Considering how most people have lamented 2016, it’s almost comical that my word for the year was ‘Joy.’ But then again, what better word could you pick for such a stinky year?
I started picking my One Word for the Year back in 2014. I had first heard of this concept and really appreciated the idea of meditating on one word or discipline for the entire year. Studying one trait or one idea and letting it permeate all that you do and building on it each year.
While reading in Proverbs in January, my word of 2014 came to me – Wisdom. I spent most of 2014 trying to figure out what it meant to be wise and how to increase in wisdom. At the end of the year, I wasn’t sure exactly how to measure success, but I didn’t feel like I had achieved it.
In 2015, my word was Peace. It came to me while trying to navigate a particularly stressful week and realizing that I had the tendency to stress long in advance of projected activities. I tried my best to figure out how to cultivate peace in the midst of ever increasing anxiety. I never quite felt like I had gained what I was after.
Last December, while singing hymns at the Christmas Eve service, I knew what my 2016 word would be – Joy. It was confirmed on New Year’s Day when my husband noted that I had lost my joy. This year I worked really hard at figuring out what joy was and how to find mine again.
Some things that I realized in perspective is that it does hold true that Joy is based on circumstance, it is in spite of it. That is why you can take a year like 2016 and still have joy, still have it categorized and colored with joy all the way through.
To answer the question, Did I regain my joy in 2016? I would have to say yes. But honestly it is only by looking back at my previous words that I can tell, because a year alone isn’t really enough time.
A couple weeks ago, I had a really busy week. Most of December was crazy. I had a Cookie Exchange Party, a work Christmas party, a church Christmas Party, a Women’s Fellowship Christmas party, and various other obligations and gatherings. It was enough to make an ambivert like me retreat!
One week in particular, I had 3 events scheduled plus work and home stuff, I was just ready to be done with it all! On the day of the last event, while I sat waiting for everyone to arrive at my house and began to reflect on the week. Instead of stressing out about all that I had to do and what was coming, I had peace. I wasn’t freaking out or rushing around. I’d chosen the path of wisdom and had enlisted help in cleaning instead of taking it all on my own. I’d also made the wise choice of fixing one dish for each gathering – a no-cooking dip – so that meant that I only had to shop and prep once and had enough ingredients for every gathering.
When I looked back and realized that habits and “words” that I’d picked in years past were still affecting my behavior today and that I was still increasing and cultivating those ideas. So, I realized that even though at the end of 2016, I may not feel as if I’m just full of Joy, that’s okay. I definitely feel more joyful than I did in January and I’m not done yet. I’m still growing and working on it. How great is that?