Over the past few years it’s become popular to select one word to focus on for a calendar year. In theory it’s supposed to reduce the stress (and the inevitable frustration and disappointment) of making dozens of resolutions, so — as a seasoned resolution-breaker — I’ve been a happy participant in this movement.
Some years it’s worked, while others not so much. Some years that one word has ended up meaning more than I could have imagined, while other years have ended with me looking back in my journal or blog archives to remind myself what word I picked in the first place. And in the fall of 2016, after a year that looked and felt surprisingly different than I’d expected, I ended up assigning my year a completely different word than I had chosen 10 months earlier.
So when it came time to look forward to 2017, I was a little perplexed. What approach should I take? Should I stick to the traditional goals and resolutions? The ones I like to list out on a piece of paper, with due dates and expected outcomes and strategies and steps? Or should I give the one word thing another go, squinting into the future and straining for God’s whisper of a few letters?
Well, I have goals for this year. I have professional goals (and plans), and I have a weight loss goal (and due date…HELLO, class reunion!). I’m determined to create and maintain better habits in my home, running my dishwasher every night and changing laundry frequently enough that the loads don’t mildew and require a second cycle of washing. I even have financial goals, as we are beginning to save for some dream travel and (less fun) retirement.
But as for that one over-arching, thematic THING that’s guiding me into 2017? It’s not a resolution or a word. Well, fine, it IS a word, but it’s not for me. Okay, it IS for me, but it’s also for my family. Just let me explain.
Rather than a list of plans and resolutions for my family and myself, this year I am focusing on one singular thing: PEACE. This year I am praying for peace and pursuing peace and believing that we can find and hold onto peace. Peace between sisters, peace between spouses, peace between parents and children, and peace in our family as a whole. If we somehow manage to accomplish that (only with the grace of God because we most certainly cannot do this thing on our own), then we will be so much better equipped to extend that peace outward — to our extended family, our friends, our classmates and co-workers, and our community.
Our world has become so contentious, so combative over the past months — and my home reflects that attitude. And I don’t like it one bit. I’m tired of the constant fighting, the bickering, and the disrespect. I’m tired of every one of us being quick to take offense, quick to go on the offensive, quick to protest and blame and point fingers and throw fits. I’m tired of feeling attacked — and tired of going on the attack. I’m weary of all of it, and my heart feels heavy because of it. I know this is not God’s plan for us, not God’s best for us as individuals or as a team.
So this year is about peace for me. I may not run a 5K but I’m chasing peace with everything I’ve got.
Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
Romans 12:18 (NLT)
If you had to pick one fruit of the Spirit to pursue for your family this year, what would it be?