What if those of us leading the pro abundant life movement made our word for the year: Joy? Though we are already in February, I don’t think it’s too late to adopt a spirit of joy! No matter what you’re carrying—be it struggles in your family or finances, trials as you advocate for the cause of life, or even personal challenges—wouldn’t the weight of your tasks feel lighter if we could enrapture them in unshakeable and unspeakable joy?
According to studies, most of us who set New Year’s Resolutions have already fallen off our wagons, ditching our diets and returning to our bad habits and old routines.
Though I like to consider myself a goal-setter, I gave up on New Year’s resolutions a long time ago. But, recently I’ve noticed a New Year’s trend that seems to have a lot of staying power. Instead of setting a list of targets for the year, you pick just one word—a term that captures the essence of how you want to live. Then, deem it your “Word of the Year.”
There are many resources out there to help you find your perfect word. Dayspring offers this seven question #my2019 word quiz. Elsewhere in the blogosphere, social media icons tout their own pithy mantras, encouraging their tribes to follow suit.
So I ask: Do you have a word? If not, I have a suggestion.
What if those of us leading the pro abundant life movement made our word for the year: Joy?
Though we are already in February, I don’t think it’s too late to adopt a spirit of joy! No matter what you’re carrying—be it struggles in your family or finances, trials as you advocate for the cause of life, or even personal challenges—wouldn’t the weight of your tasks feel lighter if we could enrapture them in unshakeable and unspeakable joy?
I think so. But in case you’re still not convinced, here are three reasons why we, as people committed to the cause of abundant life, should make “joy” our word of the year.
1. We Have a Lot to Celebrate
Though biblical joy is a sense of contentment that supersedes the highs and lows of our circumstances, as a pro abundant life movement we have a lot to celebrate. We’ve seen the overall number of abortions continue to decline, a conservative leaning justice nominated to the country’s highest court, and heard countless personal stories of women and men who, through the work of pregnancy centers nationwide, decided to choose life.
Remembering to rejoice, praising God for these victories, is a necessary expression of thanksgiving. Practicing gratitude in this way does wonders for us both emotionally and spiritually. Watch your personal joy grow by writing a list of things you are thankful for each day. This is one exercise with instant positive results.
2. We Need the Strength
Sure, not every day is filled with wins. But Paul teaches us in Philippians 4 to be content in all circumstances. The only way we can even attempt to pull this off is through an attitude of joy.
Nehemiah 8:10 reminds us that the, “Joy of the Lord is our strength.” I’ll confess, when life feels like a grind, I too often look for strength to come from elsewhere. Internally I whine that my joy will come as soon as my circumstances change.
But joy, true joy, is not circumstantial. As leaders in the pro abundant life movement, we must remember to live with joy even when things don’t look favorable to our cause.
And more so, we must remember that on hard days, it’s only the Lord’s strength that will carry us through.
In the midst of dangerous situations with enemies all around, the psalmist filled his joy tank by spending time with God, praying, singing, and reciting what he knew to be true of his Lord. We can follow David’s example and find our own strength and joy by doing the same.
3. Joy is Contagious
If our message is to encourage others with the life-changing truth of the gospel and, if our hearts are zealous about saving the unborn and promoting abundant life for every age and stage then, shouldn’t we, the communicators of this great hope-filled message, spread it with great joy?
Look at these words by pastor and theologian D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones:
If ever the world needed the witness and testimony of Christian people it is at this present time. The world is unhappy, it is distracted and frightened, and what it needs is to see stars shining out of the heavens in the midst of the darkness, attracting the world by rebuking that darkness, and by giving it light, showing how it too can live that quality of life.
Friends, our joy—regardless of circumstances—offers us a beautiful and effective vehicle by which to spread the love and hope of Jesus. To live life abundantly is to exceed the status quo. We can be lights in the darkness. As believers and followers of Jesus, we can live with purpose, meaning, and great joy because we understand that our lives have eternal significance.
Are you ready to make joy your word of the year? Share with us one reason why you can be joyful this year in the comments.