For some of you it was a year of adventure, wonderful new beginnings and peace. For others, pruning, hard-fought growth and heartache. Some of you imagine, “how can 2016 top this?” and others lament, “it can only get better from here, right?” Or maybe you’re somewhere in the middle. Regardless of where our hearts fall at this moment, the truth is we all find ourselves at the beginning of another January with fresh hope for the days to come. At least that’s how I feel at the beginning of every year.
And like last year, I decided to ask the Lord to lay on my heart a word that would be my focus throughout. Last year “Rejoice” was it, and how little did I know that word would be a challenge from January 1st until December 31st. And I’d love to say that I rose to the occasion at every opportunity—that I rejoiced in the myriad of challenges 2015 held, but let me assure you, I did not. Sometimes that little word stared at me, wondering if I would choose it or fall into despair. Many times the former was closer to the truth when my heart would ask, “How can I rejoice in THIS?”
There were weeks where rejoice didn’t even register on my radar. But even still, I don’t think last year’s word was a failure. There were many times I felt like God was using this word to remind me to focus on Him and not the circumstances swirling around me. Life wasn’t perfect, but there it was, an invitation to find joy in the midst of trials. To choose to delight in Him and the truth that Jesus really is enough even when it’s hard.
In thinking about a new year and a new word a few weeks ago I began thinking about 2016’s word, ready to lay 2015 quietly to rest and get on with things. Don’t get me wrong, there was so much about this year that was wonderful… our fifth child was born healthy and happy, God healed broken relationships and He provided for us in amazing ways. But there was also loss, heartache, brokenness and a huge transition that uprooted us from India back to the States.
Naturally, it seemed like my word should be “Transition” because that’s going to be our reality for some time to come. But that didn’t seem to be exactly what fit. I kept pondering on it, and the word “WRITE” popped in my head a few weeks back. Nothing new there. I love to write, but had put it on the back burner for most of the year while I tended to needs of my family, our business and the move. But writing is and has been one thing that has always given me life, but had been much-neglected because everything else was so much more urgent.
Yes, WRITE seemed almost too simple. But there it was. I let it sit on my brain for a few days and watched to see if anything else materialized. It didn’t. And I began to wonder if maybe this was one way in which God was going to begin to help me process the past seven years of my life—five years in Delhi and the two prior as we prepared to go. So much had happened quickly during that time that I felt like I hadn’t had the space to consider the all the ways in which my heart and life had changed; how the lives of my immediate family had changed and what that meant to us all moving forward.
And I also decided it was the year of stepping out with my writing. There are some blogs and magazines I want to submit pieces to and see what happens. Probably nothing, but I’m tired of letting perfectionism and fear get the better of me. I’m not getting any younger and I firmly believe God is writing His story of our lives and maybe it’s time pieces of it should be shared—maybe it’s something someone else needs to hear. Maybe.
So perhaps instead of making a bunch of resolutions that are easily forgotten by springtime, simply pick one word and let it be your compass for the year.
And if you need some inspiration and accountability, you can check out sites like oneword365 where others are doing the same thing this year.