Wednesday, January 2, 2013

One Word in 2013

*photocredit: freedidgitalphotosjscreationzshttp:
December rolls around and I spend my mornings sipping coffee, talking with Jesus about the past year. I shared my accomplishments and failures, renewed goals on Monday. And I gear up for a new year. 

The mornings go a lot like this:

"Lord--ah, can I not slosh coffee on my pajamas just one morning!--anyway, Lord, January is coming. Where are we going this year? What one word would you have me focus on and what verse will you give me for this year? Also, the 21 days of fasting are coming up...What--gulp--will you have me do?" *I won't be sharing that with you as I don't want to lose my reward. Things are supposed to be done in secret, ya know. I may have lost it already just by telling you that 21 days of fasting are coming up. SIGH. ;) 

Lately, I've been smacking into "loving others" verses, posts, stories etc...so is it love? I mean I can always work on that. Is it love? Lord, is it? I need a sign! 

One morning, early in December, I woke up and a word popped into my head. 

Joy

Joy? Seriously, God? In case you haven't noticed, I'm a pretty jolly, joyful girl. Um...people tell me this all the time. Just last week, the cashier said I had the best smile. You did hear that, right? 

My word can't be joy. I got the joy. Where? Down. Down deep in my heart. Deep in my heart to stay. And if the devil doesn't like it...he can sit on a tack. Sit on a tack to stay.

If my word is Joy, then I need a sign. A big fat sign because quite frankly, I want a better word. And though this doesn't sound joyous at the moment, I do have joy, Lord.

But wait!! Maybe joy isn't such a bad thing. This year You must be saying my contract is coming and therefore, Lord, I will have even more joy! And You're going to supernaturally heal my physical pains. Because this year has been the Valley of Weeping. Joy comes in the morning. 

A silent moment. I call that the God-sigh. 

Or what if this year isn't going to be a year of harvesting the fruit I've labored over and it's not the year for healing. Are you saying I'm going to have to have joy anyway? Or are worse things going to happen and I'll need that extra dab that'll do ya? 

Oh for the love of...well...You, pick another word! 

These are what my first several mornings looked like. Scary, huh? I know.

Okay God, whatever. If it's joy so be it. But I really, really need a sign. An obvious-no-doubt sign--just hanging out there. 

That morning my husband and I went to see my son's talent show at school. We entered the office and stood waiting along with a bunch of other parents-- whose children couldn't hold a candle to my child's talent. I looked over by the door and there in the corner stood a toy soldier about my height. Yes, I put toy and my height together. 

A tag hung--the string nearly invisible--off of his soldier's hat. In bold red letters it said:

JOY

Shut up! 

Inside my head, I said, "Well, that's a sign hanging out of nowhere for sure. Joy it is.
On Sunday, during the morning service, guess what my pastor preached on? Yeah. Joy. Double dose of confirmation. 

But what verses? And why Joy? Each morning I'd open the Bible and look down to see if God had directed me to the verse. He didn't. I entered "joy" into Bible Gateway and scrolled through them to see if one would jump out. 

It didn't.

And then on December 21st, I woke up and took my iPad into the living room where I do my morning devotions. Each morning I read a John Piper sermon or article. I always feel like I've been fed to the brim afterwards. This day he shared this verse to this sermon (and here is the link if you want to read it for yourself--The Bible: Kindling for Christian Hedonism.


"The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the ordinances of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward." Psalm 19:7-11

The word joy isn't found in these verses, but I knew the instant I read them it was the right verse. My insides started bubbling and tears sprang in my eyes. Then God began to give me a tiny break down of the verses.

Each statement has to do with the Word of God and what it does in a believer's life. And ultimately...it brings joy. 

Another paragraph down, I read this. A third confirmation of my word.

"The Bible Kindles Joy

The reason David praised God with the words, "He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul," is because he had bad days. There were days when his soul needed to be restored. It's the same phrase used in Psalm 19:7—"the law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul." Normal Christian life is a repeated process of restoration and renewal. Our joy is not static. It fluctuates with real life. It is as vulnerable to Satan's attacks as a Lebanese marine compound to a suicide bomber. When Paul says in 2 Corinthians 1:24, "Not that we lord it over your faith, but we are workers with you for your joy," we should emphasize it this way: "We are workers with you for your joy." The preservation of our joy in God takes work. It is a fight. Our adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, and he has an insatiable appetite to destroy one thing: the joy of faith."


