Happy 2014!

When the year turned from 2013 to 2014, I was having dinner with my mom while we watched the countdown on TV. We had too much food, as always, and I was starting to reply to the New Year greetings I received earlier. Before that, I was in my parents’ room, watching Pitch Perfect, because it was on TV, and I smiled when I remembered that last year, I was also watching the same movie with my best friends while we waited for 2013 to come.

And before that, I was in my room, planners from the past two years open beside my 2014 planner, crumpled pieces of paper surrounding me as I read and reviewed and updated my 5-year and 2-year plan, and my 2014 plans. I was sort of freaking out with all the planning, but two hours later, I was done — and it was still a couple of hours before midnight.

So how did you spend you celebrate the turn of the year?

* * *

I think my word for 2014 found me even before I found it. Unlike last year, though, this one didn’t dare me at all. Courage crept up on me and then tapped me on the shoulder and almost demanded for it to be my word for 2013. My word for 2014 didn’t, but it followed courage shortly after I owned that word, and just sat there, sometimes almost unnoticed.

During the hard days, it tried to make its presence known. I can see it, but I can’t look at it for a long time because it was easier to just sit and wallow on the harder things. I can’t bear to be that word, even if some people I knew said I was that kind of person. It was hard to notice it, because it felt like there was no reason to feel that, to be that.

But by the end of 2013, the word was becoming bolder, and through the other experiences and the people that surrounded me, it tried to make me see it more. And eventually, I did. It felt like a friend who I haven’t seen in a while — especially if we refer to the context of the last few weeks of 2013 — and it was kind of nice just sitting with it and thinking of how it will make my 2014…well, joyful.

So the truth was, I knew that it was going to be my word for 2014 even before 2013 ended. And when I acknowledged it, I was actually excited. And it was nice to be excited.

So, my word for 2014 is DELIGHT.


Originally, it was supposed to be joy, but when I did some research, I thought delight sounded better. I liked how it meant the same thing — joy — but it also had the word light in it, like the word is about lighting someone up with joy. Doesn’t that sound nice?

But just because I chose this word for 2014 doesn’t mean it will be completely happy all the time. If anything, I know that owning a word for a year meant that I will be faced with opportunities to be joyful, to take delight. Of course my heart will probably break again at some point in this year — but that’s a given, anyway. I don’t think I’ll be surprised with that anymore, and if anything, my Year of the Brave taught me that it’s a fact of life and I just have to be ready for them. I can’t control what could happen, but I can control how I react to it.

So I choose to take delight.

One of my favorite bloggers wrote about joy and delight way better than I can ever write about it now, so I will just quote her:

Delighted, overjoyed – we so often mistake those words for happy, or, more honestly, for naively cheerful or optimistic. We think that if we name those adjectives, we’re making it sound like we (or God or both) aren’t taking hurt seriously. That we have missed suffering. That we have lost sight of the ache of the world and are applying a pink band-aid to the gaping wounds.

But it is the work of delight and joy to come close to suffering, even closer than the so-called serious realism. It is through joy, not cynicism, that we approach the unspeakably difficult.

Because joy and delight are not happy feelings: they are the choices to let love win. They are the choice to trust love triumphant. Joy is a choice to believe God when He calls what He has made very good, and a choice to draw near to that very good world in its ache and terror and sadness.

They are the choices to let love win, to trust love triumphant. I want that kind of joy, I want to learn to delight. No matter what happens in my life. I want to learn to always take delight. I want to choose and believe that love always wins.

Funnily enough, the second part of Neil Gaiman’s New Year’s Wish in 2013 was also about joy, and it sort of feels like I’m just picking up on this after the Year of the Brave: And whatever happens to us, whatever we make, whatever we learn, let us take joy in it. We can find joy in the world if it’s joy we’re looking for, we can take joy in the act of creation.

2014 is the year to take delight. :) And this is not just for me, but also for you, who is reading this blog post right now. I don’t want to wish the pain away, but I wish that you find joy even in the midst of it. I wish that you the strength to take delight even in the direst of situations. I wish you the kind of joy that lasts, that sits inside your heart to warm you through the cold nights, and that bursts and celebrates life for all its beauty. I wish you all the kind of joy that you will share with others, so we can delight in one another’s presence the way God is overjoyed with us.

This 2014, I wish you delight. Happy new year, everyone. :)

The Story of Brave Things that Roar

Can I say it? I know we still have a day before 2013 is officially over, but can I please, please say it?


I mean, seriously.

I know that when I chose my 2013 word even before the year rolled around that it wasn’t going to be easy. In fact, I almost decided to choose another word, but then I realized that’s cheating, especially after the word has owned me even before I decided to own it. I knew that I would go through a lot, and I knew that choosing to be courageous means facing fear head on. I wish I could say I was completely prepared, but I guess one is never really that prepared, no matter what.

So wow, 2013. You surely were something.

I could go on and on about courage and bravery, but to keep me from rambling, here are four important things I learned about courage in 2013. :)

1. “Happiness is a form of courage.”

This is a funny thing to think of, and the story behind this post about happiness is really me contemplating if I will buy myself the MacBook Air that my boss was selling me the day after I thought of replacing my 6-year-old MacBook. I know it’s such a shallow thing that I’d write about happiness in the context of buying a gadget, but that decision taught me a lot about how I thought of happiness in my life.

Because when you think about it, really, it takes courage to be happy. It takes courage to choose happiness because it’s easier to be sad, to feel down. It’s easier to dwell on the bad stuff than the good stuff, to see how things went wrong instead of choosing to see how right everything can be (even if you can’t really see it yet). I realized in 2013 that it really takes guts to choose to be happy, to be joyful, to delight. I have failed in this miserably, but I am holding onto this even more in the year to come. And like what my adopted little brother told me last Christmas: This sounds like a good plan.

Because joy and delight are not happy feelings: they are the choices to let love win. (Hilary Sherratt)

2. Courage and grace.

You know how sometimes, you think you’re such a nice person and all that…and then someone comes along, and it totally wrecks your perception of you being nice because they just grind your nerves to the very end? Or sometimes, someone seemed to do some things to spite you on purpose, so bad that you just want to lash out to them and make them feel your wrath because no one is supposed to say bad things about the people you love?

Yeah, I’ve had that several times this year. 2013 was the year that God decided I needed to learn more about grace. I ended 2012 with thoughts on graciousness, and that was just the beginning of it. 2013 saw me grappling for peace, getting really annoyed at people I don’t like, and being on a constant defense mode for the people I love because it felt like some people just won’t stop shooting at them. But the only way to learn to be gracious is when you’re given opportunities to be gracious. I wanted to be an unlimited dispenser of grace, and it was such a tall order that I kept on failing to do it. I learned that the more the important thing is to keep on trying. It takes courage to choose to do that, to give grace to people who don’t seem to deserve it, because in the end you’ll realize that you also need grace.