Every year, around New Year’s Day, I come up with my word for the year. I believe last year’s word was balance and I have also used courageous. But this year, 2019, the grand word chosen to bring enrichment and enlightenment into my life has been Snuffleupagus! Yep that’s right, the big, giant, furry elephant- like character from Sesame Street. Actually he started out being Big Bird's imaginary friend that brought him joy and friendship when he needed it.
So why am I sharing with you my word of the year now, while it is July? And why in the world is it a kid’s cartoon character? Well, to answer the first question, I had hoped that by now, mid- July I would have had something grander chosen as my word of the year- something more sophisticated, classy, and relatable.
Honestly, this word was chosen not by me, but my husband. Last winter when I was asking my husband what my word of the year should be it just popped out of his mouth. I immediately cracked up laughing at the ridiculous notion. I dismissed it and thought it was ludicrous, but come to find out, it’s been the perfect fit! Snuffleupagus represents to me not to take life or myself too seriously. A reminder to sit back, relax, and enjoy the life God has given me and not feel like I must have everything in life figured out.
When I become overwhelmed, burdened, and life begins to feel a bit heavy on my shoulders I realize that I am taking this situation too seriously, myself too seriously, or life in general too seriously. Then the word Snuffleupagus pops into my head and I envision the goofy looking character from tv with his endearing eyes and floppy nose and it puts a smile on my face. That’s it! It brings me joy! I remember that this is the word I chose for the year and for the moment it lightens my load. At the same time, I am reminded to leave my worries, cares, and burdens in God’s hands and stop stressing so much. Then it happened, the bible verse came to me that so perfectly encompassed the year of the Snuffleupagus:
“But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in mean and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, And don’t take yourself too seriously- take God seriously.” Micah 6:8(MSG)
The words could not have jumped off the page more…"Take God seriously”! Oh, how I wish I would be more obedient to do that. I forget how amazing and perfect His plan for me is. How He truly has the whole world in his hands. How God has predestined plans prepared in advance for me to do. How God knew everything that would happen to me and my family and how it would all turn out. Sometimes I need to trust, sometimes I need to pray, sometimes I need to confront, sometimes I need to step back, sometimes I need to cry and sometimes I need to laugh.
Everytime I allow myself to get down in the dumps about a situation not turning out how I thought, a person not behaving how I think they should, or a plan changed from how I think it is supposed to go, I just think “Snuffleupagus” and I smile. I think of the joy and goofiness that character and that word brought to me as a child and what it brings to me now. I realize that no matter what, things are happening how they should and I need to give up more of my control so He can be in control.
Maybe you too need to lighten your load by lightening up. For you, the word snuffleupagus may not be the word that brings you joy. It may be the thought of your children, your favorite bible verse, or quote from some amazing author. It doesn't have to be complicated or religious. When life gets heavy and you feel bogged down, think of something that makes you smile and helps you to keep things all in perspective. Jesus didn’t die to give us all a life of stress. What kind of testimony would that be? He died to give us life more abundantly.
“Many are the plans in a person's heart,
but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.”- Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)