent; unyieldingly severe, strict, or harsh; unrelenting (Dictionary.com). I chose the Google definition not for scholarly merit but for imagery the definition inspires.
Oppressively Constant: Relentless Imagery
As a Black woman who is a descendant of slaves, when I think of oppression I feel the pain of it down to my soul. It’s like my DNA remembers my ancestors being ripped from their homeland, placed in shackles to trek across the wilderness, and then stuffed into the bowels of ships like the chattel they would become once their feet touched American soil. It’s like the inner parts of me can feel every lash, every moan of frustration and even the hopelessness of being oppressed. As a Christian, it’s feeling compassion for the children of Israel who Pharaoh, in spite of Moses’ incessant admonishment and wrath of God, would not release. The sacred cries of let my people go burns within me.
Slavery was oppressively constant.
The imagery I saw when I read my chosen definition was me being oppressively constant in pursuing my goals and in overcoming bad habits, pain, regret and anything that keeps me from receiving everything that God has in store for me.
Finding the right scripture was hard. I don’t own a comprehensive concordance, but I hope to purchase Strong’s Concordance later this year. So, I went through sermon notes, journal entries, Bible highlights, books and the interwebs to find a scripture to reinforce the word God placed on my heart.
My pastor conducted a series on prayer and then Dr. Bill Winston held a conference on faith at our church in November. I realized through prayer that my faith needed to be stronger. As I studied faith, I ended up in Hebrews. And then I started googling. Finally, I found a scripture that not only supported my core beliefs about prayer and faith, but it gave the added benefit of knowing that perseverance is making a commitment to completing the work I set out do.
Hebrews 10:36, spoke to me and reinforced the word in my spirit, “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” By nature, I am a hard worker. But, I wasn’t working hard for God or me. I was working hard for money and for other people to make money.
Last year, my word was integrity. I used the second definition of being whole and undivided. And, I went through most of the year being just that. My integrity realigned itself with the Word of God and, as I mentioned earlier, I went through some trials that left me in deep, constant, emotional pain. But, I remained whole and undivided.
Being Relentless in the New Year
People will tell you that New Year’s Day is a time when you can leave everything from the previous year behind. Life is not tidy. Our minds and bodies don’t work that way. If so, I would have awakened 25 pounds lighter on January 1st.
Yes, the first day of the year is a great point of reference for those of us who live and die by the calendar. But, what if I told you that life is merely putting thoughts into action one step at a time, every day that we are blessed to breathe.
Every morning is a new year.
Do you have a guiding word, scripture or quote for 2017? If so, tell me in the comments below. If you wrote a blog post about your word please link to it.