I wasn’t sure I wanted a One Word for this year. The past several years I have picked a word and then at the end of the year I found myself frustrated at my lack of growth in that area….I am one who can be easily discouraged so I thought that maybe I would skip out this year.
If you read my post about the word Depend for 2015, you will know that last year pushed me to limits I didn’t like and in many ways I felt initially like I had failed once again. But I couldn’t put the idea of not having a word for the year to rest so I have been thinking about it for the last few days.
And then this morning I sat down to read a book I was sent as part of another book launch team. Choose Joy – Finding Hope and Purpose When Life Hurts was written by Sara Frankl and Mary Carver. It is available for purchase on Tuesday January 5th and I guarantee this is a book that you want to read to start off the new year.
I read it in 3 hours, straight through, and have underlined so many sections so that I could read and re-read the truths within the pages.
It is so simple really and yet something that I struggle with in a deep way. How do we choose joy when life hurts?
And then I read these words from Sara….“I made a decision a long time ago that I was going to choose joy. I even painted a big rectangle on my wall and printed it in big letters so I wouldn’t forget to make that choice every day. The major word in that rectangle isn’t joy; it’s CHOOSE. It’s looking around me when life is difficult and trading every complaint I have for something beautiful in my life that far outweighs it. I know, it’s that Pollyanna thing again, but living joyful beats being cynical any day of the week” – Choose Joy
I had been thinking up until then that maybe my One Word should be truth or freedom…things I really want for myself in this coming year. But at that moment I knew that #CHOOSE was the word I wanted to start my 2016.
It is something that I can apply to any area of my life really. And it is so simple, I just have to Choose.
Choose to seek joy even when I feel unhappy.
Choose to find truth, my truth, and live in a more honest and transparent way.
Choose to see others for all of the good things that they embody, instead of focusing on any negatives.
Choose to be grateful for the growth in my life even if it is painstakingly slow at times.
Choose to trust God with the big and the small.
Choose to make time for a relationship with God.
Choose to be more patient and kind to those closest to me.
Yes it seems so simple, but for this human girl with her need for control as well as pride and anger issues….if I am being honest, at times it seems like I don’t have a choice.
But that isn’t true.
Sometimes I have to fight for it….but I always have a choice at how I am going to respond to the life I am living. For a long time I have played the victim. Poor me and how I have been hurt by someone, or life didn’t turn out the way I thought it might…boo hoo. If only things would have gone this way, then my life would be perfect. I have had unrealistic expectations for myself and others and when they aren’t met (because they can’t be) I find myself unhappy and discontent.
And then these words again from Sara – “He used the circumstance of my life to help me grow. He used those circumstances to change my heart. We are here to be changed, to be made more like God in order to prepare us for a lifetime with Him. And more often than not, being changed hurts. I’ve come to understand that the only thing I can control is whether or not I open my heart. Open it to embrace circumstances. Open it to be who He needs me to be in the here and now rather than assume happiness can come from the “If only…” and “When I get…” Open it enough to let Him in to change me here so I can be with Him there.”
Talk about a a smack in the face moment…such truth there!
I know that when I place my feet firm in the ground on a truth like this I am bound to find myself in situations in the coming weeks and months that will challenge my desires to choose well.
Maybe that’s one reason why I didn’t want to pick a word…because I have seen it happen to myself and others and I am so weary from this past year I don’t know if I have the fight in me to walk forward well.
But I realized that in this too I had a choice. I can choose faith or I can choose fear.
So today I choose to trust that God will be walking with me in 2016, guiding me, refining me and helping me to shed some of my old baggage so that I can better be used by Him.
I can’t say it any better than Sara did herself…“But what I have is a mission. A purpose. I am here to live the best life I can with what I have been given. I am here to live out this human existence as a spiritual being – a servant to God and His people – before I head back home to Him. I’m not worried about starting over in a new year. I’m not worried about what this year might bring. I am simply keeping in mind that this life isn’t about me and my goals and my wants and my worries. I am here to fulfill His purpose for me, and my job is to keep my eyes open so I don’t miss it.”
Yes it is simple if we let it be. What will you choose for this new year friends? It is my prayer that we choose to seek God and try and be the best we can be for His glory.
Did you choose a One Word for 2016? I’d love to hear it!!
Linking up with Bonnie and #OneWordCoffee