Sunday, January 3, 2016

Resignation: my word for 2016

Three years ago we were comfortably living in Seattle, with work that was satisfying and life-giving. We had no desire to shake things up. And no inkling of the changes coming our way.

However, in March 2013, both my husband and I sensed a transition into something new and completely unexpected. It’s a complicated story that's not completely written yet. But we love Indonesia and the teaching we do in SE Asia. There have been many turns in the road, along with open doors.

I've always been happy to try new stuff. To risk and fail. I tend to jump forward because I'm naturally task-oriented.

But lately, I seem to analyze and agonize over little decisions. I've been puzzled about why God would bring us here at this stage of life – when we are older, educated, and were generally happy and secure in our careers. (Why not sooner? We love it here.)

It's all part of "culture shock," a normal and expected process of adaptation.

Has the adventure been great? Yup. Have there been challenges? Sure. We miss family and friends. We have some visa issues to resolve. And my greatest frustration is the difficulty in remembering words and phrases in a new language (when I've always been a quick learner.)

Praying at year's end, I asked God how I could align myself to his work. The word “resignation” popped into my mind.

Resignation can mean to end an assignment or leave the past behind. = Quitting a job like we did two years ago.

But there’s another aspect of resignation: the acceptance of what cannot be changed or is out of our control. Quitting your own agenda.

Luke's Gospel tells us that an angel visited a young woman named Mary. The angel informed her that Elizabeth, her older cousin, was pregnant. Mary herself would be the mother of the coming Messiah. Yet she was not to be afraid.

Mary does not not fight against her unknown future. Rather, she asks how this can happen and is told that anything is possible with God.

We don’t read that she had a lot of questions about the child she would bear. She didn’t pause because of how her fiancĂ© or neighbors would view her. She didn’t talk much about the implications for herself.

Most of all, she didn’t refuse the opportunity. She resigned herself fully to God’s plans. She trusted God and knew her place – she was God’s servant.

Mary agrees to God’s assignment. (Luke 1:38) Mary said, “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be unto me according to your word.”

Another translation records her response this way: “I belong to the Lord, body and soul,” replied Mary, “let it happen as you say.” (JB Phillips) Wow. That's the most positive form of resignation.

Like Mary, if we want God to give us a significant assignment, we must be willing to do what he says. To resign our own expectations so we can say yes to his direction, no matter what the consequences. We acknowledge that it's God's job to take care of the details around our obedience.

This year, may the Lord help me resign my own agenda to surrender to his.

Holy resignation. It’s my word for 2016. What’s yours?

Read more: (NKJV)
*Be of good courage, and let us be strong for our people and for the cities of our God. And may the LORD do what is good in His sight.” 2 Samuel 10:12

*Blessed be the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised. There has not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised through His servant Moses. May the Lord our God be with us, as He was with our fathers. May He not leave us nor forsake us, that He may incline our hearts to Himself, to walk in all His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, which He commanded our fathers. 1 Kings 8:56-58

*May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble;
may the name of the God of Jacob defend you;
may He send you help from the sanctuary, and strengthen you out of Zion;
may He remember all your offerings, and accept your burnt sacrifice. Psalm 20:1-3

*May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in His works. Psalm 104:31

*And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, both that you do and will do the things we command you. Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ. 2 Thessalonians 3:4-5

*Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all. 2 Thessalonians 3:16

*O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! Psalm 95:6 ESV

*God has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ. Ephesians 1:9 ESV

*He called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9 ESV

Moravian Prayer: Lord of light and love, we praise you for not only giving us life in your creation, but for also bringing the light of your love into the darkness of our lives. Amen.

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