Looks like this year, I'll be in the Word more than ever before. Join me as I study the precepts, commands, fear, the ways of God and ultimately joy. What are the differences between joy, happiness, and cheer? We'll look at those in depth through passages and lives of other believers in the Bible. 

Joy isn't about what we get i.e contracts, agents, material possessions etc... Joy is so much more. So much better. And I can't wait to discover it all. Looking forward to 2013. Hope you'll hang around with me and discover it as well! 

*Thank you to Melanie Moore for once again creating--for free--my one word. If you'd like her to create a one word button for you, check out her website and don't forget to give her a big thanks! HERE

Do you have a one word focus? If so, share in the comments. If not, what are some of your goals for this new year?

37 comments:

  1. I love hearing about your conversations with God. :) My word this year is abide. I think it's such a beautiful word, and it has so many different meanings - to dwell, to wait patiently, to remain, to accept without objection, to submit to...

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    1. Abide is a fabulous word and it has to do with joy too! Looking forward to hearing about your abiding moments. :)

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  2. I'm going with root this year. Root myself in Him. It's a fun word, eh. Bit of joy to it too. :D Happy New Year, Jessica!

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    1. Root! Oh, there will be plenty of joy when you root in Him. Such a perfectly Wendy word. I love it.

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  3. I agree with Julie. Love hearing your conversations with our Lord. So much JOY. (See what I did there?)

    Like I said on Twitter, I tend to renew my commitment to a list of life's resolutions every year. I don't believe in making New Year's Resolutions that will be broken, on average, in like 22.3 days (I made that up. It's not scientific), but to recommit myself to the resolutions that I try to live by all year long, though distractions throw me off course from time to time.

    I've definitely been distracted in 2012. It wasn't a good year. But I'm very hopeful as I look toward the future.

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    1. Question is does He love it? lol kidding.
      You crack me up! I'm believing for an incredible 2013 for you, Heather! Good stuff coming your way. :)

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  4. No one talks to God better than you, Jesse! Love this--Our JOY is not static. Joy can be so contagious. When we show Joy during those darker days, we're allowing others to get a glimpse of our hearts and of God. My word for 2013 is Freedom. Happy New Year!

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    1. Ha! Thanks, Lisa! I just love John Piper. He always teaches me something.

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  5. OH my goodness, I love it when God makes things so abundantly clear. Joy! Awesome word. I DO have a one word for 2013, too, but I'm sharing it on my blog on Friday. So you'll just have to wait until then. Haha. So glad you're back, Jesse. I've missed you around the blogosphere. :)

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    1. Always the writer, leaving me on a cliff hanger! Can't wait to hear your word for 2013! I've missed you!

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  6. STUDY - I know it isn't as "exciting" as joy, but the Lord has been dealing with me in a big way that the answer to the dilemmas I face is more time with Him. (Who'd have thought?)

    I did pretty terribly with my 2012 "one word" so I'm praying this one goes better!

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    1. We'll be right there in the Word together. Notice my verse is the hinge to joy and that means studying! That's why I was smiling when you were telling me about your word this morning! :)

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  7. Jess!! You're back!! Yay!!

    Actually, my word is very similar to yours: REJOICE. God confirmed mine in much the same way he did yours--the word was in my head and didn't make sense, but then Melissa sent me a journal with REJOICE on it and Phil. 4:4. So I'm not sure if I'm in for some actual rejoicing, like with good news, or rejoicing in all things because I'll face some hard stuff this year...guess we'll see. Either way, I aim to rejoice, because God's given me life and salvation...and that's enough.

    Love you!!

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    1. Whatever the case, we'll go through it together! I saw that on FB about your word and I admit I honest to God said, "Well, someone's going to have to send me a journal with joy on it for me to know this is the right word." LOL If I'm lying I'm dying. But...no one did and I knew anyway.

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  8. My word for 2012 was JOY! I felt it down in my heart all year. This new year, 2013, the word that has come to me is Rejoice!

    Happy New Year, Jess! May it be filled with loads of joy!

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    1. Awesome, Loree! I'm looking forward to discovering new joy, renewed joy and just joy indescribable and all the ways God wants to show me how to abide in it!

