In early January, I enjoy reflecting on the past year, meditating, and praying about who Jesus wants me to be. Last year, my one-word was HIM. I wanted Humility, to Invest in other’s lives, and More sacrificial love. Although I saw much sorrow and grief this past year, it allowed many of my relationships with others to flourish. Amidst the sorrow and grief, in humility, investment, and love, I found a beautiful community of kindred sisters waiting to uplift and encourage one another. For that I am blessed.
For this year, the Lord showed me my one-word this past November. Now bear with me, you’re going to laugh.
I can often be that half cup empty kind of gal. If you’re from the Midwest, I’m sure many of your hearts were soaring when the Chicago Cubs beat the Dodgers and made it to the World Series. As soon as the Cubbies started playing the Indians for the title, in my household, we all had honest-to-goodness anxiety!
There were three games left in the World Series, and with only one more game for the Indians to take the title home, the Cubs’ odds of winning were not in their favor. Now, usually, this is where I can get pessimistic; however, on the day that the Indians won their third game, I decided that I was going to look at the cup half filled. That’s right, the Cubbies had waited over 100 years to win the title and this was going to be our year. So game by game, I kept looking at the positive. With my man Rizzo on first, Baez on second, and Bryant on third, we were going to win!
And win we did!
After the games, I remember recognizing that I was sincerely optimistic. This was the beginning of me taking notice of a different mindset that could be achieved by simply thinking positively. I felt more joy and happiness.
My One-Word: Optimism
You know how when you start praying about something and the Lord sort of opens all sorts of doors and events in your life to confirm your hearts desires? Well, after the World Series games I started reading Heidi by Johanna Spyri.
Heidi is the story of a little Swiss girl who lost both parents and was taken by her aunt to live with her crazed grandfather at the top of a mountain in the Alps. Surprisingly, the little girl comes to adore the old man and quickly finds immense joy living with him in the mountains. Heidi captures the heart of everyone she meets, always choosing to look at things around her in a positive light.
Here’s a section in text that I saved for reflection in my commonplace journal.
“But suppose one has brought his sadness with him from Frankfurt? Can you tell me what will help him then, Heidi?”
“God will help him, if he tells Him everything and asks him to let him be happy.” said Heidi with simple conviction.
“Yes, that is true, Heidi, and it is a good thought. But suppose that it was God himself who sent the sadness – what then shall one say to Him?”
Heidi thought for a moment. She was quite sure that the good God would help anyone who asked Him to. Then presently she found the answer in the memory of her own past experience.
“Then one must wait,” she said seriously, “and say to himself, ‘The good God knows how to make happy things come from sad things; and one must not turn away from Him.’ If he just waits, and does not forget Him, he will see that God had something good in His mind all the time. When one is unhappy he thinks that he will always be so, but that is because one can never know what God is going to bring about.”
Heidi, pg. 215
This story captured my heart and had me meditating on Heidi’s sweet character night after night; I want that same vivacious spirit and optimism as Heidi!
I’m not a complete pessimist but I do struggle with battles in my mind. In order to battle negative thinking, I want to commit to memorizing 2 scriptures a month that can help me refocus on truth. I will start here.
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
I’ve also realized that in order to be more of an optimist, I’ll need to be content in each situation I find myself in and seek, truly seek, the good and beautiful in the scenario and people surrounding it. Just like Heidi, I want to immerse myself in helping and loving others.
I’m excited for 2017 and pray that in seeking optimism, I will find more joy, peace, and happiness this year.
How about you? What is your one-word for the year? Please share in the comments below.