The year my youngest brother will graduate from high school.
The year I will start the final 365 days in my 20s, the last stretch of a spectacular adventure of a decade (and I had better decide turning 30 is perfectly acceptable).
The year I will read for fun and not feel guilty about it. My goal: one book a month to complete a list of some fun categories- a Pulitzer Prize winner from the year I was born, a classic romance, a book by an author I’ve never read, a memoir. I have more categories than there are months so we’ll see what happens.
The year I will make peace with the ants.
Wait, what? Yes, that is one of my goals. You see, the ants here drive me absolutely CRAZY. When they start pouring out of every crack and crevice, making their little march across the countertop, the stove, the floor, the wall, right into our honey or tortillas or brand new, UNOPENED packages of quinoa from America, my jaw tenses and my teeth clamp and I can feel the headache coming on.
But, NO.MORE. Not this year. My One Word for 2015 is Joy. And the ants are not going to steal my joy any longer.
Or, at least I’m going to try and relax a bit, not take quite so much delight in completely annihilating them. The pastor on Christmas Eve said this: Joy is a release of the ownership of our circumstances, letting humility open the door for joy. The ants and their conniving ways don’t have to own me. I can be joyful in the midst of plans that don’t go the way I wanted, conflict situations, being misunderstood, failure. Those are all perfectly frustrating, hard things but they don’t have to keep me in bondage.
Joy is freedom, to see past what might be the messy life right in front of our eyes to the God who pours out His love, lavishes it right over us. Joy is strength to hold on tight for whatever is ahead in the empty whitespace of a new year.
It is not just a word for me. I’m desperate to get rid of the shackles I have let my circumstances become. I want to see God in the midst of it, know that He is good and faithful in a much deeper way when we turn over the calendar at the end of this year.
There’s an awful lot in God’s Word about joy and I look forward to digging deep into those passages in the days and weeks to come. Here are a few I am clinging to for now.
Psalm 51:12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.
Psalm 94:19 When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.
Psalm 126:3 The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with joy.
Psalm 28:7 The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my heart song I praise him.
***For the record, I wrote this up last night and then was thoroughly tested today in some hard, headache-inducing situations. I want to mean what I write and am posting this as a faith declaration that even if I don’t feel at all joyful at this moment, I am running to Jesus and asking for a morsel of His joy to sustain me, His comforting arms wrapped around me. That is why this is a journey.