For the fourth year I am abandoning New Year’s resolutions and choosing one word to focus on.
One word that will be the thing I look for, the thing I learn from and a word God will hopefully use to shape my character.
As I look forward to 2014, I have great hope and the blank canvas of a new year excites me. This year more than before, there is caution running through my spirit giving me a feeling things could potentially get hard. So as I’ve prayed and considered, what comes to, mind is the word FUN.
Let me tell you straight up… there are a lot of definitions of fun I’m not particularly leaning towards. It’s a frivolous word. The definitions I do like are: enjoyment, playfulness and the source of enjoyment.
It’s not a deep spiritual word by any means, but it can be the result of deep spiritual meaning.
Several weeks ago, I was visiting with my mom. We were sitting at the table along with my dad, grandma and her caregiver who’s name by no coincidence is Grace. We were discussing their struggles and some difficult things about what the future holds for my parents. Suddenly, mom starts singing in her broken, never good singing voice:
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Her voice is so bad, it’s funny and she cracked herself up as she sang. Then she said this… “It may be a peculiar sound to you, but it is a joyful noise to the Lord, so I will keep singing.”
Another moment when I realized just how amazing my mom is. Literally incapable of doing anything for herself, trapped a body atrophying from M.S., unable to do things her heart so desires, she is able to laugh at her vocals and sing, It. Is. Well.
This might be what it looks like to laugh at the days to come.
During a conversation with my favorite usher Bill on Sunday on the “Joy of the Lord,” Bill reminded me joy has nothing to do with your circumstances and everything to do with the person of Jesus. It’s true. Many a great theologians will remind us Jesus wants us to enjoy Him and the Psalmist tells us in his presence there is fullness of joy.
There is something lost in the joy of the Lord and that’s the actual manifestation of joy in us. That winsome quality that leads us to enjoy life, enjoy others and help others find joy as well. I happen to think some of that joy should look like fun. Fun brings people together and keeps them coming back. It lightens the load so what is serious can be carried with a more appropriate weight, it keeps us from taking ourselves more seriously than we ought.
Reading through the gospels and the stories of the disciples walking with Jesus, healing, casting out demons, turning water into wine… how would they have described those times? Even post resurrection… running from persecution, singing so loud in prison that the chains fall off and people are set free. I wonder, if we interviewed John on the island of Patmos at the end of his life and asked, “How would you describe those days with the disciples?” I imagine among difficult, scary, dangerous, invigorating and others… “fun” might have been a word he would use.
Ministry, serving God, parenting, being a wife, being a friend certainly has it’s challenges. But there is nothing better than seeing someone set free. Seeing someone find freedom because of grace. Knowing you are going against the tide of culture and being a part of transformation. Experiencing the joy of a child whose confidence has been built because of a lesson learned or a mountain climbed. Enjoying kids while they are young and playful.
These things my friends, are fun.
So in 2014, I will look for the enjoyment that is to be enjoyed. I will endeavor to be a fun mom in the ways I know how to be fun. I will enjoy my husband and I will be the source of enjoyment for my family. I will venture to cease complaining until I am one who is marked by praise instead of criticism. I will take risks like painting the kitchen cabinets lime green because my kids chose the color.
I will be fully present so I can point to the joy. I will try to encourage and be hopeful while not minimizing what is hurting.
Who knows, maybe the word fun won’t seem so frivolous after all.
Have you chosen a word for the year? Do you have New Year’s resolutions?
Share them with me and we will pray for one another.