3 min read
The way I choose my word for the year is by asking myself the question: What do I need right now? You might not be surprised to hear that the answer to this question is: JOY.
During these last weeks and months of lockdown I struggled to feel joyful. I missed having things to look forward to – trips, holidays, visits of friends, trying new restaurants. Every plan was made with a disclaimer, the possibility for change or cancellation. (If we were able to make plans at all).
But again and again, during my Bible reading, in conversations or at church the topic of joy, hope and expectation came up. I felt challenged by the fact that the Bible tells me to rejoice in Jesus, to hold onto hope and to believe that the best is yet to come.
Joy is not something that just happens, it is something I can choose, chase and grow in.Joy is not something that just happens, it is something I can choose, chase and grow in. #onelittleword2021 #livebrightandbold Click To Tweet
Looking to Jesus
Philippians 3:1 says, “Rejoice in the Lord.” (Lord is a term used in the Bible that refers to Jesus). In order to be able to rejoice in Jesus I need to know him and see more of what he is doing. The most authoritative and clearest place where I can see and learn about the awesomeness of Jesus is in the Bible. But he also reveals himself through his creation, nature, people, music, food and art. I want to train my eyes and my heart to keep looking to Jesus.
Finding joy in gratitude
In 2021 I want to focus on gratitude. By pausing every day and thanking God for all the good, my mind focuses on the positive rather than the negative. There is research that shows that writing down what we are grateful for everyday actually changes our perception and helps us notice even more things to be grateful for. This seems like a very good pre-requisite for feeling joyful.
Chasing joy (in old and new places)
Over the next 12 months I want to be intentional about doing things that bring me joy. Sometimes that requires effort. Getting outside for a long walk rather than sitting on the sofa to watch Netflix can take some willpower. But as we established: joy doesn’t just happen. Within that I want to be open to look for joy in new places, whether it is learning a new craft, meeting new people, exploring parts of Berlin I haven’t been to or trying out a different exercise routine.
At the beginning of Germany’s second lockdown in November I recorded myself doing some silly dances in our flat to a wide variety of music and posted these on Instagram. Expressing joy (or silliness) was fun and I think it made a lot of other people smile. I believe that expressing and sharing joy will multiply it. So within the possibilities of the coming year I want to celebrate, sing, dance and worship and express all the joy.
I am already feeling pretty excited! I love a new year and a fresh start. JOY, I cannot wait.
Want to learn more about One Little Word? Ali Edwards came up with the concept, she has a whole FAQ section and also offers a class. You can also read all my other posts with thoughts and recaps around having a word for the year here.