Thursday, January 2, 2014

JOY: It's not a Pollyanna thing.

My One Word for 2014 is JOY.

One of the first things I think of when I hear the word joy is a chipper childhood song: ‘I’ve got the joy joy joy joy down in my heart! Where? Down in my heart…”

Then I think of conjured-up-gritting-your-teeth smiles that say “I will be happy in the midst of everything”…a kind of forced joy where the insides don’t match the outsides.

I’m not talking about that kind of joy. No, this JOY thing I’m committing to for this year is not a Pollyanna type joy that refuses to acknowledge anything negative.

I’m talking about the ‘joy comes in the morning’ kind of joy that the Psalmist talks about in Psalm 30. It comes in the morning. What’s before the morning? Night. It’s dark out. It’s a struggle to see. Many times we want joy but we don’t want to have to go through the darkness to really find that true joy that comes in doing so. Many times we deny or attempt to rush through that darkness. Or we try to force light before The Light is turned on.

It’s about a Jacob-wrestling-God-through-the-night-for-the-blessing kind of joy.

Ann Voskamp says “...the secret to joy is to keep seeking God where we doubt He is.”

So when I’ve committed to JOY for the year I’m not talking about incessant smiling, I’m not talking about a happy-happy-joy-joy-clapping-the-hands kind of thing.

I’m expecting to do battle. I’m expecting to wrestle with God in a couple of key areas where I still have difficulty seeing Him. I’ve opened the doors for Him to take me to those places.

It’s a process. I’m so far from where I was a few years ago. For that I am truly thankful. But I still have a couple of ace-in-the-hole places that I’ve held on to; that I’ve not released.

God began showing me clearly this past year that I’m in my current situation because He is teaching me total surrender. He’s teaching me to come to a place of true humility…not humiliation, not shame…but humility.

The places where I’m still stuck are partly because of pride. They are also about me wanting control because I don’t fully believe or trust Him to take control in these areas.

I’m seeing that much of it is about surrendering; a letting go of my plan, my agenda and being open to hearing and accepting His.

JOY is what I want in these areas where I still hang on to the illusion of control.

JOY is what I want in those areas where I have given intellectual assent to believing but when push comes to shove I don’t really act as if He is in that place.

My loving heavenly Father has prepared me well to come to this place at this point in time. Over the past year He has shown me just the right Scriptures and books to meditate on. I’ve heard the exact sermons needed to be able to hear His heart for me in all of this.

I don’t know how this year will look. I don’t know how the battle will go. I do know my God. I am so thankful that He is gracious and that it is His kindness that draws me to repentance. (Romans 2:4)

J-O-Y...I can't wait to see what the morning brings!


  1. Such a great word and such an inspiring goal, Hellen. Looking forward to hearing how your journey progresses...

    1. Thanks, Diane. I look forward to hearing about how your One Word impacts your life as well.

  2. I'm so glad to have found your blog post through One Word. I'm on the same path. Blessings as you go...

    1. HI Sarah, Thanks for stopping by. You are part of my 'Tribe' then as they say? Excuse me while I go to read your post. :)

  3. Thanks Hellen for your comment on my blog! I love it that your One Word also Joy is. I am your new follower ( mom to six, Dutch, married and a writer)

    1. HI Jedidja, I look forward to going through this journey together. Nice to meet you!