Words, Wisdom & Ant Hills for 2013

By on January 21, 2013

Heidi McLaughlin –

ant pushing ball uphillEach year I ask God for two words. That may sound dull and simplistic but for over ten years this ritual and discipline has profoundly impacted my life. Here is how it works: Each January I pray and ask God to give me two words. Those two words become my “ant hill” for that entire year. They are the lenses through which I allow God to stretch my boundaries, give me more wisdom, and help me say “yes” or “no” to all the demands thrust at me. Those words become infused in my soul, my essence and over time they take on color, shape and meaning. After a while they seem crop up everywhere; newspapers, billboards, magazines, coffee cups, brochures and most importantly, the Bible.

For instance: In 2012 my two words were “grateful and generous”.  After researching the word “grateful” I discovered that the power of gratitude unleashes joy and freedom.  In January 2012 I tested this truth by starting a Gratitude Journal. To date I have over 900 entries. Making these daily entries in my journal has allowed me to awaken to the beauty, love, grace and power of God all around me. Each entry in my journal is like a private, intimate conversation between me and the Creator of heaven and earth. I realize that God is interested and involved in every detail of my life. Through this process I am learning to become a grateful person, not only in the joyous times but also in the mist of the dark, gut wrenching challenges.

The word “generous” puzzled me all year and I kept asking God to reveal what He was trying to teach me from that tiny word. It was late in 2012 where God clearly showed me that “giving money” was easy for me, but my generosity was expressed through giving up my most precious commodity; time. This revelation has given me greater wisdom for “spending” my twenty-hours a day.

So that is how I build my ant hill each year. Methodically, purposefully…just like the ant. The bible explains it this way: “Go to the ant, you sluggard, consider its ways and be wise” (Prov. 6:6 NIV).  It is fascinating to watch an ant. They take one grain of sand, or one piece of a twig, and carry it from here to there. They do this one after the other, one at a time: slowly and not running. It seems as they are hardly working at all, but as time goes on, we see the ant village beginning to take shape. The ants seem to have a methodical plan, carrying it out slowly, day after day, with a distinct purpose.

Some people call this boring; I call it wise. In our crazy world of demands and distractions I need to have purpose plus steadfast and deliberate focus. For 2013, God gave me the words, “simply” and “balance”.  I can already see where this is going. God wants me to continue to build my ant hill. With every decision I make this year I will put my two words under the scrutiny of building my ant hill. I will ask some of these questions:

1.         Will it add value to life?

2.         Will I be spending my time wisely?

3.         Will it fit into my schedule so that I am not robbing my husband and family of precious family time?

4.         Is this in accordance with the passion, strengths, gifts and abilities God has given me?

5.         Will it invigorate me or deplete me?

6.         How can I do this with excellence but still keep it simple?

God is the only One who can rescue us from our frenzied obligations by helping us fill our lives with thing that have lasting value. He will show us how to build our very own ant hill, one piece at a time. I am blessed to have God is graciously show me how to build my ant hill through the process of two words. It’s a great, practical and powerful tool. I challenge each of you to try it for one year and see the kind of ant hill you will end up building.

Heidi McLaughlin lives in the beautiful vineyards of the Okanagan Valley in Kelowna, British Columbia. She is married to Pastor Jack and they have a wonderful, eclectic blended family of 5 children and 9 grandchildren. When she is not working, she loves to curl up with a great book; or golf and laugh with her husband, family and special friends. You can reach her at: http://www.heartconnection.ca/.

About Heidi McLaughlin

Heidi McLaughlin lives in the beautiful vineyards of the Okanagan Valley in Kelowna, British Columbia. She is married to Pastor Jack and they have a wonderful, eclectic blended family of 5 children and 9 grandchildren. When she is not working, she loves to curl up with a great book; or golf and laugh with her husband, family and special friends. You can reach her at: www.heartconnection.ca

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Words, Wisdom & Ant Hills for 2013