I have two words for 2015, but only one name. Let me explain…
A group of friends and family that I am part of chooses a title/word for each year. This choice serves as a theme, and is an exercise in learning and growing for the coming year. This is what we do in lieu of New Year’s resolutions. We tend to stick to this better, and it is more meaningful. We call it naming the year. We announce our choices on New Year’s Day, and we hold each other accountable throughout the year.
As I smugly stated in this post, I thought I had 2015 named by October 31. The word I chose was focus. The simple, obvious reason (usually the way it starts for me) was that I needed to focus on my son’s school, because we home school, and he will be a senior in the fall.
This choice was reinforced in several ways, including lyrics from this worship song:
“Oh God, may we be focused on the least…a people balancing the fasting and the feast…”
The song seemed perfect for my Year of Focus, and it is.
I even had a scripture that went along with everything: Matthew 25:35-40.
All of this was wrapped neatly, connected to other lessons, and tied with a bow. The exclamation point was a painful realization that taught me that I’d better put my money where my bracelet is:
And then, in late December, another word came swirling out of the vapors and smacked me right between the eyes. I didn’t see it for days. I swatted at the pesky thing. I tried to give it away. (“You should name your year this…”)
But the word kept hovering around me, trying to get me to see.
The Joy Woman put the word everywhere in her house and I saw it at every turn. Then, on December 21, the day the Joy Woman died, her daughter tearfully put the word on my wrist. It was to be her mother’s Christmas gift, and she wanted me to have it.
Shortly after that, I was surprised to pull the word out of my study tote. My daughter-in-love tucked it there last Mother’s Day. Looking at the word in such beautiful color was when I began to see it more clearly.
And finally, I unwittingly hid the word in my heart in this 2014 memory verse:
11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
(John 15:11, ESV)
I became more deeply interested in the word as I pondered this verse just two days ago.
The word is joy.
This word choice doesn’t make sense for a variety of reasons. The first reason is that for the most part, the joy of the Lord is already my strength. I do not mean that I have arrived in this area. (Far from it.) I do mean that when joy is missing in my heart, I learned the hard way to see such a void as clanging bells, flashing lights and lowering crossing arms, to stop me from any further progress until I run to God, one-on-one, to figure out what is going on. If there is something (other than true grief) blocking joy, I must let Him fix and remove it. If I don’t, I continue in misery. If I do: Bam. Joy restored.
Another reason the choice of joy is strange to me is that I picture this word as the Joy Woman’s word, and not mine. And another reason is that I already had a word for 2015.
But on December 30, during my quiet time, I realized that I do want to know what Jesus means by that little, extra word in the scripture above: full. That your joy may be full. Doesn’t that sound lovely? And strong?
Well, it sounds lovely and strong and intriguing to me. And although focus came first and I actually prefer it, and although the word joy is a bit frightening, and although it’s kinda-sorta supposed to be one word for each year, I have quit swatting at the thing and trying to give it away. I’ve accepted the second word.
So, I have two words for 2015. It’s the year to focus, but it’s name is joy.
(A clean start and a Happy New Year wish to you…)
In case you’re interested: