January is a time every year that I start thinking about how I want this year to be different from previous years. Sometimes I make New Year resolutions. Some years I formulate specific goals. Every year I come up with an immediate to-do list. At a minimum I need to plan how I’m going to get caught up on the bookkeeping for the previous year so I can deliver our records to our accountant to figure our taxes.
I did my January to-do list last week, but I hadn’t thought much about any goals or resolutions for 2014. Then I happened to catch about a minute of an interview with a consultant on TV as I was switching channels. His advice was to pick a single word that would be my focus for the year. He recommended thinking about my needs and wants, praying about it, and then waiting for the word to come to me. It might take a few days or even weeks, but the consultant assured all viewers that just the right word would come for each of us. I thought about it for a few minutes, wondering what word could be my word for the year, but nothing came to me immediately. The next morning the word was in my mind. The word was JOY. That surprised me a little, but then I thought, I’ve been pretty serious in many of my blog posts and much of my ponderings over the past year. Maybe I need to focus more on some of the joyful things in life. Hmmm.
Later that day I mentioned it to Mim. She said, “We have a book about finding your special word for the year. I can’t remember the name of it, but the author is Debbie Macomber. I’ve already chosen my word for this year. It’s ENOUGH.”
“Enough?” I repeated. “That’s kind of an unusual word to choose. What made you choose that?”
“Oh, there’s a lot to that word. I need to think about what is enough – enough money, enough food, enough work, enough to give to others, enough to keep for myself, enough books to read – I need to know when MORE isn’t better, to recognize when ENOUGH is ENOUGH.”
Then Mim added, “JOY is a good word for you for this year. Did you notice that the quotation on the January page of the wall calendar in your office is about JOY?”
No, I hadn’t noticed. I went to check it out. It was a quotation from Buddha.
Joy comes not through possession or ownership
but through a wise and loving heart.
I think I’m going to learn a lot about JOY this year. By really pondering the word, the concept, of JOY for a whole year, I can’t even imagine some of the new insights I might gain.
Then I said to Mim, “I’m getting kind of excited about becoming more aware of JOY in life. It’s going to be fun to be on the lookout for appearances of JOY throughout the year.”
She smiled. During this conversation Abbey had come over to join us. She said, “I’ve been thinking about a word for myself for this year, too.”
“Really, Abbey. What’s your word?” I asked.
“PLAY,” she said. “Even though I’m well into my 80s in human years, I still like to play. I really liked that stuffed pig with a squeaker I got for Christmas. We all need to remember to play, even if we don’t jump quite as high and run quite as fast. By having PLAY as my word, I’m going to remember to focus on finding at least a little time to PLAY every day.”
Mim and I agreed that PLAY was a good word for Abbey for this year.
ENOUGH, JOY, and PLAY. Those are the words for the three of us this year. I’ll keep you posted as the year progresses with what it means to have these words as our focus.
I couldn’t put my fingers on the Debbie Macomber book, so I went to Amazon.com to find it. The title of the book is One Perfect Word: One Word Can Make All the Difference. As I explored the book online I decided to download a Kindle edition so that I could re-read the book as I’m beginning my own year with the perfect word of JOY.
From the back cover of the book –
Debbie Macomber reveals in inspiring, moving stories that the simplicity of one perfect word can become profound. When Debbie took the time to intentionally focus on a single word – such as prayer, trust, or surrender – for a whole year, this act changed not only herself, but those around her.
“The surprising thing is that when we decide to focus on one word for the year,” Debbie writes, “God takes part in the choosing. That’s why the word is perfect for us. We may not see it at the time, but as we look back we see that it all worked together – our word, our life, our journey.”
ENOUGH, JOY, and PLAY. Let the year begin!