As a new year begins, I wanted to share my reflection on my very first “star word.” When I received it last year, I immediately went home and taped it to my tv stand. I literally see it every morning while sitting on my couch and every time I watch television, which, sadly, is a lot. 🙂
My star word for 2022 was “cheer.” As a journalist, I won’t bury the lead as to what I’ve come up with. Cheer is an action word. Yes, it’s something we feel but it’s not in the same category as happy or joy. Those, in my opinion are “feeling” words. Sure, we can “spread joy” or make someone “feel happy” but I think we need to first “feel” those words to turn them into action. Cheer is a choice. It’s a decision. I believe the Bible verses that contain cheer and its derivatives prove this to be true.
Google tells me cheer pops up a lot in the Bible. Here are a few examples:
2 Corinthians 9:7 Let each man give according as he has determined in his heart; not grudgingly, or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver.
Job 9:27 If I say, ‘I will forget my complaint, I will put off my sad face, and cheer up’.
Mathew 14:27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying ‘Cheer up! It is I! Don’t be afraid.’
Proverbs 17:22 A cheerful heart makes good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones
Giving freely, not complaining or letting fear overtake us, and changing our perspective are all “choices” that begin with “choosing” to be cheerful. It just might even be the first step in faking it until making it. Translation matters, but cheer is the word that is used and I think that is a deliberate choice.
So how does all this fit into my own life? Well, it’s made me examine my interactions with my students (and others). My profession places me in the direct path of being a “cheerleader” for my students and their work. Every day I am in a position to make, or break, spirits. I’ve thought a lot about this responsibility and why God put me–someone who has always cared too much about what people think–in this position. Am I giving them what they need or is it what I need to get off my chest? Am I truly encouraging them at all times to be their best or am I dismissive when my time and patience are short? Living with this word has helped me realize how much more I can say and do to encourage and genuinely “cheer” others. These meditations have helped reshape my teaching style in a way I hope is more compassionate.
Incorporating cheer and cheerfulness in my communication style with others is one thing, but I must consider the relationship I have with myself. How can I become more cheerful hearted? Every morning, that little star reminds me to cheer up and remember that Jesus not only loves me, he forgives me. I don’t always believe that but I’m working on it. It reminds me that God is my greatest cheerleader even when I can’t understand how he possibly could be. That’s when I need to choose to be cheerful and/or take the necessary steps to get there. I must take the “action” to accept His love, forgiveness and encouragement.
I believe this word was meant for me, and I cheerfully accept the lessons it has taught me and will continue to teach me.
Cindy Carter (cheerleader)