Stand. That is my word of the year for 2020. At the end of 2019, I was struggling to feel connected to any word for the upcoming New Year. My previous word was persevere. I naturally felt led to consider the words believe, trust, and obey in the New Year. Although I felt connected to all three of these and could find definite purpose in each one, I knew they were not it. I prayed for guidance as to where God would have me focus in 2020. It wasn’t long before the word “stand” started to, ironically, stand out to me.
Stand Against the Lies
My initial thoughts were stand strong. Stand strong against the lies of the enemy. The lies that attack our identity, our self-worth, our purpose, and that of our families. Stand firm in faith, even when the changes we so deeply desire are not yet seen. Stand up when we get knocked down, knowing we have a firm foundation and everlasting rock to stand on. Stand upright with dignity and integrity.
Stand on the Promises of God
In conversation, someone who knows me fairly well interpreted it to mean standing firm on the promises of God. I liked that. I had been clinging to hope based on His promises but had struggled with doubt as God’s timing did not fit into my expected time frame. Standing on the promises sounded perfect!
Therefore, I entered 2020 with the word stand. Little did I know how much standing I would do in the first two weeks of the year, which is partially why this post is so late into the month of January. I quickly found myself in a position where I needed to stand firm for others when they could not. It was only the second day of the year when I became an advocate for clients, standing firm for what would benefit them the most. I stood for them when they did not have the resources, understanding, or the voice to stand for themselves. It was abundantly clear this word was not all about me.
Much Bigger Than Me
Don’t we often do that? We focus so much on what something means for ourselves that we miss what God may be calling us to do for the greater good of the Kingdom. I thought stand meant the waves would keep coming, threatening to knock ME over and I would have to stand over and over again.
I braced myself for the continued crashing of waves while praying God would calm the storm. It felt unfair that after a year of persevering I was now in for a year of standing. Why couldn’t my word be rest or peace? But as January threw me into a series of new downpours, I knew it meant something even bigger than standing for myself; I also needed stand for others. I needed to stand for those who needed an intercessor; stand in the gap for those who either could not or would not stand for themselves.
We are called to stand for our brothers and sisters in times of trial, in times of need, and in times of spiritual crisis. Abraham interceded for Lot, Moses interceded for the Israelites, and so on and so on until we get to the New Testament where Jesus intercedes for every one of us. What better way to become more Christ-like than standing in intercession for those around us? Whether someone presents as friend or foe, Jesus tells us our response should be the same.
“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.”– Matthew 5: 44-45 ESV
Inward Versus Outward Perspectives
I could stand up for others when their rights and interests were not considered. I could stand in the gap for friends and family who had fallen and were struggling in their spiritual walk. What if I could even stand for those who appeared to be against me? I had been praying for them daily but what if the means of answering those prayers called me to something else? Stand is a verb that commands action. This word suddenly took on multiple new meanings as I began to focus on something other than myself. It meant shifting from an inward perspective to an outward perspective.
Who would need me to stand with them this year? Perhaps beside them or behind them? In what ways would I need to humble myself and stand down? When doubts inevitably creep into my mind, what would I stand for? As a result, what type of opposition would I ultimately have to stand against?
Inspiring and Intimidating
All these questions are still swirling around in my mind as we are only three weeks into the New Year. Anyone who has chosen a word of the year knows the full meaning is not known until the year progresses. Choosing a word can be inspiring but it can also be intimidating, as we do not yet know what our year will bring.
However, God does know. He knows everything about our year before it even begins. He knows every failure and every victory, every doubt and every affirmation. Therefore, as I continue walking forward this year I am humbled to consider how I might stand on the Word of God to support others in need. Those who need someone to stand for them when perhaps they struggle to stand for themselves. I have been there and have needed people to stand for me. I am thankful God provided those He did in His perfect provision. What if they had not stood for me? Where would I be now?
Inevitably, there will be some lies and schemes to stand against. There will be circumstances that lead us to doubt and bring out the worst in us. I frequently tell my children in response to the “she made me” argument that although we may not have control over our circumstances or other people, we always have control over OUR reactions. How will we choose to react and how might that choice impact those around us? Will we lead them to Christ or will we repel them?
Prepare for the Storms Ahead
I pray we are all equipped to stand upright and respond in truth to the lies, the doubts, and the uncontrollable circumstances we will for sure encounter in the year ahead. It’s been said if you are not dealing with a storm in the present, be prepared because one is on the way. Just as we prepare for hurricanes by barricading windows and moving valuables to higher ground, we can prepare for the storms of life by filling our hearts and minds with Biblical truth so that when trials come, we can stand firm with assurance. I have come to realize the value of years of hearing the Word of God more so in the last decade than ever before. If I had known earlier how much it would be needed, I would have surely stored more of it away.
Biblical Truth to Stand On
“I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” – Psalms 119: 11 ESV
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” – Ephesians 6:11 ESV
So in 2020, I pledge to stand firm in truth. I will stand beside my sisters in need, stand in the gap for others, stand up for those who are unable to stand for themselves. I will stand against the crashing waves of lies and fear that attempt to knock me down. I will stand against adversity and circumstances beyond my control by firmly planting my feet on the solid rock, the unchanging Word of God. Where will you stand this year?