My One Word for 2016: Open

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First of all, I hope you all have a blessed, memorable year filled with God’s blessings of love and grace in Christ Jesus. May He fill you with His hope, heal you ever more deeply, and give you wings to fly freely and fully in Jesus.

It’s time for me to pick a One Word for this year. I tried for a couple of years to write out goals for New Year’s resolutions, but I just ended up discouraged and feeling like a failure when I didn’t reach those goals. Then in 2014 I heard about picking One Word to focus on. It has helped me to concentrate on more specific areas I need spiritual growth in.

In 2014 I chose “trust,” and in 2015 “follow.” I wish I could say I didn’t get to feeling like a failure, but I have. As I read these past posts, I wonder – Lord, am I learning to trust You more? To trust You enough with all my burdens and cares? To trust You are always seeking my welfare, not my harm? Am I more willing to follow You, to give up my own way and to surrender to Your way? I have to remember that in myself I can’t go forward, but step by step He gives me the power to keep on and the grace to cleanse my distrust, my doubts, my resistance, and my fear.

The traumatic effects of past abuse can taint our perception of God and of how we view ourselves. We sometimes deal with deep, ongoing issues of trust, shame, insecurity, inadequacy, and more. It doesn’t work to “just have faith” and “Voila!” we are healed completely and all the effects disappear. All life is rosy from here on out. No. It’s an ongoing journey. A journey God is willing and even delighted to lead us on. A journey of childlike dependence on Him to grow and thrive, not just survive. A journey to become molded into becoming more like Jesus.

So many words have rumbled in my mind as I asked God to show me what I need to focus on this year. Then I read a post at InCourage by Angela Nazworth about The Gift of Openness, and I believed God picked one for me. I still often have a “Closed” sign posted at the door of my heart. I don’t internally breathe in the beautiful moments. Like Angela did, I still sometimes numb myself to both pain and pleasure, because they’re too connected to feelings.

The paragraph that really tugged desperately at the closed door of my heart is:

“Numb is lonely. Slowly I unclenched the muscles of my soul to welcome enough openness to shine truth on all the shattered spaces within me that I shuttered instead of tended. I handed my raw, ravaged heart back to Jesus for examining, cleaning, molding, and strengthening.”

Oh yes. That is so what I need to focus on this year. To “open” my heart to all the shattered spaces still within me. To “open” up to Jesus’ healing love. To hand over to Him all those tenacious blood suckers of joy stubbornly embedded in the deepest recesses of my heart. All that shame, distrust, insecurity, people-approval, and fear. To lay them wide “open” to the cleansing of His grace. To “open” my heart to His powerful love instead of resisting it, because I feel like I’m unloveable.

The more I allow the liniment of His love to mend the broken places still in my heart… The more I will open my eyes to His goodness and the beauty He has created within me and around me. The more I will open my ears to His voice. The more I will open up my hands to release my plans and to embrace His way. The more I will open up to speak and write of His love and grace. The more I will open up my heart to receive and give love.

My stomach knots up and my heart trembles. Opening up those deepest wounds to vulnerability will hurt. But I believe I have to in order to thrive more instead of just survive. Sometimes it can feel so hopeless. That nothing will change. That I’m stuck here until I get to be with Jesus.

But it can happen. Why? Because Jesus already opened up a way of possibility. His grace is always enough and beyond. He opened a way for us to be filled with the same power that rose Him from the dead. So yes, it is possible. He gives us the power to open our hearts to Him.

Do you have deep hurts that you have shuttered off? Have you numbed yourself to feelings? Do you feel like you’re merely surviving instead of thriving in His love? Please don’t lose hope. Jesus understands our weakness. He knows more than anyone what pain is. His arms are always open for us. He longs for us to open our hearts fully to Him, to invite Him into those deep hurting, broken hurts with the healing ointment of His love and grace.

His Power in us can give us the strength to open our hearts, however difficult it may be.
“I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope He has given to those He called—His holy people who are His rich and glorious inheritance. I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe Him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated Him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 1:18-20 NLT)

Jesus has opened the way.
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By His death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting Him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:19-22 NLT)

He wants us to invite Him in.
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with Me.” (Revelation 3:20)

What blood-suckers of joy are stubbornly embedded in your heart?
What are ways that can help us open our hearts more to healing?

Do you have a One Word for this year?
Will you share it with us?

