2016: Word of the Year
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Happy New Year!
2016 is finally here! January 1st is always such an exciting and hopeful day. Full of focus and tackling newly made (or recycled from last year) resolutions.
I am terrible at resolutions. I have such high expectations for the more organized/fit/domestic/intellectual/crafty person that I will become in the next 365 days, that I spread myself too thin and get burnt out/distracted or lazy by January 21st.
A few years ago, I went to a women’s retreat through my church at the start of the year. A practice we worked through was praying for a word to help guide us for the year. Just one word. Not a phrase or a verse or a day by day plan of how we should spend the next year. Just one word.
Typically, I feel like I am really terrible at those types of things. I am not very deep or creative and I don’t really have a great gift of foresight to see what word might best fit with my current stage in life. I also get hung up on the fact that I am likely going to have to share the word I landed on to a group of women and then the fact that I am not deep, creative or gifted with foresight will become apparent to everyone.
But choosing just one word makes this task feel less daunting. And it was still oh so meaningful. That year I felt like God was calling me to ‘trust‘. Trust that he knew what was coming and I didn’t need to worry (still struggling with that one!). Last year, my word was ‘obedience‘. I had imagined that God might call me on a mission trip or to step up and serve in a big way at my church, but it didn’t happen that way. And maybe I missed Him calling me while I got tied up in all of the trials we had in 2015. Obedience for me in 2015, felt a lot like God asking me to obey His command to love others and live joyfully, even in the midst of struggle. There were times when I gave in to darkness and started to shut people out, but that was clearly not obeying God and it really wasn’t good for me. Thankfully, we have a good Father who calls us to obey Him, even in the small things, even when it is hard. He knows what is best for us.
My word for 2016 has come so clearly from God. Patience. I want so badly to be at a place in life where I feel like I have got things under control (spoiler alert: never going to happen). I constantly try and plan out the rest of our year, month, week, or day in order to get the things that I want (babies, wealth,
being best friends with Taylor Swift) as soon as possible. I hate waiting. But the beauty of having patience while you wait, is that you can find the joy in waiting. While I wait to have kids, I get to spend the extra time I have now doing other things. If I choose to use that time to volunteer, go on dates with my husband, actually commit to a new hobby or better yet, spend time growing my relationship with God, that time becomes a gift.
So 2016 is the year that I will learn to be patient. To trust God when he says “His ways are greater than my ways” (Isaiah 55:9) and to treat the time I am given as a gift, not a punishment.
Pick your own word of the year! I promise it isn’t as daunting as it sounds. Spend some time in prayer and write down several words that come to mind. Pray over each of those words to help narrow down your list. You can also do a search for verses that relate to each word. You may find that one verse jumps out at you and that will help you find your word. Once you have selected a word for the year, write down some reasons why God may be putting that word on your heart, but remember not to limit your expectations to the reasons you come up with right away.
Write your word down on a note card and keep it someplace where you will see it daily, like in your Bible or on your bathroom mirror. Or in your freezer next to the chocolate chips (yes, I go there daily and yes, chocolate chips are better frozen). I get a print of my word made each year and hang it in our house.
On December 31st, spend time reflecting on how God has used your word of the year to make your 2016 impactful.