Stretched to Saturate

I love the New Year’s tradition of grabbing a word to hold on to for the coming year. After the last couple of years whose words have been marked by the things missing or broken, stolen or lost, denied or disappointing, I, along with the rest of the world at this point I think, am so ready for a new word! A word that looks at what is, and then looks past to what is possible. A word that turns my heart from what is scarce to what is abundant. A word that looks my anxiety-prone, I-know-I’m-not-supposed-to-believe-in-jinxing-things cynicism right in the face and chooses hope. A word that wrestles not with where God isn’t, but instead zeroes in on where He is. A word big enough to simultaneously hold my sweet, significant, little family and something a lot bigger than just me and mine in it.

So, for this year, I’m grabbing the word “Saturation” by both ends and hanging on for dear life. 

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It’s a big word. A lot bigger than the realist *cough* pessimist, in me likes to put out there. My addicted-to-achievement self knows the risk of that big of a word. Why would I claim something so unrealistic, so unmeasurable, so unachievable? 

As I’ve squirmed with the question, the best answer I can come up with is, because I need to risk in order to dream again. 

I need something, this year, that is so big, so beyond me, that I’m not tempted to achieve it by striving in my own power. Because striving’s exhausting. And after the past few years, I’m already tired. I think what I love most about saturation, is that right out of the gate, I know it’s not about me. I don’t have the power, resources, or energy to saturate anything right now. It starts me, from the very moments of this year in a place of total surrender and dependence—which is a far cry from my comfort zone of order and control. So, it stretches me. 

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But it also stretches beyond me. While my thoughts and prayers for saturation definitely apply to me personally and to my family—I long for our lives to be saturated with prayer and the Presence of God, for our home to be saturated with grace, for our words to be saturated with truth, our interactions saturated with love and deep vulnerability, our decisions saturated with discernment, and our hearts saturated with peace—saturation also calls me to look up and around me.

Because things that are saturated don’t stay in neat boundaries. They don’t adhere to their given borders. They, by nature, burst the seams, drip from the sponge, pool in the corners, run off the edges, flood the low places, hug the sides of the scales, overwhelm the vessel attempting to contain them. And as someone very prone to sink inward more often than to look outward, I need that. I need a word that lets me look intently at what has been put into my hand to care for, while also being aware of where it is spilling out. It keeps me praying out, too. For tables to be saturated with honest conversations; homes to be saturated with peace; cars to be saturated with a willingness to go; neighborhoods to be saturated with light; schools saturated with joy; hospitals saturated with healing; fields saturated with abundance; governments saturated with justice; nations saturated with gathering, thriving churches.

Big things. Impossible things. God things.

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And this is a God thing. From the very beginning, He’s asked us to hold the tension of these two things—the minute and the grandiose. To name the largest dinosaur and the smallest insect. To walk with Him in deep, solitary intimacy on the mountain tops and to lead the masses across the deserts. To embrace the doable surrender and strive for the impossible holy. To empty ourselves, and to be full to overflowing. To “love our neighbor” and to “go into all of the world.” Only He can span the vast distances between these things.

So we are grabbing both sides of the word, and asking for saturation. Would you join us?

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