An Alternative To The New Year’s Resolution

1 Jan

Me feeling joyful way back when

For the past three years, I’ve stopped making New Years resolutions. I know myself and as a recovering perfectionist, I know that I would make this really exhaustive and impossible-to-accomplish list about all the things I want to change about my life. I definitely have those things. I walk around with them all of the time and the challenge this year has been to tell myself that the thoughts in my head aren’t always realistic or helpful. Managing the destructive self talk has been a skill I’m only just learning how to develop and I hope to bring that into the next year.

Three years ago, I discovered after my friend Jessica, in North Carolina, started doing it along with her church. The concept is, instead of making resolutions, you find a word that will be your theme for the year. That one word can reach through many areas of your life and can really help focus what it is you want to get out of the next year.  A couple of years ago, I chose the word “release” because I felt that there were a lot of things that I needed to let go of. Last year, the word was “trust.” Wow, did I ever have to learn that one! I had to trust God that I would get a job, which was provided. I trusted that I should go to the Czech Republic and that the funds would come in (they did!). I trusted that I would be able to shoot a documentary when I didn’t have any trained filmmakers and three flipcams and a mini DV (we have the footage, I’m now editing it). I trusted that when my relationship ended that the grief wouldn’t overwhelm me and that my community would be there to support me (it was better than I expected!). Whether it was a family issue, deciding to lead again, or in my lonliness, I trusted. Despite the fact I don’t know what’s going to happen in 2011,I know it’s going to be okay because now I have a new sense of trust. The one word helped quite a bit.

When trying to figure out a word in 2011, I finally landed upon “joy.” I knew it was my word because the word you choose is usually one you fear as well as are excited by. Joy is scary for me.

How can I have joy when I’m struggling with anxiety? How can I have joy on those days when the grief gets to be too much? How can I have joy when there are so many options with how I should spend my time, which passions I should choose to pursue, which people I should invest in, and when I’m feeling so overwhelmed?

Then I realized that joy for me would be a present emotion. It wouldn’t be about the past or the future, it would force me to focus on this moment. This moment. I spend so much time wondering about the past and trying to predict the future, it’s nearly impossible for me to have joy when faced with regrets, worry, anxiety. And joy is something that is a huge part of my faith, or at least it should be! As a Christian, I’m called to “delight” myself in the Lord. And I so want to do that.

There have been moments of joy in 2010 but there need to be more in my life in 2011. I have to choose to not let anxiety rule my heart. I have to choose to believe that joy is contagious and surround myself with joyful people. I need to know that if I am joyful despite my circumstances, I’m living out of a place where God wants me to be. I’m not saying that there isn’t a place for grief. But I’ve done grief. I’ve done sadness. I’ve done disappointment and fear and have had tears that would fill a bathtub. It’s time for joy. It’s a choice. My one word is joy. JOY!!! J-O-Y. Let this year be full of it. May I overflow with it. May my life look different next year because of it. May God meet me in the hard places and give me that gift so that I may then extend joy to others. May I reclaim that part of my personality this year.

1 Peter 8-9 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Looking through a large peephole into the future...


One Response to “An Alternative To The New Year’s Resolution”

  1. Alana January 9, 2011 at 3:58 pm #

    My word is Joy too! I’ve decided to blog about the experience. It’s my first time doing One Word.

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