Each year I attempt to set some goals (you can read more about that on my business blog). More importantly, I begin in November to pray about a “word” or theme for the year. I haven’t been doing this long, and began the practice after some encouragement from a dear friend, Shari Edwards. As I have begun this practice I have come to realize how valuable it has been in helping me to really know WHO God is. It is easy to know of God. Even as a Christian I can study and know more about Him, but it can be challenging to know WHO He is, to experience Him.
As I prayed the word JOY kept coming to my mind. Initially I brushed it aside, thinking it too trite. Who picks the word JOY as their word for the year? Pollyanna? It felt too simple. In my mind it was too close to the “blessed” syndrome of American religion-the one of prosperity and good if you love God. Not my doctrine. Not my faith. So, in all honesty I began to pray really hard the word would go away. Surely I needed something more serious, more worthy. Ahhh, the human ego and our desires to do, to strive, to know. In the course of those prayers, repeatedly god brought to mind or used a devotional or magazine article to put James 1:2-3 in front of me. In those moments I began to understand what He desired for me. I chose obedience and placed my thoughts upon JOY.
JOY isn’t a feeling. JOY is a state of being. JOY is one of the Spiritual Gifts His Holy Spirit gives us through our obedience and faith walk. JOY is an attribute of Christ. I can only experience JOY when filled with His Spirit. I can only know JOY when I know HIM.
As I ventured through this season of doubt, fear, and anxiousness God has taught me much about faith. How little mine was, can be and still is on too many occasions. He has taught em to let go. He has brought me from the desert abiding, to a deeper relationship with Him. I know with certainty JOY is my word for 2015. It won’t be a year of laughing, jovial moments, happy, happy, happy. No. The reality is life will continue to be hard. Friends will lose battles with illnesses. Loved ones will be lost. Children will make poor decisions. Persecution will increase. But I know this to be true-when I walk in faith He will fill me with HIS JOY, an abiding peace which promises me salvation and wholeness. He is reminding me this life is about being ready. I want to grow this year and be the kind of woman who is ready. Ready for the life I am living. Ready to respond to the world in which I live. I want to be spiritually grounded so I can experience His attributes in the midst of it all and be ready-ready to respond in deep abiding faith.
JOY-it isn’t a feeling. JOY-a state of being.