Do you see what I see?

blogDSCN0265A new day.  A new year.  A new opportunity.  Isn’t that what New Year’s Day signifies?

For some, it’s the opportunity to make resolutions perhaps to commence a healthy diet, lose weight,  stop whatever bad habit they’ve acquired, or change some aspect of their lives.

For some, it’s a new beginning, time to put a year of difficulty or sadness or trial behind them.

For some, it’s just another day….whatever.

On January 1, here at Mama’s Empty Nest, we usually take down the festive Christmas trimmings that adorn our home inside and out.

Papa handles the outdoor lights and carefully stores them away for next year’s use.  I pack away the indoor garlands, lights, and other Christmas festoons.  Together we will tear down the tree and place the ornaments safely in their packages where they rest undisturbed until the day after Thanksgiving.

There’s something about clearing out the reminders of holiday festivities though that brings out a cleaning streak in me.  I get the urge to purge when January rolls around on the calendar.

Once the boxes of Christmas are stashed away, I want to clean the house top to bottom, closet by closet, room by room, and de-clutter.  I’ve been this way for as long as I’ve been married.   In the last few years though, I feel the intense desire to undertake all of this, but don’t always possess the energy to actually accomplish it all.  But I try.

This yearning to clean up and improve my physical surroundings reminded me of this quote from my trusty old notebook:

“We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched.  Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives… not looking for flaws, but for potential.” ~Ellen Goodman

Isn’t that the truth?  As I walk through my house after Christmas is over, room by room, I notice the things that need attended to, items to repair, unnecessary fluff to discard or pass on to someone who could truly use it.

But how often do I walk through the rooms of my life as that writer suggested?  Do I examine my heart, my actions, my words, and my motivation as closely as I scrutinize my house?

I liked Goodman’s last premise, “not looking for flaws, but for potential.”   I find it as easy to determine the flaws I harbor in my being as it is to identify imperfections in my home that require attention.   But this year I want to look earnestly for potential in my days… yes, I will say it, the opportunities.

Last year, I opened my book I called Opportunity on New Year’s Day.  Today on this first day in 2012, I’m still leafing my book open to prospects, but I’m adding another aspect.  I’m searching for the potential for joy each day of this new year.  No, strike that – I’m choosing joy each day this year.

Yes, that’s it!  I am choosing JOY.  And I’m taking a clue from Dr. Seuss when he wrote, “You have brains in your head and feet in your shoes.  You can steer yourself any direction you choose.  You’re on your own and you know what you know.  And you are the one who’ll decide where to go.”

So it’s decided.  I’m opting for  joy.  I will examine each circumstance as it comes my way (and there will be many I’m sure!) and I will ask the Lord to show me JOY in the midst.

For years, I’ve claimed this scripture from the Holy Bible as my life verse:   “Be joyful always, pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” ~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Did you catch that?   Be.  Joyful.  Always.  Not just some of the time, not just when situations make me happy or conditions are right or surroundings are pleasant, but always. No matter the circumstances.

I know you might be shaking your head thinking, “Oh, wow, she’s crazy.  This is not going to be easy.”  You’re right, I know it.  But I’m still going to try and with God’s help and direction, with prayer and searching His Word, I’m setting sail on a journey of joy.  Who’s coming with me?

If you’re coming along, go back up and look at my picture at the top of the page.  Do you see the word “joy” like I do?  It’s written with sparklers on the right hand side.  It proves to me that all I have to do is look for joy and I’ll find it!

Copyright ©2012


8 responses

  1. I love this! What a treasure to spend each day searching for joy, finding it in hidden and oft-overlooked places. I long to fully embrace I Thess 5:16-18 with you; what a wonderful life verse! Thank you for sharing this little gem with me. Blessings, friend.


    • So happy you stopped by, Jana! I’m planning on a post soon (I hope) about why I chose that passage to be my life verses. In the meantime, finding joy in “hidden and oft-overlooked places” is exactly what I’m talking about. Happy New Year!


  2. Here’s to JOY in 2012! At church service on the weekend the priest said by saying Happy New Year you are telling sending a blessing of joy and goodwill.


  3. Yes, I see it. I will remember Ecclesiastes 3:1-13, verses many times reserved for weddings and funerals, as if seasons only happen occasionally. But they should be understood for every day. I will seek more everyday…identify the season I’m in and seek understanding. I will appreciate the limited life we live and choose joy.
    How eloquently and cleanly you write. Thank you for this message.


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