So apparently it's become a thing at the end of December for people to choose a certain word to reflect their hopes or anticipation for the coming year. For example, I read blog posts this week where one writer chose the word "expect" and another chose "refocus." I like the concept of being inspired by a certain word for the New Year, but nothing really stood out to me, so I set it aside as a blogging trend that would pass me by.
But ever since January 1st , I've been reading a daily devotional from one of the books I mentioned in my New Year's Resolutions post. Nearly every day, the word "joy" has stood out to me, but I passed it off as one of the author's favorite messages. Then I went to my local MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group on Friday, where we discussed the importance of not just loving our children, but enjoying them. Sense a theme yet? Next came Sunday, where the sermon centered around the wisemen rejoicing when they saw the star that would lead them to Jesus, and how Christmas should fill us with that same overwhelming joy.
It appears God had a word in store for me this year after all: joy. And I'm already beginning to see why. Instead of slowing down after the holidays, life has just gotten busier. New, exciting opportunities have arisen that I can't wait to explore in the coming months, but they've given my days a hectic, anxious feel.
It's okay to be busy, and I think I'm exactly where I'm meant to be as the chaos builds around me. But I also need to remember to experience joy in the midst of it.
Joy in parenting, so I don't miss the many moments each day where my sons make me laugh, do a kind gesture of their own accord, or say something that reminds me how remarkable their unique minds are. Joy in my marriage, so my husband stays my best friend instead of a roommate who helps me keep the house in order. Joy in writing, so I can appreciate the amazing gift of using words to create stories and characters that may strike a chord with a reader someday. Joy in being an aspiring author, so I can truly value the connections I make with others as I try to broaden my reach, instead of seeing them as means to an end.
The coming year will be busy, but it can also be joyful - if I let it. If I remember to pause to enjoy the exact moment I'm in rather than regretting a past mistake or looking ahead to times where I may feel more fulfilled or more successful. Joy can be experienced today, no matter what trials or obligations the day may hold. I just need to make sure to seek it out.
How about you? Do you have a certain word in mind to guide you in 2017? Have you ever felt like God was trying to get a message across using numerous aspects of your life?
I pray each one of us can find many, many reasons to be joyful in the year ahead!
Thanks for reading!