Last year, during the Pandemic, my men’s small group worked through (remotely) a book called My One Word. The idea behind the book is to choose, with God’s help, a word for a given year that will be your theme, your anchor, your inspiration for that year. There is nothing magical about this process but it is an exercise that helps you maintain a spiritual focus instead of getting derailed by circumstances or by distractions.
One person in the group chose Sabbath as his word, which was appropriate considering we were all experiencing a forced sabbath during lockdown and social distancing. My word for last year was Yoke. I centered around the way that Jesus talks about “taking his yoke” on and learning from him in order to find rest. I read a book that was about this very concept and memorized a prayer that includes the line, “No matter the problems, hardships, or injustices that I face today help me not to worry or get frustrated, but instead to relax in the yoke of your providence.”
This year, I have chosen the word Frontier. This word struck me one day when I looked on the back cover of a Dirty Glory by Pete Greig. In big, bold letters it says, “Astounding stories of answered prayer from the Frontiers of contemporary faith.” Something about that word Frontier seemed to resonate with me and my situation. I have recently come out of deep personal set backs and failures and the idea of setting out on a new path with an unknown destination with only my trust in God and my willingness to grow is appealing and needed at this time. Plus, I had already read some of Greig’s other books, Red Moon Rising, and How to Pray, and was taken by the wild frontier nature of his 24-7 movement that has been marked by deep, rich prayer; organic ministry efforts; and work with people on the margins of society and life.
Also, the pandemic will be such a dividing point in history that so much will be framed as either pre-pandemic or post-pandemic. Instead of trying to get back to what life was before the pandemic, I want to embrace what life will be like after the pandemic and be open to the fresh start and new direction that this moment may bring me. As I make decisions this year, I want the word Frontier to be on my mind and heart. I am not wanting to be reckless and irresponsible but open and adventurous. The subtitle to Dirty Glory is a guiding sentiment, “Go Where Your Best Prayers Take You.”
So, with multiple prayers lifted up and a freedom to let God move in me I set out to make 2021 my Frontier year. I am not fearing the unknown but am leaning in to the everlasting arms of Jesus and trusting him for the outcomes.
May you pray for me on the “Frontier” and seek out your own one word for 2021.