A Child's Trust

“The Hurt and the Healer”
by MercyMe

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Linking up with: 

Holley – Coffee For Your Heart 

Jennifer – Tell His Story 

Kelly – Cheerleaders of Faith

Barbie – Weekend Whispers

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28 thoughts on “My One Word for 2016: Open

  1. Hi Trudy,

    Your devotional words are really what I need today; have needed them all though December. I read your site but don’t comment much. Right now, am getting ready to host African kids that have a choir called Daraja and even though ill right now, I know God will give me strength to cook and give them a bed for 2 nights, etc. I am now thinking it is going to be ahuge blessing for me and thanking God for what I would, on my own, never have volunteered due to my health. It’s too long to go into now but with the severe sad family situation I have, believe God is giving me this to show me whatever He desires. I pray for an open heart all this year and am going to put together a “prayer room” for me from the War Room movie. This is my utmost for His highest, as Oswald Chambers would say. It may take a while but am going to do it, with God’s help.

    Thank you, Trudy, for your openess and sharing from your heart and soul. I believe I am going to use the song (I cried) and this devotional in my HopeKeepers meeting this Wednesday!

    Hugs and Hsppy New Year to you and yours,

    Patty

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    1. I’m so glad this spoke to you, Patty. My heart aches for you. I’m so sorry you have so many hurts to deal with – chronic illness, severe sad family situation, and probably even more that you don’t mention here. I know God knows them all in all the details and He cares so much. May He give you strength and peace for each day!

      You are so brave to host the African kids’ choir! I would have a hard time taking that risk due to health issues. I’m glad you feel empowered by God to do this and I pray you will be given extra energy for it and that it will richly bless you.

      I wish you the best with the “Prayer Room.” I’m glad you’re on this journey with me. May we together open our hearts more to God’s healing love and grace! Hugs!

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  2. Trudy … you so truthfully have described the healing journey here today. Thank you for inviting us all to pick up and continue on … for we all have places that need a touch that only the Heavenly Father can bestow.

    Thanks for the encouragement to be open to His work in our lives. Blessings as we head into the neswyear together!

    ;-}

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    1. Thank you, Linda. How true it is that “we all have places that need a touch only the Heavenly Father can bestow.” May we together travel this journey and open our hearts and lives more to His healing touch! Blessings to you, too, in this New Year! Hugs!

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  3. Such a powerful post, Trudy. Living wide open before God is such an incredible purpose and call for this year, and you’re so right – faith isn’t a magic potion, it’s a journey of stretching and growing under a mighty, mighty God. I pray that He continues to open your eyes to His great and precious promises, and to the truth that you are a prized and treasured possession – you are His and you are loved. Can’t wait to read more of what He does with your open heart and open hands in 2016. Lots of blessings and love, friend.

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    1. Thank you for your encouragement and prayers, Tiffany. I love how you describe faith as “a journey of stretching and growing under a mighty, mighty God.” I’m looking forward, too, to reading more about the wonders God has revealed to you through this difficult illness you’re going through. May He give you healing and growth in Him! Hugs!

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  4. Happy New Year, Trudy! Oh how I love your word, open! Your words resonate with me since I feel as if I’ve been on a five-year journey with God to open my heart that was closed to keep it safe. But we have to risk to grow, don’t we? And we are still growing if we’re still breathing, right?!! So I’m standing with you, open to all that God has for us when we tell him we trust him with our hearts! xo

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    1. Happy New Year to you, too, Valerie! I’m so glad the word “open” resonates with you. It’s so hard to open our hearts when we don’t feel safe to do so, isn’t it? I’m grateful to have you on this journey with me as we trust our hearts to God and all He has planned for us. May God give you ever deeper healing! Hugs!

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  5. This post was simply beautiful in its sincerity. I am so proud of you even though I don’t know you because it is very brave to open one’s heart when there is hurt or just fear. I have been there and while the road to openness can come with moments of more hurt, it is so worth it to leave the numbness. Praying that the new year brings you joy and strength to open yourself to the plan God has for you.

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    1. Thank you, Maria, for your understanding and prayers. I’m so glad God led you to being more open to His love and healing. I’ve been on this journey for years, but it seems there are always deeper places to heal. May He fill you with His love and grace in this new year! Hugs!

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  6. Trudy, I think this is my favorite post of yours so far. I love the word you’ve chosen, and I especially love what you are trusting God for through it. What you’ve written reminds me of the Jeremy Camp that says, “the same power that rose Jesus from the grave lives in us.” Praying with you that God will continue His healing work in your life as you open up those deepest spots to Him.

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    1. Thank you, Lois. I love that song by Jeremy Camp. That song and Bible verse often give me hope. I thought of including it here, but I think I may have shared it before. 🙂 May God fill us this year with that same power that rose Jesus from the dead! Hugs!

