OK! Everybody up! Rise and shine!
When I was working for a corporation, annual planning and forecasting for the New Year was finalized in August of the current year. That’s not how it works for individuals and families, at least not most of the time. We might plan vacations more than a year in advance, but it’s November or December when we start thinking about what we want to accomplish once the page of the new calendar displays January. How often do you hear a conversation that starts out “After the first of the year …”? What happens after the first of the year? What do we hope will happen? According to USA.gov, the top ranking New Year’s Resolutions are no surprise: Lose Weight, Get a better job, Get Fit, Quit Smoking, Get a better education. There are others, but do any of those look familiar?
Before you are tempted to tar and feather me, let me qualify that there is nothing wrong with New Year’s Resolutions. My ideas, I realize, make no logical sense to the majority of people. In fact, sometimes they make no sense to me either. How many times have I asked myself, “Jane, what were you thinking?” and the answer returns, “You weren’t!” I have been thinking about the coming year though and have decided that for the fifth year in a row I’m going to choose a word to live by. Year one (2012) was Faith, year two (2013) was Integrity, year three (2014) Discernment, year four (2015) was Peace, and for 2016 I choose Joy. Making New Years’ resolutions never works for me. It’s a path to self-inflicted heartache. Instead of a bunch of resolutions I choose one goal based on Matthew 5:16 “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
I’m far from perfect at being a light, but that is my prayer every morning. “Lord whatever I do today, let me be a light for you, not a burned out stub. Today belongs to you God, I pray my gifts and my moments have honored you”
There’s a hashtag #word365 popular on social media, where people post what their word for the year is. My 2015 word, peace, is there but where that word is most effective is when I pray about it often many times a day. I don’t get to choose my circumstances but my attitude and reaction to them is my choice. “Will I be bitter or will I be better? What will I do this moment to choose the right reaction?”
I chose the word JOY for this year because I believe it’s possible. We have to go find the joy because it won’t come find us.
There is no reason to choose one word except it helps me focus on what I can do to live the way God wants me to live.
When I was in elementary school, I learned that JOY is spelled Jesus Others You. It’s a song that plays back from memory often.
Tomorrow I’ll be back on track with the advent readings. Today, I hope your day is filled with the wonders of this season and that as you plan for 2016, you make God your first priority because He will make all things fall into place when we place our heart, faith, and hope in him. Psalm 20:4 May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.