The Year of JOY
by Steph Beth Nickel
It’s that time of year again.
We’re getting ready to say goodbye to the year gone by and hello to a shiny new year filled with possibility.
For the past few years, I’ve embraced the concept of choosing a word for the year ahead.
The theme for 2019 came more as a series of ideas.
In many respects, I have been living selfishly. I believe God is calling me to follow Jesus’s example as outlined in the book of Philippians, to live more sacrificially.
It’s a matter of doing what is clearly laid out in His Word—no matter how I feel.
As the old saying goes, I’m to “bloom where I’m planted.” (I often fall prey to the Oo! Shiny Syndrome, always chasing a new pursuit, a new online course, a new exercise program.)
Although to many Christians it may sound cliché, it comes down to the acronym J.O.Y., which stands for Jesus, Others, Self.
The Lord summed up the commandments by saying we are to love God with our entire being and love others as we do ourselves.
With His help, I hope to do so more effectively in the next 12 months than ever before.
I realize these concepts will seem basic for anyone who has been a believer for any amount of time. However, if we truly seek to live this way, it will affect us—and those around us—in ways we can only begin to imagine.
Does this mean everything is going to change?
Have I stopped dreaming big? Far from it. I hope to get my Nurture and Inspire brand out into the world for real in 2019.
Am I going to stay out of my favourite physical and online stores? That’s highly unlikely, but I do intend to (re)discover the books, courses, and journals I already have on hand.
Do I think if something excites me and gets the adrenaline pumping it must be selfish and set to one side? Not necessarily.
But do I think that those things that make me giddy are always part of God’s plan for me? Absolutely not! I must be more intentional about discovering why I want to pursue something new.
The funny thing is to live a self-sacrificial life means I’ll have to pay close attention to what makes me tick. It isn’t so much about what I do over the next 12 months but why I do what I do.
So, how can we select a theme for the New Year?
- Pray about it. It’s important to invite the Lord to be part of this and every other area of our life.
- Be attentive. Inspiration can come from any number of places.
- Create a list of achievable goals. Do they have a common thread?
- Reorganize our list of goals according to our priorities.
- Take a close look at our life. Does it truly line up with those priorities?
- Be willing to make a course correction—or several—as the need arises.
How about you? What is your theme, your word, for 2019?
Stephanie (Steph Beth) Nickel is an award-winning co-author, a freelance editor and writer, a labour doula, and a former personal trainer. She also loves to speak, teach, and take slice-of-life photos. She would love to connect with you on Facebook or Twitter.
Thanks for this challenge, Stephanie. I agree, it’s often the “why” behind what we do that needs monitoring or adjusting. I’m still discerning what God seems to be saying for the new year (knowing He keeps plenty of surprises in store anyway). But yes, checking motivations is one of the underpinnings of whatever it’ll be.