The Joy of a New Year

I realize that I am a bit of a realist – what some people may consider a pessimist. I have also come to realize that my view on most things in life is one of fear and expectation of the worst. This leads to long, hard days.


Despite the downcast habits – choosing to remain in the mire where it feels familiar and safe in a sad way – I realize this is difficult to bear; not only to bear for myself, but for others to come along side me. Often times, the experience is bristling and hurtful, even when it is unintentional (as it is most often).


The beauty of having a birthday so close to the beginning of a new year is that I get to start over with a fairly clear date. It’s as if the Lord knew I needed 5 more days to contemplate a new beginning.


I usually don’t have resolutions. As a planner, one would think I would love resolutions, but I do not. New Years resolutions seem so big and long  it’s overwhelming. However, I sat down yesterday while I was waiting on lunch and wrote down things I want for this year. It’s mostly a list of practical goals that will require discipline (think, budget/spending habit, reading list, travel ideas – or delayed travel plans because of budgeting, etc).


This morning, while getting ready for the day and while walking from my car to my work, I realized that I lack Joy. Rather, I lack the evidence of Joy.

In that process, I realized that Joy cannot be produced; but it can be realized.

I am not able to produce Joy. I can experience happiness and I can take steps to produce that (TJMaxx, coffee, running, beach days, etc); but Joy is not something I can create.

And this was both sad and freeing.

It makes me sad that I do not show evidence of Joy; that it is not my natural habit to reflect and react in Joy.

It feels freeing to realize I cannot even do this for myself. Once that pressure is taken off, I can realize that I have the ability to reflect and react in Joy because of the Hope I have in Christ.


So – after all of that – I came to a resolution:


I want this to be a year of realizing Joy – reflecting and reacting in Joy – realizing the Hope I have in Christ – reflecting and reacting in the Hope I have in Christ.


That’s it – no rules, not how-tos, no real steps to accomplish.

And I am excited to see this through the year. Beginning this morning. Looking over at this flower and realizing that beauty has crashed into my life in the simplest of ways during a hard day and a hard week. I love flowers.

Taking a moment to study the intricacies of a flower brings happiness.


Remembering that the flowers were left from coworkers celebrating my birthday is humbling.


Being humbled allows me to realize the providence of the Lord – placing me here, keeping me here, providing for me here.
And that leads to realizing Joy in the moment.

So perhaps there is a step in the direction of Joy – humility.


Honestly, so far, I’ve not done so well at this new endeavor. Perhaps that is the blessing of a New Year’s resolution – you have at least a year to work it out!

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