A buoyant giraffe floaty in a pool

It never stayed under. No matter how hard I’d try to keep it down, it always popped up. Believe me, I’d try. I’d force the floaty under by standing or kneeling and with all the young Abigail might I could muster, I’d try to keep it under. But I never could. It always burst to the surface. It was buoyant.

I want a bounce-back, buoyant spirit. I want to be of good cheer.

Be Of Good Cheer

Per Aunt Merriam, buoy·ant means:

  1. able or apt to stay afloat or rise to the top of a liquid or gas.
  2. cheerful and optimistic.

Meaning one fits the floaty. I would like meaning two to fit me. I want to be cheerful, of good cheer.

Jesus called his followers to “be of good cheer” multiple times. Depending on your Bible translation, the Greek word θαρσέω, or tharseō, comes out as “take heart,” “take courage,” or “be of good cheer.” Jesus used it in Matthew 9:2 when he was about to heal the paralytic, in Matthew 9:22 when he was about to heal the woman who had been bleeding for 12 years, and in Matthew 14:27 as he walked on water toward his fearful disciples.

But those aren’t the words that first came to mind when I thought of good cheer. No, I thought of the words of Christ to The Twelve on the night he was betrayed. He’d just forewarned them of the sadness to come. He said he’d be leaving them soon and then coming back and then going to the Father.

Then he called his friends to be buoyant. To bounce back, to shake it off, to be of good cheer.

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33, New King James Version

To be sure, we will have troubles. People and circumstances will push us under.

Only rock-solid truth can make us rise.

The Truth That Makes Us Rise

Take heart, take courage, be of good cheer! I have overcome the world.

As pastor David Guzik notes, “When Jesus wanted to comfort and strengthen His disciples, He spoke of His victory, not directly their victory.” 

Christ’s words are incredible because he was on the eve of his betrayal, arrest, torture, and death. Not Judas, not the Sanhedrin, not Pilate, or the soldiers or the chanting mob or even death and the grave could overcome Him. Jesus could truly say, “I have overcome the world.”

You can’t keep a good man down. The grave could not hold him. Jesus Christ defeated death. In him and through him, we are are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37). With infinitely more gusto and pep than my inflatable floaty, we will rise.

That is the truth that makes us rise. I can only pop back up from what dampens my spirit today—a boy on the bench, or a boy far away or my own disappointing defeat—because Jesus has overcome.

Why Buoyant?

It’s been five years since I picked a word of the year.

Of all the words in all the world, why did I pick buoyant? I’m a Bible girl and the word buoyant isn’t even in the Bible. But “good cheer” is and those two words are what buoyant means.

Because it describes the trusting, bracing, resilient spirit I long to embody. Because Jesus called for it in the needy or fearful saints to whom he drew near. And I am one of those saints: needy always, fearful sometimes.

So for God’s sake, I want to live a life of courage and good cheer. I want to be like a pool-time floaty that cannot be kept down. When I fall, I will rise. When I am cast down, I will look up. I will bounce back.

Childlikeness, in its Scripture sense, is a perfectness of trust, a resting in a Father’s love…a buoyancy of spirit, which is a fountain of joy in itself, always ready to spring forth afresh brightly and happily to meet the claims of the present hour…resting content in one’s lot, whatever it may be.

T.T. Carter, in Joy & Strength, Mary Wilder Tileston

I want that sort of bounce-back, pop-up, spring-forth spirit. Because trusting my God like that makes him look good. And that’s my job (1 Peter 2:9). Because He is good.

And because, resting on rock-solid truth, it feels really sweet to float.

Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me.

—Micah 7:8 (ESV)

Did you pick a word of the year? Or maybe you’re settling on a word today? I’d love to hear.

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  1. I do chose a word every year. I pray and pray and pray for a Bible Verse and Word every year, this year the answer came on the very last few days of 2022! My verse is Psalm 27:8 and my word is ‘Prepare’, I want my heart and soul to be prepared for the teaching, lessons, ways that Jesus has to reveal to me.

    1. That is wonderful! I love how you have the anchor verse. And what a verse, “You said, ‘Seek my face.’ Your face oh LORD i will seek.” You certainly are receptive from what o see. Brava, Ms. Michelle.

  2. My word for the year is “confident rest” – like Psalm 131 and Hebrews 4:16 (and many other verses), turning my heart and my eyes to God and resting confidently in who He is and what He does.

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