Are you idealistic... like me? I have to work at shaking it off, to embrace my idealism with a balance of reality.
And so I almost hesitated to share my word for this year. In recent years I've picked a word... a word to think on, to live by, to motivate me, and learn from.
Even before 2017 rolled around, I knew that my word for 2017 was Joy. I was quite excited about it, such a strong, positive, hopeful word. I felt God had planted it right in my heart, to live out this coming year in a fresh way.
To be honest, the year didn't start off quite like I had hoped. I had hoped for a peaceful, joyful, prayerful beginning, but that just didn't happen.... and as I processed how I felt about that, I realized I would need to make some decisions.
Joy doesn't just happen, it is often something we choose.
And I say that carefully, because I work with grieving people. I myself have grieved this past year. The Bible verse talks of joy in the morning, but first there is the travail of the night.
I love the verse quoted on this little piece of art: "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." (Romans 12:12). A great recipe for joy.
So how does one achieve a joyful heart? How does one experience freedom from fear?
Living gratefully is a key to joy, I think! When I approach life with a thankful heart instead of a grumbling heart, my whole outlook changes.
Choosing to trust is also key to joy. "Radical trust" is an interesting way to look at it. Radical trust is a choice to give our circumstances, our emotions, our heartaches, our pain, - and trust God to carry us through. This trusting is a wondrous letting go... because I can't control it anyway.
And I'm learning - and it is a constant learning - that surrender, and letting go into the loving arms of God whom I trust, believing God wants the very best for me; this is the pathway to freedom and joy.
So there you have it... my word for 2017!
Perhaps you have a word too? I'd love to hear from you.