Last year many of us “picked a word for the year” (and if you’re not sure about what I’m talking about, you can check out our discussion from last December). It’s one of our most commented on posts and fun to scroll through the comments.
You might be thinking, I do not have one more thing to add to my to-do list right now and these gimmicky things are so not ME. Fair enough.
How about freeing yourself from “to-do” and turning towards who you want “to-be?” And though it may not be your thing, this is why I think you should prayerfully consider choosing a word for the year.
Three years ago I heard about choosing a word and it seemed all the “cool kids” (aka “cool bloggers”) were doing it.
So I didn’t pick a word. Fast forward two months and I was asked what I was hearing from God. In that moment I faced a choice and knew I had to chose whether to put on a mask or not. With trepidation I took the mask off and God chose a phrase for the year: Renewed Joy.
Renewed Joy was the deepest longing of my soul as I had been drifting from myself. Deeper than resolutions or goals, it anchored me and gave me hope.
As the seasons changed and autumn came, I started to hear other whisperings. You are making too many decisions out of fear.
What? Me? At this stage of my life? Isn’t fear a thing of your teens or twenties? Certainly not your forties. But it was true.
What is it angels say when they show up? Fear not, for I am with you.
Not, don’t be afraid because nothing bad won’t happen. Nor don’t be afraid because it will be easy. Nor because you won’t be misunderstood. No, fear not because the great I AM is with you and you won’t be alone in your journey. Courage, dear one, courage. Be courageous because I am with you and fear is not a fruit of my spirit.
I wanted an Ebeneezer of sorts and decided to spell out “courage” with blocks. I rummaged through my nieces’ toy blocks but there weren’t enough letters to spell courage. Nice idea, I thought, but not going to work. How ironic that fear is only four letters and easier to spell than courage. It’s also easier to live.
A day later (I’m not the fastest car on the racetrack), it hit me. I was only missing an ‘a!’ And really, isn’t cour_ge what courage ends up looking like. If we wait until we have all of the letters, so to speak, that isn’t courage, that’s easy.
And so cour_ge became the word for 2013, the year I publicly announced my resignation from a job in China. A job I’d had for 18 years and loved but knew it was time to leave. Cour_ge for transitioning countries without a job. Cour_ge to recreate a life. Cour_ge to walk away from myself to, paradoxically, return to me.
As Renewed Joy had anchored me for a season, so did cour_age. I wish I could say my experience with Oneword has been all roses and kittens and by choosing a word you’ll have the most Ah-May-Zing experience.
The fall of 2013 a new word started to pop up around the edges of my soul.
There are times when God gives us freedom to make choices. And there are times when He stalks us like a lion at a watering hole coming upon a tasty gazelle.
If I had my druthers, as it came to picking a word to pray and live out in 2014 I would have liked something along the lines of
Don’t they sound fun? And active and like they are going somewhere? Words an interesting person would live out, don’t cha think?
But not one of them would require much of a stretch for me because it’s what I already do; it’s who I already am. So is it any surprise I’m drawn to them? No.
Instead, over and over I heard … Trust.
Well, of course I want to trust. But I also want to “trust + adventure” or “trust + organize.” I’m not so keen on “trust, just trust.”
During the fall of 2013 as I wrote to people who financially support me, I had the sensation of doing the largest trust fall of my life. And I hate that sensation.
But as I sit here at the end of 2014 I can’t believe how painfully and beautifully perfect the word trust turned out to be. The job I thought I’d get, I didn’t. The parent I thought I’d have for many more years to come, I don’t. And as we rounded the corner, racing towards 2015 I thought I’d learned what I needed to learn from trust, I hadn’t. A deep personal layer was revealed a few weeks ago. Maybe the whole point for the word.
So I’ll say it again. Do it. Pick a word for the year. For ideas and words to pray over, check out this list.
This fall, God whispered again and my soul exhaled. Practice Celebration.
I look forward to sharing the journey with you. I look forward The Grove when you share your word!
What’s held you back from picking a word? What excuses whisper the most strongly to you?