Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Word of the Year: Rejoice

Last year I decided to have a word of the year. Really, it was just a word that was on my heart that I felt the Lord asking me to focus on, and so it became my word of the year. This year I wanted to choose a word as well. I realized that choosing a word helps me to focus on that area. So last year, when my word was believe, I focused on believing the Lord in the big and small things, and I was reminded quickly when I wasn't believing.



This year, I didn't feel any particular word being pressed on my heart, but the word rejoice came to mind, and I knew that would be a good area to focus on. Isn't it so easy to ... well, so easy to not rejoice. Maybe it's because we do the opposite and we complain. But sometimes it's just because we go about life and we miss the little good things, or we forget to recognize when God answers a prayer, or we are so focused on the future that we forget the good happening now.


As I was thinking about the word rejoice, of course the first verse that came to mind was Philippians 4:4. Rejoice always. I certainly don't do that. I love how, if you keep reading in Philippians 4, it says, "do not be anxious about anything." This spoke to me because anxiety is usually my first warning sign that I'm not focusing on the Lord... and therefore, not rejoicing. The interesting thing is that this verse commands us to make our requests known to God. Rather than being anxious, we should make our requests known to God, and then peace will guard our hearts and minds, and we can freely rejoice. 



But, of course, we also have to know why we are rejoicing. As believers, we rejoice because Christ died for us and as a result has provided reconciliation with God. There are a lot of reasons in our world to not rejoice... a lot of hard things, bad things, mundane things, sad things. But when I keep my mind on Christ and not on this world, I can rejoice despite what's going on in the world and around me.

So, this year I want to focus on rejoicing. Right now, we are living with family and don't have our own house. We've had a lot of sickness this fall and winter. I really want to be able to go to Papua New Guinea and visit and help some of my friends there, but the Lord hasn't opened the doors financially for me to do so. I am a mother to four children five and under, and it's exhausting, not always rewarding, and I often fail at it. I want to live in the circumstances the Lord has put me in, believing he can accomplish big and beautiful and incredible things, but rejoicing when things aren't as I wish. Rejoicing always. 

If you've never heard the song Rejoice by Dustin Kensrue (or if you have), you should listen to it below. I love this song and find it incredibly encouraging. Here is the third verse: 
All our sickness, all our sorrows
Jesus carried up the hill.
He has walked this path before us,
He is walking with us still;
Turning tragedy to triumph,
Turning agony to praise,
There is blessing in the battle
So take heart and stand amazed.



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