Happy New Year, everyone! It is my hope that 2015 brings bright and beautiful moments and memories to you and your loved ones. Seek first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you.
Speaking of 2015, I again decided to join that group of humans who endeavor to choose One Word as a focus for the new year. For me, it is always a spiritual focus, and because I am human, there is much room for improvement, unending opportunity for learning and for growth. How could I possibly choose just one word to represent my heart's desire when there is so much my heart desires?
I struggled greatly over the last several weeks to narrow down all the words vying for the title. The list ebbed and flowed with meaningful words, significant words, worthy words, but none of them fully satisfied. I began to grow anxious, wondering if I would ever find what I was seeking. As January 1 neared, I even began to feel frantic. This was not supposed to be so hard. Choosing a word for 2014 was incredibly easy, so why was choosing a word for 2015 filled with angst?
I pondered. I prayed. Others prayed for me. In frustration, I called out to the Lord to show me, to knock me over the head, to impress upon my heart what He desired for my life in the coming year, because I had not been able to find the word that expressed what I was yearning for. And...well...He did.
While I was waiting in an exam room at a doctor's office on Tuesday, I decided to stand and move around rather than just sit there. As I paced back and forth, a song popped into my head (actually, I believe it was placed there...on purpose...by the Holy Spirit), and I just started quietly singing it, over and over and over. The more I sang, the more excited I became.
"A joyful heart
is good medicine,
a joyful heart;
A joyful heart
is good medicine,
a joyful heart is good.
But a broken spirit
dries up the bones;
A broken spirit
dries up the bones..."
Thanks to Steve Green's scripture memory song for children that my now 27 year-old daughter had listened to many times as a youngster, I was able to latch onto the lyrics again without missing a beat. The more I sang, the more I realized this song, this scripture -- these words -- were meant for me. "Broken spirit" accurately described my journey for the last several years, but especially in 2014. I had resided in a rather dark and dismal place for too long, and I realized in that exam room that what my heart was yearning for in the new year was a new wardrobe. I longed to cast off the clothes of sadness and put on the clothes of a joyful heart. I had worn those clothes before and was way overdue in wearing them again.
I gazed out the window for a moment and was stunned by what I saw: a brilliant blue sky adorned with just one small cloud in the undeniable shape of a heart. I was transfixed. I was delighted. I knew that cloud was a gift from God to me, creative confirmation that His desire and my focus should be the restoration of joy in my heart and in my life.
Therefore, my One Word for 2015 is, without a doubt, "joyful." As the Lord tells us in Proverbs 17:22 ~ "A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones."
Farewell, broken spirit. Welcome, joyful heart. Good medicine, indeed!