Words for the New Year

Photo by  design blossoms

There's this trend in the world of social media at the start of the new year for people to choose a word to define their year. I've never done that. I'm more likely to choose goals that I want to strive for rather than a single word. But this year, I find myself focusing more on the general and less on the specific.

Maybe it's because in 2018, we enter a new phase of life. In August, I will have a high school senior. We've been looking at colleges, taking the ACT, and trying to figure out what life after high school will look like for her. It's a bittersweet process. As she told me the other day, we are now in the season of "lasts" -- last first day of school, last Christmas as a full-time resident of our home.

With that in mind, I've been pondering what I want to focus on in the coming year. So much of my life in the past 16 years has been devoted to just being a mom. It's a full-time job no matter what other work you have going on. And while I will still have one at home for a few more years, we are entering the season of life where I get to focus a little bit more on me. And I've been pondering who I want to be as my life season starts to change.

So, this year, I didn't choose a word to represent my year. It's more of a motto. And funnily enough, it came from my favorite TV show "Doctor Who." I know there's not usually a lot of theology to be found on TV, but as I watched this year's Christmas special (a highlight of my Christmas Day), I found these words to be perfect for the changing season of my life.

This year's Doctor Who Christmas special included the Doctor (a time-traveling alien) regenerating into his next incarnation (if you don't watch the show, it's complicated), but before he did so, he gave himself some advice and uttered these words: Laugh hard. Run fast. Be kind. And as I pondered those words, I realized that they are perfect for where I am in this season of life. Let me share with you why these words are my motto for the year.

Laugh hard. Joy and laughter are one of the most important things we can bring to our homes. They diffuse the toughest situations, and they make home a place where people want to be. The Bible tells us "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones" (Proverbs 17:22). So, my goal this year is to have a cheerful heart, to find joy in Jesus, and to laugh hard.

Run fast. I'm not a runner. My children will tell you that if you see me running, you should run, too, because something bad is chasing me. But actually running isn't why these words are in my motto for the year. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 9:24, "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize." The fastest runner wins the race, but when we're talking about the prize being eternal salvation, I don't necessarily have to run fast, just well, following God where He leads. So, these words remind me to run the race of life in such a way that I will receive the eternal prize. This year, I will run fast.

Be kind. I firmly believe that what God requires of us can pretty much be boiled down to these two words. Be kind. This world could use a whole lot more kindness. I no longer remind my kids to "be nice;" I tell them to "be kind." If we were all just a little bit kinder than we needed to be, so much of the strife and drama in our lives would just go away. Paul tells the believers at Ephesus to "be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you" (Ephesians 4:32). So, I am reminding myself this year to be kind in all circumstances.

As my season of life begins to change this year, I want to see changes in myself. I want to laugh hard, run fast, and be kind. Won't you join me?