Tonight I watched a two year-old in my church’s nursery during the 5 PM service. Besides dropping off cereal for the food pantry (now that I have TMJ I can’t really eat it), this is my first act of service at my new church. Well, tomorrow I am handing out bulletins for the 4 PM New Year’s Day service as well.
A year ago today—last New Year’s Eve—I never imagined I would be ending 2011 with a church to call my own or that as the last few hours of the year slipped by I would be caring for a little one in the nursery. I had no idea that on New Year’s Day I would once again serve as a greeter/bulletin hander outer at any church, least of all one that I can call MY church home.
I tend to reflect on all the bad things that happened in 2011—that horrible bit with my student loans, infections of all sorts ( particularly my bad tooth infection), the depression and anxiety, my friend’s continuing bout with health problems, and all the drama that comes from having relationships with human beings. And though I’m not one to make resolutions, I resolve to do better, try harder, and make something of myself next year.
In 2011, I “rediscovered”God, found my identity in Him and through Him, and learned to live with His purposes in mind. I participated in “One Word 2011” and chose the word “live” so that I might have life. It took until September to really and truly achieve “living.” And it’s something I have to choose everyday—to play an active part in the world around me.
I am starting to realize how much of living involves a choice. Therefore, my “word” for 2012 is choose so I can challenge myself to choose life, choose joy, and to choose what is better.
Choose life…it comes from Moses’ final speech to the Israelites (Deuteronomy 30:20). Moses knew that the people could easily choose the path that brings eternal death and destruction. After leading these “stiff-necked” people in the desert for 40 years, he had seen a generation comes to a sinful physical death. Moses end drew near and he would not enter the Promised Land. So he pleads with the Israelites to choose life long after he has experienced physical death, so that they may live, both spiritually and eternally. Choosing life is akin to choosing God’s plan for my life.
Choose joy…being a generally depressed extrovert (a weird combination, I know), I was fascinated to learn of Sara Frankl’s life and her death. Suffering from a genetic disease, Sara was known around the interwebs for her slogan “choose joy,” which I’ve decided to adopt into my life. Succumbing to complications from her illness, Sara’s last moments were filled with eyes looking heavenward, and yet her life, which was full of physical pain and unrealized dreams, was also saturated with joy. Even when it wasn’t the easy thing to do, even when her body ached, and she couldn’t leave her condo because of her weakened immune system, Sara chose joy. Joy, for Sara, wasn’t a plastic smile, but rather a deep understanding that God would use her life in miraculous ways, that He would do immeasurably more than she could ever know. And He has. I didn’t know Sara, but I love her story. Sara died in September, so I am going to take up the “choose joy” banner to the best of my ability.
Choose what is better…remember Mary and Martha, those sisters from Bethany? When Martha is preparing the meal for Jesus and his hungry friends, Mary sits at Jesus’ feet and listens to His teaching…like she is a man! The nerve of that girl! Martha is not pleased and tells Jesus that He should make Mary help her peel potatoes. Jesus tells Martha to take a break and that Mary has “chosen what is better.” Truth be told, I’m definitely more of a Martha than a Mary. Things need to get done and I need to do them. Like Martha, I also like to tell God how He should do things and how He should make people act. Also like Martha, I want to learn to choose what is better. It is, after all, a choice.
So much of life is wrapped up in what we choose to do and whether we choose to live for God or not. I want to choose what is better so that I may live with joy. How ‘bout you? What do you choose to do in 2012? (Please let me know in the comments section. Or if you picked a word for 2012, share that, too.)
Amy’s note: One Word 365 founder, Alece Ronzio, also picked “choose” as her word for 2012. Alece was good friends with Sara Frankl and even has a “choose joy” tattoo to remember Sara’s life. No doubt this is one of the reasons Alece picked the word. Read her full post here: “One Word-Choose.“