Raise your hand if you've ever done that thing where you come up with a "word for the year". I know this isn't for everyone. I am not sure I had even heard of the concept until a speaker at a ladies' group talked about it once and I thought, hmm that's kind of a cool idea. In case you've never heard of it either, the basic idea is that you choose a word to focus on for a whole year, often related to an area in which you're hoping to grow spiritually (although really there are no set rules as far as I know).
Now comes the part where I bet you're guessing I'm going to share about that time when I had a word for the year that totally changed my life. But actually no, I'm going to borrow someone else's word for the year and tell you why I think it matters. Well, technically someone else's two words...
"Look up" was the phrase a good friend of mine picked for the year 2021. I confess, I haven't spent a ton of time practicing this phrase, but recently I started thinking about some places it shows up in Scripture.
Psalm 121:1-2 - "I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth."
Psalm 8:3-4 -"When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?"
Isaiah 40:26 - "Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name"
Psalm 36:5 - "Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies."
Then I started thinking about how powerful it can be to simply, literally look up. Specifically, I thought about the feeling I get when I look up at the sky - not just glance at it or generally realize it's there but really, truly look at it. I wonder what thoughts and feelings you experience when you look at the sky. Do you feel inspired? Small? Curious? Hopeful?
For me, looking up at the sky - or really almost anything in nature - has a way of gently opening me up and reminding me that there is Someone so much bigger than me. And that Someone has created an incredibly huge and wonderful world. And that I am only one small part of that world. As I begin to let that realization sink in, the "big" things that have occupied my mind seem to gradually become a lot smaller and less overwhelming.
It's like looking at the sky changes my focus in a way that I'm not sure much else could. I guess when my physical eyes are looking up, maybe it has an effect on my spiritual eyes too. I wonder if this connection is part of how God made us, and I wonder if it's why His Word encourages us to look up. I imagine maybe it's a little like a parent who sees a child struggling, maybe stuck in a mess he can't find his way out of. And the parent comes alongside the child and just says, "Hey buddy, look up. I'm here. Let me help you."
Maybe all you can see right now is a problem you don't know how to solve. Maybe you feel stuck in the middle of something and you don't know how or when it will end. Maybe there is a relationship in your life that feels difficult or confusing and you're not really sure what to do about it. Or maybe you are experiencing abundant blessings and are overwhelmed with gratitude because of the goodness in your life.
No matter where you are or what you are going through, what would happen today if you chose to look up? I dare you to give it a try. And when you do, remember that you are not just seeing evidence of the handiwork of the God who created the whole world. You are also seeing evidence of this same Creator God who says that He has made you, He knows you, He cares for you, and He promises to help you.
May we look up often. May we look up with expectant eyes. Because truly, to look up is to pray.
Pray with me...
... Father, may all of us in the ACSD community remember to look up, both physically and spiritually
Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Psalm 105:4
... Lord, help us to encourage each other to look up when any one of us is facing discouragement
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. Psalm 42:5
... God, through every season, would You help us keep looking to You and trusting in You to lead us?
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18
Thanks for taking the time to read this blog and pray for Alliance Christian School District! Lord willing, I plan to publish a new blog post weekly on Wednesdays throughout the school year. Feel free to subscribe (at the bottom of this page) if you'd like to be notified each time a new blog post has been published. We also have a prayer team that is always open for new pray-ers to join. If you'd like to learn more, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
~ Carrie Warner, ACSD Prayer Team Coordinator
Soli Deo Gloria To God alone be the glory