It wasn’t until late 2017 that I first heard the idea of choosing a word for the year. The idea intrigued me: choose a single word that all of your yearly goals point back to. To be honest, I don’t remember the word I chose for 2018 – or if I even chose one.
As I reflected on 2018, however, I did choose a word for 2019.
I am not looking to do any and everything that makes me happy. I am simply doing two things: I am carving out the time to do the small things that I love – and am being grateful that I get to do them – and I am remembering that no matter what is going on in my world, I have a Joy that can never be taken from me.
I spent too much of the previous years trying so hard to do what I felt like I was supposed to do. I had to clean my house a certain way. I had to dress a certain way. I had to set goals a certain way. I spent so much time trying to be who I thought I was supposed to be that I never took the time to figure out who I really was, who God designed me to be.
I looked more to people on social media to figure out what I should do than I did looking to God. I decided I should do things because other people did them rather than because I wanted to do them. I have always struggled with feeling pressured to do what others do because I think it’s “the right thing to do.” I also let my circumstances dictate how I felt, leaving me feeling pretty crummy a lot of the time.
Maybe becoming a mom caused something to change, because quite frankly I got quite tired of living that way. But changing the habit of trying to conform to others’ standards so that I feel like I’m “doing it right?”
Yeah, that’s hard.
I’m a people pleaser by nature. I so badly want to have it all together.
But I don’t. And I never will. And I had to accept that just because something works for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for me – and it doesn’t mean it has to work for me. I also had to accept that if I let the circumstances of my life dictate my life, I was going to be a miserable person.
I decided to stop robbing myself of little things that I love because I felt like I had to be this super-structured person who lived by a strict schedule and always had everything done.
I’ve started doing things that I love again simply because I want to. Small things like reading four books at once, writing fiction, spending time with friends and family, and watching sunsets. These little things may seem insignificant, but they are little moments, little things, that I am so grateful for.
We can’t throw our responsibilities to the wind, but we can learn to be more flexible. We can leave dishes in the sink overnight because it’s been a hard day and we’d like to take a bath and relax. We can fold the laundry later so that we can play with our kids. We can do the things – big or small – that we’ve always wanted to do but never carved out time to do it.
Even more than these things – and these things are great – I’m remembering Who my true joy comes from. Please hear me here: My goal in life is not to be happy, it is to please God.
And to please God, we have to trust in Him always. We can’t give in to worry and anxiety. We have to remember that no matter the circumstance, not matter the battles, our Savior is with us always. Paul instructs us several times in the New Testament to rejoice in the Lord. He is the source of unwavering joy.
This is one of the hardest seasons of my life, but my God has so lovingly reminded me that His love is covering me. He is my true joy.
So this year I am carving out time for things that I enjoy, and I am resting it the unwavering promises of my Savior. I am finding joy in 2019.
Photo credit:unsplash-logoTom Sodoge