image by Tiffany Kirchner Dixon
I'll never forget the first time I heard the Lord say, "Name this." It hadn't dawned on me yet that to name a thing was our original mandate, dating back to the beginning of man and time. Ever since Adam named the animals, if we are wise, we too have assigned specific meaning to the various things that are significant in our lives.
There have been times, when I've been on my way to participate in something that feels meaningless to me, the Holy Spirit has whispered to me to "name it" - to assign it a meaning and purpose. When I have been obedient, that very outcome, or meaning I assigned to the activity comes to pass without fail. Not because "my" words have power....no. Rather, I believe this is because I searched out the purposes and plan and heart of God, then agreed with it by faith, then named accordingly.
At the beginning of 2010, I again heard the Lord say, "Name the year." So I did. My word for 2010 was "Create". And create I did. Things and events, big and small, flowed out of my life that year, from concept to completion. The word gave me a focus, and so I taught myself new skills that are still with me today, and will always be with me. Did I accomplish everything I wanted to create? No, of course not. But I created a whole lot more than I ever would have without a focus.
Same for 2011. The word I heard in my spirit for the year 2011 was "Sow!" With the exclamation point (!). There was an urgency to it.
Sow I have. In the past year, I've planted seed in myself and others. I've sown "beside all waters", in all circumstances. I sowed in places and people I didn't expect, and not in expected places or people who expected me to. There were places in my life that didn't seem ready for seed - but I scattered it anyway. In the morning, I sowed my seed, in the evening I did not withhold my hand, because the Lord had said that there was no way for my finite brain to know whether this patch or that patch, or both alike would flourish. Have I sown everything I'd hoped to sow? Nah. But I've sowed far, far more than I ever would have without that focused effort.
I have to say - as big as the results from my 2010 focus were, the results from 2011's "Sow!" have been even greater. Let me choose my description carefully, without overstating or understating:
Life changing. That's what focusing on the one word "Sow!" was for me in 2011.
The word "sow" denotes the very beginning stages of any enterprise, be it a plant or a person. The seed first has to be planted. In 2011, I planted seeds for the future. Who knows which seed will flourish? I planted for my own health. I sowed into my own destiny first. God said to do it that way. At the same time, I began a fresh and different process of planting into others - and this will continue into 2012 and beyond.
Every year that I assign to it a name, there ends up a fulfillment of the name. The year lives up to its name. There is always a harvest at the end of it - a "gathering in" that carries over into the following year, and even into the rest of my life.
And so, as I say goodbye to 2011, still holding my tools for creation, and my bags of seed (I get to keep what I name, you see) I have prayerfully asked the Lord what the word for my life for 2012 should be...and faithfully, He has answered:
Now that I think about it, it makes perfect sense. First you sow, and then you....yeah. Cultivate. And I'm beyond excited at the prospects for the coming year. I know I will be working even harder than last year, because I will be creating the environment for the growth of what ever else sprouts from 2011. What if every bit of it sprouts? Oh. Mah. Werd. I'll be working twelve hour days. Cultivation is a bit more involved than sowing, but the rewards are...
...a flourishing harvest.