I confess that the title of this post is a bit misleading. I don’t have a word for 2015. Though so many have adopted the practice of picking a word to be the theme of their year, I can’t pick just ONE word. I like words, and lots of them. However, I do like the idea of having an overarching focus for the year, so after some thought I came up with something that will hopefully serve to shape my attitude and my heart over the next year. Instead of a word I turned to God’s Word and picked a passage of Scripture to claim as mine for the year.
Here it is:
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
I’ve known this passage for a long time, but I’ve never spent a lot of time dwelling on it. The truth is, those are hard words. How are we supposed to do these things? It seems impossible to rejoice ALWAYS, to be prayerful ALWAYS, to be thankful ALWAYS. And it is. In my own strength, there is no way I can do those things. Though I hate to admit it, I am a generally pessimistic person. My first inclination when something challenging happens in my life is not to think, “Hooray! I’m doing back flips of joy that this difficult thing has happened! I’m going to embrace it and pray about it and be filled with gratitude for this trial. Praise the Lord!” Instead, usually my first inclination is to cry about it or stress about it or complain about it. Only later do I think that perhaps my time would be better spent giving the whole thing over to Jesus. My plan is to pray these verses every day and work on obeying the commands to rejoice, pray, and give thanks. By God’s grace, maybe by the end of the year, my first response to trials won’t be pessimism but joy. If being joyful, praying continuously, and giving thanks in all things is God’s will for me (and this passage says it is), then I know He will help me do those things.
I’m going to be honest here. Last year was not a great year for me. I feel like there were more disappointments than successes, more failures than triumphs, more challenges than victories. And I know that 2015 isn’t guaranteed to be any better because I’m claiming this passage of Scripture. God doesn’t promise His followers that if we follow Him, life will be easy. Truthfully, if we are following Jesus the way we should, we’re going to encounter suffering of some sort. BUT I also know that if my heart can adopt these words and my mind can be saturated with them, my spirit will be at peace even though trials may come.
So bring it, 2015. I’ve got my armor on!