Greatest Desire for 2016

At the beginning of 2015, I tried something new.

I had given up resolutions many years before, and decided to try picking a word for the year instead.

My word was intentional. It felt like a good word.

I wanted to be more intentional about my career, and so in 2015 I pursued different opportunities to get back into writing and the editorial world.

I wanted to be more intentional about my creative hobbies, like writing and photography, and so I looked at a lot of different class options and made some new contacts.

I wanted to be more intentional about my relationships--mostly friendships, but also in the romance category. And so I said "yes" to things I was tempted to say "no" to, and signed up for things at church and beyond in order to get involved and meet more people.

I wanted to be more intentional about my health, and did a barre class once a week for a while. And drank more water, and ate healthy in general.

I wanted to be more intentional at home... cooking, cleaning, hospitality. And well... I did host a jewelry party, put together a lot of new bookshelves.

Basically the goal for the year was to take life by the horns, to not be as reactive to things in life, and ultimately pursue the things I felt would make my life better, happier, richer.

By the end of 2015, I had done a lot of cool things that wouldn't have happened if I had not been a bit more intentional. I traveled to Haiti, Spain, France, Italy and Rwanda. I got involved in a few different Bible study groups and began to build some new friendships. I have an awesome new apartment with a great landlord and great neighbors. I started a new romantic relationship. I had the BEST month-long 30th birthday celebration, which included finally fulfilling my dream of going to Disney World and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. If my year could be told in Instagram pictures alone, 2015 was a year that would be hard to top.

But Instagram only shows the best of things. As the last few months of 2015 began to pass, I felt more and more listless. Even with all that went right, a lot still just felt wrong. Or not a fulfilling as I thought it would be.  I still felt really empty. I felt the same way I felt at the end of 2014, like my life was going nowhere in the direction I desired or dreamed. Being intentional didn't make me happier, and I was (or am) still without direction or a sense of control over my life.

While I was more intentional with my career, I didn't get either of the jobs I applied and interviewed for. And so I went in for my 5th year of teaching, which started with so many changes that I felt unbalanced and off-kilter for the first 2 months. I was miserable. I also was still working long hours and days, which meant there was no time to take any of the writing or photography classes I wanted to do, or even do the side projects I thought I'd have time for.

And relationships? Many of the friendships I started to build either stalled, or just didn't develop to be as deep as I hoped they would be. I still spend most of my time alone, and often felt alone. And the new romantic relationship? Crashed and burned a few months in.

Cooking, cleaning, working out, entertaining... all that fell by the wayside. Especially since I was "homeless" all summer, was traveling a lot, and then I'm still trying to unpack my new place.

It was like being back at square one. Expect because I started the year with an expectation that being intentional about my desires would make things better and make me happier, there was now the taste of bitter disappointment growing stronger as the year wrapped up.

I debated not picking a word for 2016. Why set myself up to be disappointed again? But there was a word that kept coming up in my devotions and Bible studies and in church sermons was JOY. The idea of being content with my lot, good or bad, because I have the joy of the Lord.

I settled on the word, but didn't really think about why it would work for 2016 until today.

I wasn't happier after a year of intentionality because I spent the year pursing desires that were worldly and temporary. And not that any of those things were bad. And not that I don't still have all those desires. But I think pursuing them was more important that just pursing the Lord. Leaning into Him. Trusting His plan. Finding my joy (happiness, bliss, excitement, contentment) in Him first and foremost.

So in this new year, that's what I am seeking to rest in: His Joy.

I've chosen Psalm 40 as the scripture to help guide the year (or at least thought it). Here are some verses that remind me to rejoice in the Lord!

Psalm 40:3... "He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God."

Psalm 40: 16a, 17b ... "But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you...but the Lord takes thought for me." 

And one more verse, not from chapter 40, but that also really stood out to me as one to hold on to:
Psalm 4:7 ... "You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound."

Ultimately, in reflecting over 2015 and looking into 2016, I realized that nothing I do will bring me joy. Only the Lord can make my heart glad. So I'm giving Him my desires, making Him my FIRST desire and I believe that the best thing I can do is to "delight [my]self in the Lord, and he will give [me] the desires of [my] heart." (Psalm 37:4)

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  1. Could not agree more with that last paragraph.

  2. Wonderful! Joy and peace are words I choose for this year. Thank you for sharing this, Bunmi. May He add joy with increasing measure to your life and your season.