Friday, January 1, 2016

Selah: My word for 2016

I live life at a pretty fast clip. And I like it like that.

I was made to run hard and fast--I am a high energy (read: driven), high capacity (read: achiever) person who likes to have a full agenda and fall into bed dead tired every single night. This is my M.O. This is my norm. And mostly, it works for me.

But as 2015 drew to a close, I found myself longing for...less. A strange longing for a glutton like myself. And so I began a conversation with the Lord about this desire. Am I getting soft? Lazy? Old? Complacent? Or am I, maybe, looking to match my stride to His? Am I maturing to the place where I care more about the direction of my steps than their number or pace? Might I be heeding a call I've long ignored?

Photo Credit: Luc !
I do have some healthy patterns in place when it comes to rest. Each week, I enter into a day of Sabbath with the same enthusiasm that I give to my work. I have learned the unforced rhythms of grace when it comes to Sabbath. But I have a long way to go when it comes to weaving rest into the way that I work. That is to say, I trust too much in me, and not enough in Jesus. And so I sense a call to learn to live in that place of rest. To push the "pause" button more and more often so that I allow dependency to be my new M.O. My default has been to run ahead...I want to recalibrate to a new default. A default of Selah.

Photo Credit: Luc !
Selah is a Hebrew word found in the Psalms, though it is not a part of the Psalms. It is a direction, helping readers know how to read the Psalm. It means, "pause for reflection." In other words, Selah says, "You just read something profound! Don't just breeze through it! Stop and think about that for a minute. Take it in. Savor it. Linger there."

I think my days are full of unappreciated God-moments. Beauty missed because of busyness. God is calling me to a year (a life?) of Selah.
Photo Credit: Luc !
Selah is my word for 2016. I want to be intentional over the next year to practice Selah, and I think that it will involve:

Stillness--choosing to STOP moving for a few moments each day. To be still and know the He is God.
Expectation--believing that God has something He wants me to notice, and looking for it.
Listening--allowing quiet spaces and silence so that I might hear from God and others.
Attentiveness--observing the world around me with care and interest.
Hope--anticipating a new experience of God's goodness.

Now to put the practical pieces out there--this is where the rubber meets the road. These are the specifics to which I want to be accountable:

  1. I want to implement a daily examen--a time each evening before bed when I will take 10-15 minutes to reflect on the day. This is something I have wanted to do for years, but have never implemented. I believe now is the time.
  2. I will use my blog as a means of recording what God is showing me through my attempt to live into restfulness. Each week, there will be a "Selah" post. It might be wordless. 
  3. We did not take a single vacation in 2015. We did not spend enough time together as a family. We are going to put a family vacation for 2016 on the calandar (and in the budget) by the end of January. 
  4. Furlough: we have been on the field for over 5 years and we have not yet had a furlough. This is a HUGE faith issue for me! It is so hard to leave on-going ministries and it feels like a major interruption to life and projects! But both David and I feel like we want and need to take some time to reconnect with our base, to see our loved ones in the States, and to take a break. I don't yet know how or when, but we sense that God is asking us to take a short (three month?) "Selah" from ministry in 2016. We hope to begin planning this time soon. Pray that we will find the right time and place for this "pause."


  1. Ah, the answer to my question. Love it! Blessings on your 2016 year. :)

  2. Jennifer, I am so glad to see this. You have worked so very hard (reminding me of myself PC - pre crash!) and will be so blessed and changed deep within through the pauses! May God bless you. I would love to talk furlough sometime. We also waited 5 years before taking one. Love and miss you.

  3. On our family vacation we attended the First Baptist Church of Orlando. The pastor has chosen a word for the year for some years, and encourages the people to do so also. His word is "Hope". My word(s) are "Thank you." Thank you for sharing reality with me
    through your blog.