Of all the New Year’s trends, picking one word for the year has been one of my favorites. More than just a checklist goal, picking a word helps me change my perspective. If I had to pick a word for this year, it would be experience. This is twofold: I want to have new experiences, and I want to really experience them. The busier life becomes, the more it seems like I am just checking off experiences on the calendar and moving on to the next one without really experiencing the moment.
Sometimes I get so caught up in what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and what’s coming next that I forget to be in the moment. Sometimes I find myself just mechanically moving from one experience to the next throughout the day, waiting until I can crash into bed and have some peace and quiet. Ultimately, living like this is not fun.
Back in the fall, I was hosting a get-together at our house. The day of the event, I was feeling like I was coming down with a cold, my oldest child had to work, my middle child had basketball practice, and my husband ended up working late, so the bulk of the preparation fell to me. Hospitality is not one of my natural gifts so, needless to say, I was a little stressed and maybe a little irritable. I definitely was not looking forward to having people at my house. But slowly, everything started to fall into place. I put on some happy music, someone cracked a joke, and before long, the mood was a relaxed one. When our company arrived, we all sat around and talked and laughed. Everyone was relaxed. I let the stress of having people over and my worry about the house not being perfect slide away, and I enjoyed myself. I let myself experience the moment.
It is easy to allow ourselves to get wrapped up in stress and anxiety, but that is not the life the Lord wants for us. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (NIV).
The Lord wants us to experience all of our moments fully. We can do that by letting him be the God of our lives and trusting him with our moments. There will be times of joy and sadness, but we should let those times take care of themselves and not let them invade the other moments in our lives (see Ecclesiastes 3). How many times do we miss the joy and the experience right in front of us because we are worrying about the future and what the next experience will be? The Lord states his stance on worry pretty clearly in Luke 12:25:, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” (NIV). Follow the Lord’s leading and allow yourself to experience life.
Photograph © Harvey Made, used with permission