The first week of each new year, I devote time to reflecting on the previous year before I created a plan for the coming one. I consider what went well, what didn’t, and what needed to change. I try to make my celebrations list longer than my shortcomings, with more gratitude than gripes. But looking at the change list is where I determine my theme for the year. It’s where I find the things I crave more of and the words I want to exemplify both publicly and deep in my soul. Past years’ words have included shine, delight, flourish and change.
This year, my heart’s desire is for more joy.
Joy in the morning with the Lord
Joy during the day as I go about my work.
Joy in my marriage and relationships.
Joy in playing more with my grandchildren.
Joy instead of anxiety and worry.
Joy is defined as delight, jubilation, happiness, glee or pleasure. It is an emotion evoked by well-being, success or good fortune. I did a deep word-study, searching scriptures and internet resources for my new theme and found my favorite definition from author Margaret Feinberg. ”Joy is reflecting the delight of our Heavenly Father.”
Joy is not the same as happiness, although it is often interchangeable. Happiness is tied to circumstances. Joy is an attitude of the heart. Joy is present even when times are tough, during illness or loss, and even when the future seems impossible. Happiness comes from outside sources. Joy flows from the inside out.
That’s what I want this year… more joy that flows from the inside out, no matter what’s going on in my life. Joy instead of worry. Joy shared with others. Joy in the Lord. At the end of every day–or as often as I can remember–I will ask myself if joy overflowed in my life; if I inspired joy in those I touched. Ultimately, I will ask if I brought joy to my Creator.
What do you want more of this year? What would make your life more complete? Do you need balance, contentment or change? Would you like to experience greater self-care, increased focus or more time with family?
I encourage you to claim a word as your theme for the year, and use it as a guide for your life. Spend time pondering your word, and share it with us! May you find more of it this year and beyond.