Happy New Year, friends! I took down the last of the outdoor Christmas lights today and saw a school bus rumble past, signaling the end of Christmas Break and the return to normal life. Tomorrow is the start of my “normal” with classes and activities resuming.

The other day, while chatting with my parents on the phone, my mom asked if I had any goals for the new year. I’ve written before about my penchant for New Year’s Resolutions, but prior to this conversation I decided that this year I would focus on a word. I have a number of friends who do this. Their word serves as an anchor, a reminder, of a deep-held conviction to frame the coming year.

It didn’t take long to pick my word. In fact, the word came to my mind before I even thought that this word should be my word for 2016.


To be honest, I don’t care for the first part of the definition of this word. It means the state of being happy and satisfied. This year isn’t about a quest for personal happiness. Instead, I want to learn to be content, satisfied, with my circumstances.

As soon as this word popped in my head, a mental list formed of some areas where I need contentment. For starters, financial contentment. This summer Brad and I will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Neither of us have never traveled to Europe. It’s been on our bucket list for a long time. I am hoping we can make this happen, but we may not be able to swing it this year. Can I be content if we have to wait another year before we visit Europe? Along these lines, the last two Spring Breaks have been pretty wonderful for our family. Both years we have enjoyed a cruise. There isn’t a cruise planned for this year’s Spring Break. Can I be content as I hear of others making fun plans for Spring Break?

Contentment affects other areas of my life too—my work world, my relational world, my writing world, to name a few. This won’t be an easy word for me to embrace. I know myself well enough to recognize that a passing ad on the television can be enough to send me into a tailspin and cause me to feel discontent about my circumstances.

The details have grown foggy, but in one season of married life Brad and I memorized Philippians 4:11-13 because we wanted to be more content people. We saw the ugly heads of envy and covetousness in our lives. I’m dusting off those verses for 2016. I want to say from the depth of being, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation” (Phil 4: 12).

What about you? Do you have a word for 2016? I would love to hear your thoughts.

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