Here we are starting a whole new year. A year full or expectation and hope. A time when some choose to make resolutions and often break them before the end of the first week. That used to be me. I was not at all good at resolutions so I started off the year with discouragement.
Some of you may remember from last year that I mentioned I don’t do resolutions. Instead, I pray about choosing a word for the year, a word that will change my life for the better and make me a better person.
Last year, my word was Thankfulness. With the changes I faced in the coming year – changes I didn’t want – I had no idea how to be thankful, but I learned. Sometimes being thankful proved almost impossible. Still, with God’s help, I learned to give thanks no matter what. A great lesson to learn.
This year, I wanted an easier word. Something that came more naturally to me. A word that didn’t require work or change. Ha! That didn’t happen.
When I prayed, I kept coming back to the word joy. Joy. Did you know you can give thanks without feeling joy? Well, I could. I may have learned to give thanks, but that is as far as it went. Now I felt the nudge that I needed to add joy to my thankfulness.
Thus began a search of scriptures to see what the Bible has to say about joy. Many times joy is associated with music and worship. I began to put on music while cooking or doing dishes. Not rap or heavy metal for me. I put on a playlist of my favorite worship music and sing along, harmonizing and enjoying the chance to praise God.
I am also reminded of the acrostic my daughters learned in Sunday School. As I ponder the acrostic, I realize the perfect truth of it. I will apply this to my life this year and see how God changes my heart.
J – Jesus – Always put Jesus first. When I find myself without joy, I can stop and consider what Jesus would want me to do. How would He react to the situation? How would He see this and how can I do likewise? Seeing through His eyes get my focus off self and in an outward healthy direction.
O – Others – Looking to Jesus also helps me focus on others before myself. Is there someone I can help in some way? Maybe by a prayer, an encouraging note or some more visible need that I can meet. There is no greater joy than doing something for Jesus by helping someone He brings to mind.
Y – Yourself – Because I am human I will make sure my needs are met. What I need to avoid is making self the focus before anything else. By keeping this acrostic in order – J – O – Y – I will find balance and bring joy to my life.
Will this be an easy task? I think not. That’s why I have all year to practice. This is better than a resolution, which once broken, is usually tossed by the wayside. If I get out of step with JOY I can simply start again when I realize my mistake.
I wish you all a year of Thankfulness and Joy.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Ps. 51:12