I've been hearing about a book called The Happiness Project. (I haven't even looked at the book so I'm only going on review). From what I understand it's about discovering and doing/implementing the things or experiences in life that make you happy. Being happy is good. I like being happy. I like it when the people I love are happy. But it seems to me that being happy is a lot like always having 2 positive choices, which I wrote about here. In the end, it seems like a shallow and theologically dubious way to live. There's been things I've done in life out of commitment to Christ that don't make me happy- they are an act of obedience and sacrifice. And, hopefully, the rewards run deeper and go farther than happiness can ever take me. I'm looking for joy rather than happiness. An emotion that isn't dependent on circumstances or others reactions or my personal preferences.
"Counting it all joy," goes way beyond being happy. For instance, Stephen being stoned. Happy? No. And, did he have a Momma, was he married? Were the women in his life happy at his stoning? I think not. But, joyful? Stephen's description of the heavens opening up is one of pure joy. He radiated it, basked in it, reflected it.
Bring it on. The Joy of salvation. When everything is willingly lost, willingly submitted, willingly given away because of the LIGHT that awaits- that's joy!
Last year my word was DREAM, for so many reasons. This year it's STEWARD. Cause I want joy in my life and when I steward well joy seems to flow. I stop living like a stingy, stoopid poor person and act in ways that are generous and good, despite myself. For instance, when I steward the house and it is picked up and neat and orderly and people can find the things they need, there are different attitudes and interactions in our home. When I'm stewarding well the various areas of my life I get more done, with more excellence, with less stress and "cheating" - in other words certain areas aren't excelling while others are growing anemic, which is my natural MO.
I'm writing down the areas and specifics of what I'm hoping to steward this year. I believe that what you write/envision/speak draws you to it. Not because there's anything magical in the writing, but because writing cements the thoughts and beliefs in one's own head, creating a compass to follow.
The 4 areas that I am deliberately stewarding this year:
(and it's not that I'm not responsible for these areas anyway, it's that I'm being deliberate).
Physical -Plan food and meals, work the plan. Get a work out routine that skips knee usage (if you know of something, please lmk.
Mental - 52 books/Year, Writing
Spiritual - Read the Bible, Pray for the Nations, give generously.
Social -Kids/Homeschool. Writing/blogging. Getting together with a friend once a month (more difficult than it might seem). Time alone with hubby twice a month (again, more difficult than it might seem).
The last year has emphasized to me, more than ever, that "the grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of the Lord stands forever." What my life counts for, the legacy I leave, is dependent on my stewarding well the resources I have in my hand. Happiness along the way; bonus. Joy? Worth it all.
What about you? Do you have a Word of the Year?