After having lots and lots of extended family time, traveling for a few days, enjoying many meals together and watching 9 cousins delight each other to death, I was tired. Am tired. And then I got sick, so I was forced to lay low near the end of the break. A slow entrance into the new year is, ironically, just what the doctor ordered.
In a sense it was permission to enter into the new year gradually and sort of let it glide on in. I couldn’t even try to take hold of the year and make myself absolutely ready for it on day one, alone and in my own strength. I was totally at the mercy of my amazing husband and family and in-laws who took over everything and served with such sweetness. In a way I was sad and sort of frustrated that I had to sit there and do nothing, I wanted to be the one working and doing those things.
But again, I’m learning to be needy and to be okay in the needy posture. My tendency is to feel guilty about it, even though it’s absurd and I know it. And while I certainly met that feeling over the weekend, this time I really just let it go and soaked it in (as miserable as I was and as much as you can when your throat feels like its on fire).
And as one year turned to the next, and my forced convalescence allowed me some time to think, I thought about what word I would chose as my theme word for the year.
I’ve never chosen a word before, it’s normally just not how I work (mostly because there are too many good options and I get overwhelmed so I don’t chose any), but I was inspired by Lori Harris, who purposefully and intentionally choses a word every year, and I thought I’d give it a go. The word Delight has been milling around in my head and in my heart, so I decided Delight is my word for 2016.
I’m exploring in my heart what all this word entails, and I’m repeatedly propelled to think about how I want to delight in the work God has given me right now, serving and loving my family and my church and my community, and I want the freedom to pursue the things that delight me, without a feeling of guilt.
I want to delight in my husband and in our friendship and our teamwork, in his amazing creativity and faithfulness and just who he is. And I want to delight in each of my children, and to see them for who they are and how beautifully and uniquely God created them and to love each of them more for it.
God created this world with delight. Clearly in Genesis He looks at what He did and He called it good. In other words, He delighted in it, and found deep satisfaction in it. And as people He beautifully created bearing His image, we have the wonderful privilege to delight in our work too. To find deep satisfaction in doing what He created each of us to do, and to delight in it.
Sometimes He calls us to do less than desirable things, like clean up our kids throw-up and wash the toilet. Or minister to someone who is just not thankful for it. Or live next to a neighbor who threatens your friends when their car isn’t parked like she likes it.
Some of the things we have to do, the paths we have to walk, are just not delightful at their core. But as walking image bearers, people created to keep creating, I believe surely I can still delight in the work God has given me.
I think of my garbage guy who faithfully picks up our trash every week, and how on the weeks when I’m late taking the can out and I have to drag it across the street to make it in time for his second round, he stops his truck, climbs out, and pulls it back to me. With a wave and a smile.
The trash guy. Not the most delightful job, right?
But right then he delights in his work and clearly delights in serving people and reaching out a helping hand. Honestly, I have no idea what’s going on in his mind, and I have a feeling he isn’t thinking that he was born to be a trash collector. He probably has many hidden gifts that the world will never see, and that he may never have the opportunity to show. And he still takes pride in what he does and gives it his best shot, seemingly with delight.
I think what I’m getting at is this:
I want to believe that God has done what He said He did–created me, each of my family, you, uniquely and individually, with gifts special to our own person. I want to believe that He has put desires in my heart for a reason, and to trust Him with it, and to pursue who He has made me to be, and to delight in it. I want to walk in the freedom of who I am and see the ways God wants to use me for His glory.
Because ultimately He is the best gift giver, and it brings him utmost delight when we are enjoying His good gifts and using them creatively and diligently, and delighting in them. Just like it brings me joy when my kids delight in the precious gifts I’ve given them and when they use them to their fullest.
I want to do the work God has given me that is right in front of me with delight, using my special gifts to make it something that is enjoyable and not a drudgery, as though I’m sludging through the mud with no end in sight.
I want to delight in what God has already given me, the work He already has for me, and I want to pursue the things that delight me, for His glory, trusting in His watch care over my heart and my deeds.
And I want to take some time to laugh just like these little guys do, with pure delight.
I wonder if any of you chose a word for the year–if so, please share it! I’d love to see how you’re approaching the year 2016.