Happy New Year!
A new year, a new focus!
My new word for 2018 is cultivate. I chose that word because it describes what I need to do in my life.
When a farmer cultivates, he prepares the land to grow crops, breaking up soil to grow his plants. His purpose in cultivating is to get rid of the weeds and to loosen the soil in order to have the optimal retention and penetration of water, nutrients and air.
I want similar things to happen in my life in 2018. I want to get the weeds of busyness and clutter out of my life. And I want to grow joy, develop greater passion for life, have a heart filled with more and more gratitude, and live a life of presence, mindful of what the Lord wants for me.
My first four posts of 2018 will focus on how I will cultivate these in my life. So let’s get right to cultivating joy.
I have been realizing more and more that I allow too many things to steal my joy. And, you know, that is exactly what Satan desires. He wants us to feel discouraged and despairing. And with all that is going on in this world, one can easily have their joy stolen. But even in daily life it can only take a word, a frustration, or a disappointment to steal joy, especially in me, when I allow myself to repeatedly mull over these things in my mind.
I want this year to be different I want to celebrate and find joy in the ordinary. I began to share about this when I read the book Choosing Real by Bekah Jane Pogue. She talks about celebrating how Jesus shows Himself real in life. And also how we can draw near to Him in all things. He is the one Who gives us joy.
One of the things I am choosing to do this year is to find verses in the Bible that speak of joy, gladness, and rejoicing and then highlight them in my Bible. I am doing one verse each day. I want to see what God’s Word says it takes to bring me joy. There are many verses in Psalms that speak of joy, let alone the entire Bible. A few that have given me insight are these:
Psalm 16:11 “You make known to me the path of life, you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”
Psalm 28:7 “The LORD is my strength and my shield, my heart trusts in him, and he helps me, my heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.”
Psalm 90:14 “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.”
Psalm 94:19 “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”
Psalm 119:111 “Your statutes are my heritage forever, they are the joy of my heart.”
These five verses alone give me much insight into finding joy. They tell me that joy is found:
- in the Lord’s presence
- in knowing who the Lord is as my strength, my shield, and my help
- in the Lord’s unfailing love
- in the Lord’s consolation
- in His Word/Statutes that are eternal.
Isn’t it funny (or actually sad), how we so often look for joy in this world; in things, in other people, in having our desires met?
I am not saying that the Lord doesn’t give us reasons for joy in all He has given us in creation, blessings, and relationships with others. I know for a fact that He does allow us to know joy in those things. But I also know that when my focus is in solely seeking joy in these areas I can become disillusioned.
So, in 2018, I want to begin to seek to cultivate joy in my heart:
- by knowing His presence more, slowing down and being with Him more intentionally
- by learning to know more of Who He is personally to me in my daily life. The Lord is a very personal God. He leads us to know Him in amazing ways as we seek Him diligently. He has shown me this in the past. I must continue seeking.
- by really looking for His love in my life and recognizing it, being cognizant of how it touches me in my moment-by-moment life.
- by taking my pain, anxiety, hurt, fear, grief, worry, and sadness to Him so that He can comfort and console me. And then I, like the Psalmist, can also find joy in His consolation.
I want to celebrate joy and find joy in the ordinary because of my constant unwavering knowledge of the Lord. So, I must continually grow and rest in my knowledge of Him.
This definitely will take focus and time, but I am very much looking forward to knowing joy in my heart more and more as I go through 2018.
I would love to hear from you. Do you have word chosen for 2018? What is it and why did you choose that particular word?
Do you have any favorite Bible verses about joy that you can share with me?
Next week, I will be sharing about how I want to cultivate passion for life in 2018.
May your new year be filled with lessons and blessings from the Lord.