I've heard of picking a word for the year, or a Scripture verse for the year, and while it always seemed like a nice idea, until recently I have only been able to pick a word or verse in retrospect - "well, that word would have fit, or this verse would have been good..." It may have taken me around 4 months into the year, but I finally have a word for this year: genuine.
Genuine - adj. \ˈjen-yə-wən
: actual, real, or true : not false or fake
: free from hypocrisy or pretense : sincere and honest
Several years ago, I think I was pretty genuine. I would say what I meant, I wasn't afraid of confrontation or friends disagreeing with me. Then I spoke up about something, honestly thinking that almost everyone would actually agree with me, and instead, I incurred the disapproval of many adults, and alienated a few of my closest friends. It was a big change, and a turning point in my life, I think.
Even though it was painful, I can see that it was a good thing that I learned who they truly were. I was deceived about what kind of friends I had, and now I know they weren't truly my friends, or the kind of people I'd want for close friends, anyway. Seeing through their artificiality made me more determined to be myself, although I haven't been putting it into practice very well for the past few years. It's a little scary to realize that you can so quickly be rejected by those you thought were your friends, but isn't better to have real friends who truly know you, and love you anyway?
I'm tired of feeling like a fake, tired of wondering if the people I'm around actually know me. I'm not going to try to be who others want me to be, or try to be the kind of girl that attracts friends. This year, I intend to be the person that one person, the most important person, wants me to be; I'm going to strive to be who God wants me to be.
I think I was on the right track before, but I let the disapproval and loss of my former friends derail me. I started to doubt myself, and doubt my stance on certain issues. Then I let bitterness and self-pity take over my heart. But finally, I forgive. I've let go. I'm ready to get back on track. I want to follow God, and say whatever He leads me to say, no matter what the response might be.
If I'm just chatting with people, I want to be natural and not self-conscious. I may sometimes be a little silly, or say something dumb, but I don't want to be afraid to speak up. Likewise, in important issues, a person of genuine character wouldn't keep quiet in the face of lies and deception. I want to have the courage to speak the truth, and be a genuine follower of my Lord.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. - 1 Peter 1:3-9
Because of the wonderful mercy of God, those of us who are born again through our resurrected Savior have a glorious inheritance in heaven. We can rejoice in that, even though our short lives may be filled with trials. Those trials are to test the genuineness of our faith! And that genuine faith is for the praise, glory and honor of Jesus. May my faith be found genuine by the testing.
9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. - Romans 12:9-13
This is the passage that I have chosen for my scripture of the year. This a very concise set of instructions that gives me a great starting place in being genuine. I'm excited and inspired, and after a few years of the bondage to what other people think of me, I feel so free and relieved! I'm looking forward to who God will lead me to be, and living genuinely the rest of my life.
Do you have a word for 2014? Or a special scripture verse for the year?