Many choose a “Word of the Year”.
The word I chose for last years “Word of the Year” was strong.
Little did I, or anyone else for that matter, realize how much our strength would be put to the test.
Not just our physical strength, but also our strength of character, and our emotional strength.
Even the strength that we have acquired over the years in our spiritual lives has been severely put to the test.
For my part, I had done fairly well, up until about October, which I talked about →here←.
I have been working on making some different daily choices, talked about →here←.
I have made some observations about my strength and where it comes from, along with some observations about some things that drain my strength.
I will mention just a few of those here in this post.
Perhaps you will see some of yourself in these lines as well, and we can trade some of our wisdom with each other.
Observation #1; the “Word of the Year” for 2019 started out as “Joy”, and quickly changed to “Peace”. I had observed that having joy could be difficult if my heart were not at peace. The year was spent reading scriptures about peace, finding music that helped to create a peaceful atmosphere, and using that atmosphere to practice peace. I noted that practicing peace, sounds simple enough. But is quite difficult because our natural way of being, at least mine, is to become distracted by squirrels, clouds, tasks at hand, and other shiny things. However, by the end of the year, I felt I had attained a level of peace that I could live with.
Observation #2; The “Word of the Year” for 2020, as I said earlier, was “Strength”. I had no idea why I had chosen that word, since I was not feeling particularly weak. (No more than the usual tired, not being a spring chicken anymore)
Then came the pandemic. What I really think about the pandemic is for another time, but for right now, I will speak to that peace level. I was never freaked out about it. I think freaking out about stuff is a waste of good energy. We can use our energy for things that have a more positive effect.
Inversely, what seemed to happen, is that not only did nothing going on around me, or out in the world, bother me, or surprise me, but I began to feel really nothing at all. That was a tad scary. I began to think that my peacefulness was becoming so peaceful, as to be almost comatose. That cannot be right, right?
Once noted, it seemed the first emotion to come back was anger. Now anger as an emotion is not bad. It can signal areas where we need to be alert, but it can also take our thought life to places where it ought not to be. (In my case, dislike and judgement of others – a trait I find most unappealing) Scripture says clearly in Psalm 4:4 Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah.
(Pause and consider this)
I felt this was clearly something I wanted to take care of. I always want to be in control of my thought life. It is imperative to that peace that I so want to live in. 2 Corinthians 13:11 Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. And let’s face it, I need Him with me.
Observation #3; For the year 2020 the word I chose, again, is joy. My experience with peace, and the ability to attain peace in a hurry, was a good pre-cursor to having real joy. I believe happiness is what I feel when everything is going well. I also believe that joy is an inside job; one that is a frame of being, and not dependent on things occurring around me. Joy being an inside job, is not dependent on my circumstances, but rather it is a quality that is in my heart regardless of your circumstances; yes, even in spite of them.
So here I am, with you in the second full week of 2021, concentrating on joy.
Concentrating on what’s in my heart and mind.
Guarding my thoughts, and Counting it all joy.
James 1:2-4 (ESV) Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (Especially Joy!)
Until next time …