A New Anointing for a New Year


The Spirit of the Lord is upon me and He has anointed me.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon you and He has anointed you.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon us and He has anointed us.

Jan_IdeletteYes, Lovelys, my one word for 2014 is … anointing.

It’s not a word I sought out, as much as one day I just knew. It was back in the summer, one day while I was sitting, reading, resting, receiving from God. I objected. O, please, God, no! But, as you may know, there’s no running away from a word once it’s been deposited. So I surrendered, because I’ve learned to trust God and this process of the One Word so intimately.

As I swished the word around on my tongue and in my heart, I realized this word for this year actually has very little to do with me and “my anointing” or growing into some mantle.

My one word, in the expression I long for, is as a verb, not a noun.

Anointing, as in the act of anointing others. Anointing as a work that helps others cross over the threshold into their dreams and hopes.

A ritual of release.
A ceremony of blessing.
An act that symbolizes our belief in the dreams we see in a heart.

My friends—and husband—joke that I have future eyes. I can often “see” someone in her divinely intended place; the life she is meant to live and have. I see her when her voice is strong and her actions line up with the beautiful, unique purposes of God, for her.

Anointing, for me, is to help draw down that intended place—a place of bright truth—for the people around us. 

Literally, though, anointing means to put oil on someone.

The ancient origin is from a practice by shepherds who poured oil on their sheep’s heads to keep lice and other insects from digging into their ears and killing the sheep. The oil made the wool slippery, so the insects couldn’t get to their ears.  Anointing then became a symbol of blessing, protection and empowerment.

O, that we would bless, protect and empower each other like that.

One of my favourite sayings in Mandarin is, Jia-you. It literally means “add oil” and it’s an expression of encouragement.

Like: You go, girl!

We are called to add oil to each other’s dreams. We know this. When we catch a glimpse of her heart and her dreams, we can stand next to her and say, Jia-you. You go, girl! I see you there.

Or like that beautiful expression Rachel Held Evans rebirthed into our vocabulary: Eshet Chayil! O, woman of valor. We call these things out of each other.

Apparently, just as “exponential” was a word that served the vision of SheLoves in 2013, I believe anointing is for us as a sisterhood too.

I desire that our words and our actions would anoint each other.

I desire that we would designate each other to the calling we hear between the lines in the spaces between our words. In the sighs and the longings.

That our ears would be attuned to the hopes and dreams we hear between the sentences.
That we would hear the truth as it reverberates from another soul’s deepest place.
No room for shoulds or oughts.

Together we commit to going to the places, the dreams the hopes we scarcely dare speak of, because we shudder and we feel too inadequate in the presence of that dream.

Those are the very dreams we call to attention and we say, I see that in you. I believe in you. You, sis, you were made to do this.

The anointing I seek is from the place of Mary, recognizing the true calling in her Jesus. Her act prepared him towards his divine assignment.

Just like Kelley wrote in 2011:

“Can we messiah one another–propelling each other into the larger salvation story of which we all have a part to play?” –Kelley Nikondeha, ShePonders: Another Anointing

This is exactly what I am talking about.

This year I want to be aware of whose heads and hearts are ready and willing to be anointed. Who is ready to step into a new place? Who dares? Who is willing to move in the direction of her hopes and dreams?

Sometimes, when we can’t hope for ourselves any longer, we need others to come alongside us and remind us of that essence that is within us. To call that glory out and anoint us for its very purpose.

Several Thursday nights ago, I pulled out the small bottle of oil from Jerusalem that a friend from church had brought along for us. It was a night that called for anointing … a reminder and a declaration to the girls in our lifegroup circle, that they had been called out to proclaim good news. I asked their permission and read Isaiah 61 over each one of them individually. I placed the fragrant oil on their foreheads.

It was a simple act, but I can still smell the oil. I can still feel the presence of God.

But who am I to anoint, you might ask?

I can anoint, because I walk with the Anointed One. I can anoint, because I have been anointed.

I can anoint, because I have hoped and believed and I have felt ridiculous for hoping. And I almost stopped believing …. until I was asked, Would you be willing to risk again, Idelette? Are you willing to give the dream one more try?

Hope in us needs breath. If we’ve buried our dreams over time in the valley of the dry bones, we need to be willing to see them there. But first, we need to be willing to even just lift up our heads. And remember. The hope that was once so alive in us.

And once we see and we sense the presence of God right there with us, showing us the future we can hope for, dare we say, I am willing, Lord. I am willing to breathe on them once again. If You think these bones have life in them yet, I trust You. I am willing …

(I remember the day, four summers ago, that I did just that.)

Now I can anoint because others have anointed me, and anointed me and anointed me.

This year, I want to listen to the hearts around me for the very truths that sing within them and be part of calling out the goodness and essence in others, because it has been done for me. This anointing that keeps being done for me by my sisters, my mothers, my daughters, my brothers, my fathers, my God.

Our world needs more of Heaven’s oil on stale hopes.
Our world needs more living breath on dry bones.
Our world needs more women who walk, anointed.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon us and He has anointed us. Yes, He has.