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  9. Love your word! Sometimes God just surprises us by sending a neon sign. Sometimes he's more subtle. My word this year came from a more subtle awareness that I need to find balance in my life. So this year's word is BALANCE.

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    1. I like neon, but most times he makes me work for it. LOL :)
      Balance is a great word, Michelle! Love it.

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  10. It's always so fun and so refreshing to get inside your head (and your conversations with God), Jessica.
    I have my one word for 2013: It's CONFIDENCE -- and it's rooted in the verse Hebrews 10:35: Do not throw away your confidence ...
    Looking forward to one-wording with everyone this year!

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    1. Confidence. Great word and I'm looking forward to your insights on it as we go through the new year together. :)

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  11. I'm so happy you have such a lovely word to focus on this year! Joy! Just saying it makes me smile! I'll be sharing my word on my blog soon... :)

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    1. I'm glad b/c you have an infectious and beautiful smile! Can't wait to hear your one word!

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  12. Love the concept of reducing the year's goals into one word. I'll be seriously thinking on that for MY year.
    My ladies SS class is going through Beth Moore's "James". Last Sunday's session focused on James 1:1. When he says "Greetings" at the end of the verse, it's really the traditional greeting of "joy to you!" It's no small coincidence that he then jumps straight into "Consider it a great JOY my brothers whenever you experience various trials..." Then Beth said something that really stuck out to me-- "Joy is our birthright in Christ." We can choose to lay claim to it, or we can give it away.

    So that's what I'VE been learning about JOY.

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    1. I just love Beth Moore! I haven't done James yet, but I always unpack so much truth from her studies.

      That's excellent insight, April. I'm so glad you shared it with me. Gives me something to meditate on the rest of my day! Here's to finding your one word this year! Can't wait to hear it!

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  13. Love it. As I always do. Thank you for allowing me to tag along on your journey of faith. You shine and reflect the love of Jesus. What can bring more joy than that?

    Love,
    ~Cat

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    1. Cat, you're such a blessing, girl! I'm so glad we "found" each other through the fb/blogging world! I appreciate your words so much! Happy New Year!

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  14. Hey there! I have a one word (relationships) and I have a list of Target resolutions...things that I list each year and never fully get a handle on--you know, like never having anything grow moldy in my fridge...stuff like that. LOL

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    1. Lace, you make me laugh! Relationships is such a strong word. And I'm sure it'll bring you joy. Hey, you never know if the mold sticks around long enough...you might form a relationship! lol

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  15. JOY was my word for 2012, but I failed to keep with my word study throughout the year. Turns out, I could have used the focus! This year, I'm renewing my focus, and my word for 2013 is PRAYER. I'm very excited about this and can't wait to see what God reveals to me this year. :)

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    1. I bought a special journal. I'm calling it my Joy Journal and I hope I won't drop the ball. I'm prone to do that.

      Prayer is a great word. You can pray I won't drop the ball on my Joy Journal! :)

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  16. I love, Love, LOVE your 2013 word, Fiend! Not only does it describe the way in which we are to operate, but your personality in 3D - HD! I didn't pick one word. I picked one focus: "Follow Jesus through whatever doors He opens." That alone will keep me humble, relying on Him, and living with a sense of awe. Hugs!

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    1. Donna, your description cracks me up! 3D HD! I love your focus and yep, it's sure to keep you humble and relying on Him.

      Super hugs!

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  17. Your conversations with God are so real...so YOU! I love it! And your word will be a great gift to you this year, I'm sure, if God ordained it!

    I think I told you my word...or maybe I just blogged about it. It is RESTORE. I want to restore passion to my faith, order to my home and finances, and joy to my creative self. It's gonna be a good year, I believe. :)

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    1. Thanks, Sherrinda. I'm so glad God puts up with me. :) I love your word. I'm excited to read your blog this year and follow you on that journey!

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  18. That sounds like an amazing journey to your one word. I look forward to reading your journey of Joy this year.

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    1. Hi Shelly! Thanks so much and I'm looking forward to getting to know you here at my little slice of bloggerville. :) Welcome!

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  19. Found you through Elaine at Souled out... my word for 2013 is JOY as well. I don't feel so bad that my word was a bit hard for me to "get".
    I love how God confirms things in our lives. I am going to subscribe to your blog posts so I don't miss a post of how God shows you JOY in 2013!~

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