One word: Pointing to joy

As I sat down to ponder what my one word would be, I thought — this is the year I do things differently.

I have long had this idea in my mind of how life should be. How my family and friends should interact, what my health should be like, how I should manage to juggle working full time in an office and our active home life.

Each year I would imagine that dream life — and let’s be clear we are talking about a fantasy life, not a real life — and think of the things I would be doing in that life that I wasn’t doing now. All those things would up on the resolutions list.

Instead of getting me closer to this dream life, resolutions made me feel farther from it. It seemed like I needed to change everything about my life — a life I loved.

The process was the problem.

To impart real change — lasting change — the process had to change. The way I looked at the gift of a new year had to change.

I began by thinking about the life Husband and I wanted for our family. What did that look like? How did we interact with one another? Who else was in the picture? After all, how we spend our days, and who we spend them with define our lives. What kind of people did we want to be? What kind of people did we want to surround ourselves with?

That felt like a good place to start.

So I began making a list of the character qualities that were important to us — love, kindness, compassion, joy, peace, gentleness, faithfulness, patience, self-control.

Then it hit me — But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 (HCSB)

 As Christians, shouldn’t this always be our starting point?

We are called to nurture the fruit of the spirit. They are in us already, it is up to us to develop them. Since we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit. Galatians 5:25 (HCSB)

My one word must come from these fruit. It was so clear. So I prayed to see which of these I was supposed to focus on this year.

And He was silent.

So I prayed again.


So I decided that meant I was supposed to choose. (I forgot about patience, obviously.)

So I chose Joy. It was so clear. We all need more joy. The radio station I listen to is always talking about choosing joy. They even have a joy pledge that is all about choosing joy in the midst of life’s circumstances.

I love joy. Choosing joy would help me be the person He wanted me to be, the wife, mother, daughter, friend, colleague, leader I knew I could be.

My one word had to be joy.

And then I went to church and joy went out the window.

What was your process like this year? What did you focus on as you developed your resolutions or one word promises?


  1. As I pondered the new year and wondered what my focus should be, I kept coming back to the word courage. I kept trying to leave it, thinking surely there is a more profound word out there to focus on! However, over the next several days the word kept popping up…and voice was getting louder!! Ok, ok God….I get it!!! So COURAGE it is.

    • Courage is such a great word for you! You are making some huge and courageous changes in your life and are rocking this new healthy journey. I can’t wait to see what other courageous things you accomplish this year!

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