Any of you who follow the writings of Ann Voskamp know that each January she sets out a yearlong challenge. That challenge is to find one word that succinctly describes the spiritual growth you hope to accomplish in the coming year.
Wow! I don’t know about you, but one word seems so… limiting, so constraining, so restricting. One word is just downright hard!
But one word is just what I need.
It’s so easy to plan out goal after goal, challenge after challenge for my year. Then, when I don’t succeed, I can step back and rationalize, “Well, I was just asking too much of myself.” “My goals are too lofty, too unattainable!”
One word forces me to hone in and to focus closely on Jesus and what He’s speaking to my heart. One word takes away the excuses and the rationalizations. One word wraps me in the potential for success.
Maybe that’s why one word seems so scary.
Anyway, like it or not I just haven’t been able to escape the necessity of that one word. The quest has interrupted my sleep and followed me through the day. I’ve rolled so many over in my mind and tried them out on my tongue. Perhaps trust, or faith, or diligence, or love… But no, none seemed to fit.
Then, a single word began to preoccupy my thoughts. A simple word really. Just four letters, but four letters that encompass an action that I’m strangely loathe embracing.
What is that word? The word is CAST and learning to cast is exactly what I need.
I stink at casting. Casting means letting go and handing over control. It’s trust and faith all wrapped up in a little four-letter word.
Me… I’m better at owning my worries, claiming my concerns, corralling and chaining my fears, and ultimately, pronouncing them MINE! Casting is foreign, unfamiliar, frightening…
One of my favorite books as a child was Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. Her uncanny knack of “curing” children of their childish problems was a delight to me. One of my favorite characters was a little boy who just wouldn’t share. A little boy named Dick Thompson. Everything was his, with a capital H! I felt a strange kinship with him…
Mrs. Piggle-wiggle didn’t take his toys and possessions from him. Instead, she “helped” him with his possessions. Everything got a label. Dick’s ball… Don’t touch! Dick’s food… Don’t touch! Even his parents were neatly labeled Dick’s mom and Dick’s dad… Don’t you dare touch!!
I’m afraid that’s what my life looks like sometimes. Megan’s worries… Don’t touch! Megan’s fears for her children… Don’t touch! Megan’s anxious thoughts, Megan’s over-committed schedule, Megan’s preoccupation with her weight, Megan’s sensitivity to criticism… Don’t touch!
They’re all mine, that’s for sure! But when I own all those “precious” possessions, I’m bound, I’m chained, and I’m handcuffed from living life fully. It’s time to shake off the shackles and there’s only one way I know of to do that…
I’ve got to CAST.
I’ve got to cast my cares, my worries, my self-centered preoccupations, and my anxious thoughts on to the only one Who can carry them for me.
The Apostle Peter laid out my marching orders when he said:
Casting all your care on Him, because He cares for you. (I Peter 5:7)
So there it is. The word for 2014 is CAST. Not contain, or maintain, or control, or own. Just four simple letters meant to set me free…CAST.
What’s your word? What would Jesus have you learn this year? What simple combination of letters will set you free and send you soaring in your relationship with Christ? I’m praying you find that word and that in the finding… You find Jesus.