In years past I've set out goals I want to accomplish in the new year, or a list of "resolutions" to achieve. Sometimes I've accomplished some of them, though I don't think I've ever met all of them. I don't think there is anything wrong with setting goals for myself. If you aim at nothing, you generally get there. ;-) However, the past two years, I've gone a different direction.
After reflecting for a bit and looking back over the previous year, and praying about a direction I need to go in the coming year, I've come up with a word to define 2017. Many people do this so it's not something new or anything I've created.
One thing I've felt has been lacking in my life for the past couple of years is joy. I get up in the morning and many days, I generally grumble and gripe my way through the days. I snap at my family. I generally feel joy-less. There are periods of time when I feel joy return for a bit, but then I'm back in the doldrums and grouchiness. I want to be real here and the main reason I feel a lack of joy is that I have some sinful attitudes that have crept into my life.
So, the word JOY has been mulling around in my head for quite a few months now. This morning as I was having my quiet time, these verses popped out to me.
Psalm 51:10-12; 16-17 ~
God, create a clean heart for me
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not banish me from Your presence
or take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore the JOY of Your salvation to me,
and give me a willing spirit.
You do not want sacrifice,
or I would give it;
You are not pleased
with a burnt offering.
The sacrifice pleasing to God
is a broken spirit.
God, you will not despise
a broken and humbled heart.
I'm asking God to change me from the inside out. I'm also doing the work necessary to change the bad habits that have crept into my life, as well as practicing some of the fruit of the Spirit that seem to have fallen off the tree. My desire is to serve God with a humble heart, recognizing and repenting of the many times I stumble and fall. I also have to practice, practice, and then practice joy some more! God isn't going to miraculously make me joyful. I have to work hard to respond differently to my circumstances.
So in 2017 my desire is to have a renewed joyfulness, as I strive to walk in God's ways.