For this month’s blog I consulted some notes I compiled a few months ago from women younger than me. I had asked this question: “What would you like to read about in my blog?”
One of my friends said “I would love your thoughts on trying to be deliberate and living God’s plan, not living in fear, planning for the future but cherishing the day, being a devoted wife while trying not to exhaust myself in motherhood.” She then added, “I’d also like help with being a supportive wife and mother while still trying to develop the skills and gifts God has given me.”
Another dear, younger friend said, “I hit 40 last March and feel that I’m pondering different issues than five years ago for sure. I’m at a sweet spot with my kids as they are independent yet love hanging out with family as well as friends. I feel like I’m entering a new stage where I’m considering possibly goingback to work. I’d enjoy reading about purpose and making an impact at whatever stage you are in. How can I be my best self at this stage in life?”
It was so timely that I found these notes and requests as, just earlier this week, I enjoyed some precious time with my mentor, Shirley Staires. She’s 84 years young and is one of the wisest, most insightful and wonderful Christian women I know. (Some of you may know her as “Sally Mulready’s mom” or “Kelly Gibson’s mom.” Their Brothers are Mike and Clay Staires. This family is very dear to me.)
Shirley and I enjoyed talking about many things including the new year and purpose. I shared with Shirley that I had been given a word for the year, one I felt the Lord wanted me to work on: gentleness. (I’ve been enjoying studying Courageous Gentleness – Following Christ’s Example of Restrained Strengthby Mary Ann Froehlich and will write more about that in the next month.) As always, Shirley inspired me. She shared that not only did she have a word for the new year, she also had “decree.”
I leaned in to hear more.
Dictionary.com defines decree as: “A formal andauthoritative order, especially one having the force of law: a presidential decree. Law. A judicial decision of order. Theology. One of the internal purposes of God, by which events are foreordained.”
Shirley said you can have a word or a mission statement for the year but, until you “decree it,” you have no power. She said “what you speak is what you become” and led me to Job 22:28. “If you decrease something it will stand, and light will shine on your ways.”
Shirley shared that her word is “more…abundantly more.” She then explained how she is decreeing this, claiming that “more” will happen in her life by knowing scriptures where God has promised “more.” 2 Peter 1:2 says “May you have more and more grace and peace through the knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.” Then, with a smile, she added, “If God says it, I believe it.”
She shared a wonderful message with me from Christian author, speaker and teacher, Dutch Sheets, from January 3, 2019 entitled “Starting the Year Off Right.” In that message he shares that God said, “Let there be light” in Genesis 1:30. He “decreed” creation…he spoke it, and us into existence. God spoke to storms and stars, mountains, mankind and more. He speaks to us today. Luke 1:37 says “For no word spoken by God is without power.” Sheets explains that the “word of the lord (a decree) will produce the will of the Lord through the power of the Lord.” Isa. 55:11 says “So…my word that goes forth from my mouth; it does not return to me empty…it does what I want and accomplishes what I intend.”
As for me “decreeing” gentleness, this scripture is helpful: “Put on my yoke, and learn from me. I’m gentle and humble…and you will find rest for yourselves.”
Matthew 11:29. For me to be gentler, I deliberately will have to put on Jesus (His yoke) and learn from Him.
Like my younger friends, I, too, desire to have purpose, make an impact, to be intentional and live in God’s will. I do agree with Shirley. A key to fulfilling our purpose in Christ is to “decree what we desire.” As I desire more gentleness I can decree that I am gentle – in Christ. As Shirley desires abundantly more, she will decree that she is and has more – in Christ.
I used to joke long ago with our three children that if you go to Sunday school and don’t know the answer, you can always say “Jesus.” He really is the answer to most things. He decreed who He is. He said “I am the way, the truth & the life.” John 14:6.
Jesus not only had a mission, a purpose and plan; he decreed his very life. He was and IS the plan for mankind. He is the way.
Each year, as I pray about my word for the year, sometimes I think about it in December during the busy holiday time. This year, I spent the entire month of January praying about what God wanted…His word for me.
If you haven’t done this, it’s not too late. February is the month we celebrate love. God loves you so much and made you for a unique and special purpose. He’d love to give you a word and something to decree…a special valentine from Him.
The word, mission or purpose he will have for you to decree will look different than a spouse, good friend or relative. It will be unique to and for you.
Before the year begins to get away from you, I encourage you to give yourself a valentine. Spend some time, in a quiet space or place, asking the Lord what he has for you. It may take more than just 30 minutes of listening. Consider actively listening, along the way. Jesus accomplished much along His way.
I encourage you to create more moments of silence. Turn the TV off; abstain from social media and technology for a while. Forgo a favorite TV or Netflix show and enjoy asking the Lord what He has for you regarding a word or theme for the year. He can’t wait to unveil it. He promises us: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Luke 11:9
I hear more from the Lord when I get out of my own way. When I am seeking and knocking, waiting for the Lord to reply, I find what I’m looking for. So far, in this new year, I’m catching glimpses of gentleness and that has brought such joy.
Coming up with a word for the year or even a full-blown mission statement is a wonderful tool to assist you in making many decisions regarding your coming year and your ministry…wherever you are. It can help you be deliberate and have purpose in each day no matter what stage and phase.
What has God called you to do for Him, right now, in this season of your life? Seek and discover words that best describe you and your heart’s desire. This will take some time and thought.
I found some of Shirley‘s notes from one of the classes I took from her called Defining Your Mission and Mission Statement. She suggests you ask yourself these questions:
1. What excites or angers you?
2. If you could teach three things that excite you what would they be?
3. What do you love doing?
4. How do you see yourself in training and training others to establish the kingdom of God?
5. How do you want to contribute to the better way of life for others?
Habakkuk 2:2 says this: “Write down the vision (mission) and make it plain on tablets…” Writing it down is a way to decreesomething.
The mission statement I came up with in her class in January 2008 holds true for my life now:“To abide in Him, brighten where dim, enlighten and love family others & friends.”
For me, abiding is key. IF I abide in Him, I will brighten enlighten and love well. When I wander off or get in my own way, due to my sin nature, I find myself being the opposite of gentle.
As I think of you young friends who might be reading this blog, I encourage you to give yourself permission to have some alone time (a day or two without children underfoot if possible) to “ponder your purpose” and “decree your desire.” You may have to arise early, (or stay up late) and ask the Lord “what do YOU want for me?”
Shirley encourages us to catch the fresh winds of the Holy Spirit…to literally go with the flow. We are “called to freedom”(Gal. 5:1) and there is nothing more freeing than knowing Whose you are and who you are in Christ. If you know this, the rest falls into place.
Remember, YOU are the messenger of the creative decree of the Lord that can bring forth the promises of God. This IS the year to decree that all hurts and hardships, illnesses and disappointments will be turned into blessings. Our decrees can plow through weeds and make a way.
May 2020 be an insightful year for you…full of favor and blessings. As you go through this process, may you remember, believe and decree that you ARE fearfully and wonderfully made for a unique purpose and mission.
For more information about creating your mission statement, please contact me. I have a lesson from Shirley’s wonderful teaching I’d be happy to e-mail you.
To hear or learn more about Dutch Sheets, go to: https://dutchsheets.org/