Wednesday, January 1, 2014

It's a new year...

For those of you who have been living on some remote island without communication or falling crystal balls or even Moon Pie Drops, you might not realize that today is the first day of 2014...a new year. Let me begin by saying Goodbye 2013 and Hello 2014. I've noticed that a lot of people have very strong feelings about both of you!

I started my year the way I have for the past few years, with a New Year's Day run, the Steamwhistle 12k. I am by no means the fastest out there - in fact, I was very near the end of the pack, but I ran it all the same. Today's blog is a compilation of thoughts from the first run of a new year.

To begin with, I had some trouble finding the race. Mind you, it was at the same location it has been at for YEARS, but due to some road construction and a wrong turn, I almost missed the race. I finally called a friend who gave me directions and I arrived just in time to line up at the start. 

As I ran, I couldn't help but see how the start of this New Year was a lot like I had been feeling lately - a little lost. I was wandering around, not quite sure how to get my focus and direction until I finally called out for help. Hmmmm, wonder if that's a sign of what this year will be like. If so, I'm okay with that. Asking for help isn't such a bad thing.

I ran along thinking about a lot of things and praying for family, friends, and the coming year. Each year, I choose a word that will help me focus. (For more on how to choose one word you can go to This year, my word is "Joy" and I mulled over my word as I ran. Just three little letters that mean so much. It's not happiness - that is fleeting. Joy lasts. Circumstances cannot change it.

I was thinking about all this and nearing the half-way point. As I usually do, I try to get those who are running opposite of me (meaning they have already made the turn at half-way) to smile. I don't know why, but it just energizes me to get others to smile! I was having fun. Then I made the turn myself and it was time to head back. Wow. I was only half-way done and I was tired of running. It was about then that I decided to slow walk. (I run so slowly that the only way to go any slower is to walk!) 

I had only made a few steps when another runner came alongside me. She motioned for me to come on, run. I could tell she was talking to me so I took out my earphones to better hear. She urged me on. I think her exact words were, "Come on. You've been encouraging everyone else, don't stop now!" Wow. Someone noticed. 

We ran along together for a few minutes and then she wished me Happy New Year and she ran on ahead. I told you I was slow. I just kept thinking about the fact that, just when I needed it, someone came along to encourage me. It was as if God was sending me "help" just when I needed it most. 

This year my one word to focus on is "Joy." To be honest, I've been apprehensive about this because I know that to REALLY test out joy, you've got to take it through some pretty tough spots. But, just like I needed help to find the race and just like I needed help to keep going, God will provide someone to help me find and keep joy. He'll do the same for you.

So there you have it. It's a new year, a new word, and a new adventure. 

I'd love to hear what YOUR word for 2014 will be....and don't forget to encourage those you meet. You might just be helping them keep their joy!

John 15: 11-16 (MSG)
11-15 “I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.
16 “You didn’t choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won’t spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, he gives you.

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