I’ve never made a habit of picking a word for the year like some people do. Not that there’s anything wrong with it at all! I’ve thought about it, but usually end up over-thinking it and just giving up. But last year and this one, I have noticed that God has brought a reverberating theme—He puts a word or phrase on repeat in my heart and is using the circumstances of the year to really reveal the depth of that in my life. Last year, the word was hope. This year as I began to pray about this theme, He brought “recognize” and started to weave that into my life.

To recognize (according to my online dictionary) is to identify something from having encountered it before. And in considering this word and its meaning in my own life, I began to think about things I’d like to recognize this year.

Recognize Jesus’ work in growing my relationship with Him and not obsess on the ways I think I fail Him.

Recognize my life in Christ is not something I can manufacture or be strong enough for, but rather a constant exhibit of His power and grace in real time in my life.

Recognize His creating and release myself from the pressure to play God and generate my own thing.

Recognize His amazing Love as it surrounds, upholds, protects and cherishes me as His child.

Recognize the relationships God has brought rather than obsessing on the ones He hasn’t.

Recognize the battles I don’t need to fight and let them go.

Recognize my support system, my family, wherever that is found.

Recognize His provision, whether it be mighty or just enough for the moment, and trust Him in that.

In this recognition, we can’t help but find gratitude, and praise the One who holds all things for His wonderful gifts. So often I want to live in comparison, rejection and obsession on all that I feel I lack instead of moving forward into identifying something I have encountered before.

I forget so easily. Ann Voskamp calls it “soul amnesia” and I love that term. I want to come back and fix my eyes on Jesus, remembering His work in the past and recognizing that He hasn’t abandoned me in the present. I want to live in thankfulness and slow down to treasure the now, because He meets me right here, in this moment.

Any time I move into worry about the future or regret over the past, I am alone and disheartened. But that’s because I’m forgetting again. I need to come back to the recognition of the One who holds this moment and provides everything I need to live this moment in His Life.

Let joy be your continual feast. Make your life a prayer.  And in the midst of everything be always giving thanks, for this is God’s perfect plan for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (The Passion Translation)




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