I’m sure you’ve heard of people choosing a “word” at the start of each New Year. The word usually has something to do with what you hope for or want to be. I had always wanted to pick a word, but would usually forget or decide the word I had chosen wasn’t good enough, or some other excuse. The same thing happens when I decide I’m going to start a journal, a diet, a cleaning/organizing plan…
A few months into 2013, I got my first word… BRAVE. I had breast cancer. I was going to need to be brave and hold onto my faith to get through it. I soon learned that being brave had very little to do with what I could do, and had everything to do with what God could do. God gave me unexpected strength. He made me brave.
As 2014 rolled in, I was finishing my radiation treatments. No more cancer! My next word… SHINE. I wanted to shine with the victory God had given me over breast cancer. I wanted to shine with all that He had done in my life. Matthew 5:14 in The Message says,
“You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world,”
and that’s just what I was going to do.
It’s hard to shine all the time. I sometimes wondered if I was really shinning at all. Did my flaws and mistakes and short-comings dim that light? I realized again that my “word” had very little to do with me and had everything to do with what God was doing in me. He shines. He is working and moving in my life and that light can’t be put out. It doesn’t matter what stupid things I do, He’ll shine through. That’s another word… GRACE.
With 2015 waiting in the wings, it’s time to pick another “word”. Several words have come up in recent months and definitely have meaning to me for this time in my life…. HOPE, FAITH, PEACE, LOVE, BEAUTIFUL. I went to The Word (aka. The Bible) to help narrow it down and I found this passage (emphasis mine):
“Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into JOY, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.” -Colossians 1:9-12, MSG
JOY. God had given me strength to endure (be brave). He let me shine his God-colors to the world and much more. You can be sure that all of that spills over into JOY.
Each day I want to choose JOY. I want to remember everything God has done for me and look forward with joy to all that he has in store.
“when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.” – James 1:2 NLT
And it’s not just about my joy. I want to share joy and bring joy to the people around me.
“Everyone will share the story of your wonderful goodness
they will sing with joy about your righteousness.” – Psalm 145:7 NLT
Bottom line, I want my life to point back to Christ. I want it to be undeniable whose I am and where my JOY comes from. So in 2015, I’m all about the JOY and I’m wishing the same for you!