Another year gone.  In a blink.  Seriously – where did 2016 go? As I head into 2017 (which sounds completely crazy to me) a few thoughts are rattling in this old brain of mine.

Time most definitely accelerates as you get older.  When I was 15, summer vacation seemed endless.  Christmas break had long days of unending possibilities.  Now I have such an urgency to slow down these seasons.   The days can just breeze past.  Soon the fresh cut smell of June grass transitions into the crisp rustle of November leaves and 6 months have passed without a breath or a pause of enjoyment.  I’ve realized I need to be more intentional about engaging in the mundane days of my life.

Relationships matter.  I believe God created us as relational beings.  We need each other.  A simple exercise that I’ve done for the past few years is the “One Word” challenge. (Basically, you take some time to pray, (or meditate, if you’re not a believer) journal, etc. and see what word is revealed to you.    My word for 2016 was “relationship”.   I had been living my life at one speed – hurried – for so many years and that word made me stop and take stock.   I wasn’t engaging in my life. I needed to slow down and cultivate those relationships that were important to me.  Was I perfect in this last year?  Nope.  But I have been decidedly more purposed about investing in relationships that are important in my life.  This has meant letting go of some, which can be sad.  But we only have so much emotional capacity and I believe my life is richer when I invest my energy in a few true, genuine, deeper friendships than 20 surface relationships.

I have a good life.   It might not be a perfect life but it’s pretty great.  I don’t always remember that.  I have my health, a full belly, a warm place to sleep, Jesus and lots and lots of love.  Actually that does sound pretty perfect to me.

Self-control.  This is my word for 2017.  So many possibilities with this one, right?  The obvious ones:  finances – healthy eating – exercise.   But other, less apparent things come to mind.  What I say “yes” to.  What thoughts I allow myself to think.  What words I speak.  Making time for spiritual disciplines that will help me learn and grow.  Kind of excited to see this year play out.

One last reflection and then I move forward.  I want to live a joy-filled life, regardless of circumstances.  This will be a focus in 2017.  Finding more joy in the journey.  Because in the end, the journey is our life.  Not summer “vacation”, not Christmas “break”.  But the individual, humdrum, commonplace days that string together to make up this amazing, joyous, whirlwind, heart-breaking, too-short, love-filled, mind-blowing, crazy-great thing called life.