Six days in, and the New Year has settled in, the newness gone, and reality come to stay.

Are you idealistic… like me?  I have to work at shaking it off, to embrace my idealism with a balance of reality.

And so I almost hesitated to share my word for this year.  In recent years I’ve picked a word… a word to think on, to live by, to motivate me, and learn from.

Even before 2017 rolled around, I knew that my word for 2017 was Joy.  I was quite excited about it, such a strong, positive, hopeful word.  I felt God had planted it right in my heart, to live out this coming year in a fresh way.

To be honest, the year didn’t start off quite like I had hoped.  I had hoped for a peaceful, joyful, prayerful beginning, but that just didn’t happen…. and as I processed how I felt about that, I realized I would need to make some decisions.  
Joy doesn’t just happen, it is often something we choose.  
And I say that carefully, because I work with grieving people.  I myself have grieved this past year.  The Bible verse talks of joy in the morning, but first there is the travail of the night.
I love the verse quoted on this little piece of art:  “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (Romans 12:12).  A great recipe for joy.
So how does one achieve a joyful heart?  How does one experience freedom from fear?  
Living gratefully is a key to joy, I think!  When I approach life with a thankful heart instead of a grumbling heart, my whole outlook changes.  
Choosing to trust is also key to joy.  “Radical trust” is an interesting way to look at it.  Radical trust is a choice to give our circumstances, our emotions, our heartaches, our pain, – and trust God to carry us through.  This trusting is a wondrous letting go… because I can’t control it anyway.
And I’m learning – and it is a constant learning – that surrender, and letting go into the loving arms of  God whom I trust, believing God wants the very best for me; this is the pathway to freedom and joy.
So there you have it… my word for 2017!
Perhaps you have a word too?  I’d love to hear from you.
<3 Grace 

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