First post of the new year! It’s absolutely insane to me that it’s 2012…I wonder if I’ll ever have a new year where I’ll say, “This totally feels like it’s been a whole year and the timing of this new year coming didn’t sneak up on me at all.” Oh! I know!…I will NEVER say that… Which is why I find it funny that I repeat myself every year in a state of disbelief at how fast time goes like this is a new thing. But this is documented for all to see forever (people can always find things no matter how hard you try and delete them once they’re in cyber land) so that in January of 2013 I will prove that I repeat myself endlessly. Regardless I’m going to gawk at this in dramatic fashion because every year it really does feel like it goes insanely fast!
Well, in my last post I talked about praying about a word for my year. This word is something I ask God to give me as a sort of token or reminder that I can carry with me to remind me of something new He’s trying to teach me. For about the whole last week of December I thought He was telling me the word “love”. I long to love Him deeper and learn how to experience love better and love others better and that’s been a theme for me recently. But “love” just didn’t feel like it was the one for lack of a better term. So I just kept praying about it and I woke up on New Year’s Eve and there was a new, yet similar, word floating around in my mind even before I could open my eyes. That word was “Joy”. I started praying about it, got up, made some coffee, started writing in my blog and let it mull around a little bit. What does that even mean God? I long to be joyful in every circumstance, to be WAY more content than I ever can seem to be no matter how many good things are in my life, to have a confidence that comes from seeing God in every situation, etc…I know all of these things stem from a deep sense of joy that can only come from God. As I was praying about this I got up from where I was sitting and walked to a table next to me where we had started a pile of all of the Christmas decorations that we had slowly started taking off the tree. A little hidden was this ornament that I show in the picture above. It was the only ornament of a word in the crazy pile of colors, shapes and sparkles and I couldn’t help but smile. God gave me my word :) It was all the confirmation I needed.
So now what to do with that? It takes a lot more than just reciting a word over and over in my heart, even out loud, to really make it impact my life. Joy means a lot more than happiness. I have a lot of energy and enthusiasm a lot of the time, but in my heart of hearts I don’t know if I can really say that I embrace and live out the joy that comes from the Lord. The world doesn’t even really understand joy. I looked it up in the dictionary and it only give definitions relating to extreme happiness. But I don’t think that’s what God intended with the word He gave me. Happiness is conditional, I just recently wrote about that in a post in fact. Joy is unconditional. I see it as something to base decisions off of, something to help me connect with the heart of God when nothing seems to be going right or when I’m utterly confused about something that my life is revealing to me.
I was excited to share my word with some of my closest friends New Years Eve as we sat around playing games. One of my best friends, Liz, had a verse pop into her head when I was sharing about this that confirmed the word for me, but also confirmed the fact that I knew there was more to it than simply being happy. That verse was James 1:2-4 which goes a little something like this: "Consider it pure JOY, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
Hahaha…love ya Liz. Thank you SO much! ;) But really, I am thankful for this because I knew in my soul that this was exactly what God is wanting to do in me. I’ve been joking recently, but really quite serious, about the fact that this is my year of MAJOR self-improvement. I feel like God is revealing some very deep stuff to me about myself that I need to work on now, and it’s now because I’m ready now. Whether I feel like it or not…ready or not, here it comes. And I want to walk through it joyfully, knowing that God is with me and that He will be glorified in me more and more the closer I get to His perfect version of me. And that really is my ultimate goal in this life, to glorify Him.
So work away God! Transform the transformable, destroy the stuff that has no place in me and bring to life in a new way the stuff that has been given to me by You and You alone. Give me a joyful heart that praises you every step of the way so I can be “mature and complete, not lacking in anything”. Now more than ever I need to look for the pink things, but I’m excited because I know now more than ever they’re going to be surrounding me!