Daring. Leadership. Promise.
These are the star words that I’ve collected over the last few years. I gaze upon them regularly, as they hover beside me 40 hours a week, clipped to the lampshade on my desk. These are the words I carry with me for at least a year, and even beyond, as I really haven’t been able to shake any of them yet. They have taken my breath away; they’ve left my mind pondering, my heart pounding and my soul stirring; they’ve made me pay attention to them.
It’s great to have a star word to hang one’s hat upon for 365 days.
My star word resides in my periphery. For a season or longer, it rests on the tip of my tongue; it is imprinted on my heart. I am keenly aware of it when I encounter it in my daily living, or in worship or in song or prayer; the hearing or seeing of my star word or its illustration prompts me to turn my eyes upon Jesus, praying for guidance, querying its application, or even insisting upon my denial.
Prior to 2020 I had been reading Embracing Obscurity: Becoming Nothing in Light of God’s Everything by Anonymous. I was seeking insight as to how to love God with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my mind and with all my strength, albeit obscurely, as glory is the Lord’s, and vainglory is waste, right?
But then I received my first star word in 2020 – “daring.” Upon seeing it, butterflies erupted in my stomach, and I laughed out loud, wondering what new, exiting, anxiety-inducing thing God might have in store and how daring is obscure. God and I still have a good giggle about that. In looking to The Source, “daring” is living a life of hope, bold in love with Emmanuel, thanks be to God, and the filling-to-overflowing provision of the Holy Spirit by the God that is love forever and ever amen. “Daring.” It’s just wow. It’s star word jazz hands and I enjoy it immensely.
In 2021, “leadership”, garnered a weak-in-the-knees response: “surely I am not a leader”, I muttered to myself – I’d prefer not to be the one in charge, but rather be the bathroom attendant or the valet at the banquet as in the parable in Luke 14. Yet God showed me that leadership is found in servant hood, and I pray that God might make me a faithful servant forever in His service.
Eliciting a “wait a minute, I’m not so sure about this” response in 2022 was “promise”, which I suspect would provide comfort to many as it did for me initially, but I didn’t particularly like “promise”… I was certainly reminded of God’s promise of presence and then acutely aware of my lacking in this relationship and considered a star exchange. But in “promise” God reminded me that my inability to be sinless does not dictate his love for me, and showed me in new ways that His Promise is always more than enough. Jesus fills and covers all.
My star word is a reminder to focus my attention on the Giver of Life, and how I might live into the love so freely given to me, and live into God’s call for me. My star word harkens me back to Him, again and again; it’s a call to contemplation or a call to prayer, a call to mercy, a call to action. It is truly a guiding light illuminating the way to God’s service.
I am excitedly anticipating a new star word for 2023. My draw is my draw and I can’t wait – it’s unlikely I’ll make a trade. Whether the word offers comfort or excitement, or elicits a giggle or bubbles up feelings of discomfort deep within, Emmanuel journeys with us all as no one is obscure to Him.
Be not afraid! May the Light of the World illumine brightly!