For the past five years, a word has chosen me. Except for 2017; that year was chock full up, without one more square inch left for a single word. But besides 2017, the words have picked me. I always tell God that I’ll listen to the word He places on my heart, and weird or out-of-the-blue as some have seemed, I’ve rolled with and focused on them. While not the words I would’ve chosen on my own, it’s impossible to deny His hand in the whispered words and subsequent journeys.
2016 brought a time to reclaim.
In 2015, I heard embrace.
In 2014, I focused on welcome.
2013 found me leaning into soft.
In 2018, I felt the pull to get back to the basics. To work on seemingly simple things that I’ve let fall to the wayside, blaming work or kids or life in general. But really, even the basics are a heart project.
When I was holding my heart open to whatever word the Lord wanted to lay on me, I watched an episode of Jane the Virgin that confirmed it.
Hey, if He used a talking donkey to speak life and truth, He can use a TV show to do the same 😉
Anyways, in this episode, Jane enters a clothing store. A teenaged clerk looks her up and down with disdain, then tells Jane (with the same contempt) that her outfit is “so basic.” Jane’s wearing a t-shirt and jeans (pretty much what I wear daily too). No frills. Nothing fancy. You know. Basic.
While the clerk meant it as a burn, I’m hoping that as I pass through 2018, I look at myself in the mirror and say with sass, “You’re so basic.”
Because that’s the word God gave me for this year. BASIC.
So for the past two months I’ve shifted my energies into making sure the basics are covered. When I say ‘basics’, I mean:
- brushing my teeth every day
- drinking enough water
- eating vegetables
- going to bed at a normal (for most non-night-owl people) hour
- reading the Gospel
- talking (actually speaking) with my friends
- being present with my kids
- planning meals and shopping responsibly for them
- creating and maintaining a budget
- reading books
- loving people and inviting them in (physically and metaphorically)
- writing (not adding a graphic or tweetables or anything fancy. Just. Writing.)
Basics. Which sound suspiciously like actual self-care. Probably because most of these things are.
And you know what? It’s working. I downloaded an app that throws me a party whenever I enter the amount of water I’ve consumed. A few friends and I are in constant communication via Voxer about the food we eat, and the exercise we do (or don’t do. Let’s be honest.) I set an alarm on my phone that reminds me to go to bed. I make it a point to leave my phone plugged in upstairs while I’m home with my kids, giving them my full attention. I keep a grocery list on the side of my fridge next to the meal planning pad, and I actually use both. I say “I love you” a lot.
I’m trekking along and slowly but surely, I’m reminding my heart and body of their basic needs.
I’m finding that God meets us in the basics. He meets our hearts and needs in the most complicated of basics.
When we thirst, it’s water that quenches. When we hunger, it’s bread that fills. When we’re lonely and tired and overwhelmed, it’s love that meets our hearts.
Sometimes the basics can be complicated, and for seasons of our lives we won’t be able to meet certain basic needs (think about newborns and their parents. Sleep? Not so much.) But when I’ve had enough sleep and water and not a whole lot of Facebook-scrolling, BOY do I feel good!
And if ounces of water can do that for our bodies, imagine what a deep drink of living water can do for our souls.
One of my favorite Jesus stories is when He meets a Samaritan women at a well. You can read the full story here (and oh, I hope you will!) but the gist is that He meets her right in the midst of her messy life, and offers her His love. His living water. And after she gets a taste she runs off to tell her whole city, becoming a very unlikely evangelist.
No matter where He meets us — however dry our souls may be — that basic water can revive like nothing else. And when we tell others the story of who we’ve become after drinking deep, of where He met us and the truths He told us about ourselves, eternities can change.
This is how basics are complicated. God makes things complex, changing water to wine and changing water-fetchers to preachers. And when our basic needs are met, we can be ready for Him to get all up in our business to make changes in a living water kind of way.
Which is just another good reason to get enough sleep, stay hydrated, and crack open that Gospel. Keep your heart alert. You never know which of your messes Jesus will show up in, ready to change your well water into the kind that brings hearts back to life.