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  7. Hi Trudy! I love those words “liniment of His love”, so descriptive, and so true! I know it will take a lot of trust for your to ‘open’ yourself to this healing, but you know so well that the Lord can be trusted. He has been with you always, and can’t wait to dive in and start healing all your hurts and wounds.

    It will be wonderful to follow you this year, and see how He is present and loving in your life!
    Ceil

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    1. Thank you, Ceil. Yes, the Lord surely can be trusted, and I’m learning it more and more. It’s hard though sometimes to fully open my heart to Him when those embedded fears keep pulling the door closed again. But He has the power, and He can and does give it to us! 🙂 I’m looking forward to hearing what God helps you to “discover” this year. May God be with you and give you to discover more and more of His love for you! Hugs!

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  8. This is a beautiful post, Trudy. It’s so true that it’s an ongoing journey to open up to God and truly allow him in to the broken places in our lives. I love the Bible verses you’ve identified and how you’re looking to God even though it seems scary. I’m sure you’ll be blessed through this journey- it will be great to hear about what God teaches you through this year.

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  9. Absolutely beautiful, Trudy! Opening our hearts wide to God will open our lives to His goodness. It is easy to hide behind the curtains on the windows of our lives because of past hurts or memories that we would rather not display for others to see.
    Thank you for your words today. You have given me a lot to think about. Blessings!

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    1. Thank you, Mary. I’m glad you’ve been given pause for reflection. Yes, it’s so much easier to hide than to open ourselves up to more vulnerability, isn’t it? And yet, it’s God’s way to give us deeper healing and learn more of His goodness. May we together “open our lives to His goodness.” Hugs!

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  10. Ooh, awesome word choice, Trudy. This is the first “open” I’ve seen. What great potential it has! I know God will move deep and wide through it in your life this year. Brave woman you are! 🙂 Blessings to you.

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    1. When I read your word was “welcome,” I thought how I want to not only “open” my heart to Jesus but to truly welcome Him in with wide open arms. Thank you for calling me brave, Lisa. I feel more like I’m shaking in my boots… This reminds me of a John Wayne plaque my husband has with his quote – “Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway.” And speaking of brave, you are, too! I hope you will share your journey this year through Brene Brown’s book. May God give you courage and peace in 2016! Hugs!

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  11. A wonderful word beautifully expressed! Trudy, you write truth that comes from a painful place. I know something of this and of the desire to “‘open’ my heart to all the shattered spaces still within me. To ‘open’ up to Jesus’ healing love.” It has already been a long journey but these words offer hope of seeing change for you and me and all who need His tender touch on our guarded hearts.
    I look forward to seeing how “open” becomes even more significant in the days ahead. Sorry for my belated arrival here. The new year has got off to a slow start health-wise and I still feel like hibernating! Praying for you as you explore the depths of holy openness. Blessings and hugs! ❤

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    1. I always feel you understand me, Joy. Yes, it has been a long journey, hasn’t it? And we have come a long ways, but we still have so much further to go. But yes, there IS hope for us. I am looking forward to journeying together again in this new year. May we open our hearts to those shattered places and allow Jesus to heal more deeply!

      I’m sorry your health has gotten off to a slow start, Joy. I was sick during the time I took off. I’m starting to get on top of it more, but it’s slow. May God give you strength and rest in your body and spirit! Hugs!

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  12. This is just awesome Trudy! 🙂
    For years I built a wall so I didn’t have to feel. I refused to let myself get caught up in what my heart was feeling. Honestly, I believe all of the suppression was a contribution to the panic attacks I suffered a season ago. When I finally started allowing my heart to heal and the emotions I’d been “stuffing” to come, it was painful yes but, also very freeing!
    I pray this year you will embrace “open” and you will be blessed beyond measure! 🙂
    (((HUGS)))

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    1. Thank you for sharing this and for your prayers, Krista. I’m so glad those panic attacks are in the past. Yes, that “stuffing” can affect us in so many ways, can’t it? I pray you also will be blessed beyond measure! Hugs!

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  13. Trudy,
    I love your word for 2016!! And I love how God prepared you with trust, follow and now open! I will be praying for you as you open your heart and go even deeper in your healing journey with Him. I’m sure your brave words will inspire us all to also be more open! I look forward to hearing more! Thank you for sharing your heart and encouraging us! Wishing you many blessings and much JOY in 2016 as you open your heart to HIM. Hugs to you!

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    1. Thank you, Michelle, for your encouragement and prayers. I’m so glad you gain encouragement here. May we together in this new year “open” our hearts to deeper healing and learn to “know” Him ever more deeply. I look forward to what God teaches you with your word “know.” The same desire dwells in my heart. Blessings and hugs!

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