By Olea Gough

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What will your focus word be for this coming year?

I have loved pondering on the Nativity story and the life of Christ over the last month. I am so grateful for that annual focus during the month of December. Last night, my family and I watched The Chosen Christmas special. It was an amazing two hours of Christmas music by all the Christian contemporary musicians I love, with some narration about the people of Israel leading up to the birth of Christ and an explanation by the director of how the project started with his first short film, which was included at the end of the special. If you haven’t seen it, click here!

The short film in the special was a beautiful story about a shepherd and how the birth of Christ affected his life. But the thing that touched me the most was the director’s story about how he came to start The Chosen project. Dallas Jenkins said that he had directed a major Hollywood movie and it was a complete flop. He said he was sitting on the floor with his wife crying because the day before he had been a “director” and now, he felt like he had no future in it. He was devastated and didn’t know what he was going to do for work or to provide for his family. He said that his wife and another person that he didn’t really know well became the mouthpiece for God’s answer. He had always felt responsible for the results of his efforts, but what they taught him was that….

God doesn’t expect us to create results, to feed the 5000. What He wants from us is our meager offering, our 5 loaves and a few little fishes, then He will create the results.

He wants our sacrifice and whether the results are a success or not is up to Him. We offer our sacrifice and He will create the miracle to make it what He wants it to be.

For Dallas, his understanding of that actually led to him taking a step back. Soon after, he created this short Christmas
film for his congregation, thinking it would go no further. It went viral. And step by step it actually led to The Chosen. The result God really wanted has touched thousands of lives because of its message and the unique way it has come about and been distributed.

new year

I pondered on that thought a lot last night. I thought about how it pertains to me and my business pursuits. I thought about how it pertains to righteous desires and blessings I have been praying about for years and have yet to receive. I thought about how it pertains to so many other people in the details of their lives.

I came to the realization that it’s not about us. It’s really more about the sacrifice and being in the place where God needs us. If we are standing in holy places (the places He desires, being as holy as we can be) then He will consecrate our sacrifice in the way that He needs it, with the results that He sees fit. And we will be incredibly blessed for our willingness to sacrifice. And those around us will be incredibly blessed for our sacrifice. Sometimes in ways that we don’t even recognize and maybe won’t
realize are connected to our sacrifice until after this life.

I am so inspired by people who are willing to do hard things and do them with a cheerful heart, those who are trying to change bit by bit to overcome their human nature and reach their potential of a higher and better self. Their desire to face their fears and discomfort, to push through them, trusting that there are wonderful things on the other side of that, is so encouraging to me. Their example gives me so much courage in my own life and dreams. Through sacrifice and courage, God uses their offering to bless the lives of all those around them. I know it is not always easy, but they lean into their feelings of fear and discomfort pushing through until the better part comes. They learn and they grow in ways they never thought possible. And they bless so many lives through their example! They offer up their loaves and fishes and I know that their sacrifice is and will always be accepted.

These sacrifices come one at a time little by little. I love how the new year presents us with an opportunity to evaluate our lives and decide what new sacrifices we want to make to build a better us. This time of year, I start to ponder on what I want the focus of my new year to be. Then I pick a word.

My life has been so blessed over the past 6 years as I have done this. I have focused on becoming meek, mindful, understanding, prayerful, balanced, and a better listener. I have never been perfect at these things by the end of the year, but I have been better, and I have been blessed for my efforts.

This year I have chosen the word “consecrate.” I want to be intentional about consecrating all I do to the Lord. I know that as I do this, He can take my meager offering and make it what He wants it to be, and so much more than I could ever hope for. He can do it in my personal life, in my family life, in my business, in the great things, and in the mundane.

I hope you will take a few minutes to prayerfully ponder on what God would have you focus on this year. It’s not about perfection. It’s about intention. And you will be blessed for your willingness to sacrifice and your efforts.

What will be your 2021 focus word?

Click here for more Anchoring in Christ.

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