Picking one little word for the year is a tricky thing, a personal thing, for me, a prayerful thing.
I often begin reflecting on how the current word of the year has been meaningful in late November or early December. I think back to the different ways the word impacted my hopes, thoughts, reactions, and plans throughout the year. How it has guided and directed me, reminded me of grace and brought me peace.
By mid-December, I find myself thinking about the year ahead. Thinking about my hopes and dreams, setting goals and milestones. Throughout it all, there is prayer, conversations with God about His hopes, desires, plans for the year ahead. Requests for that one little word that will guide and direct, bring grace and peace.
I’m not a resolution girl, but I do love the idea of setting a one-word resolution for the year. For me, setting a word of the year really helps me focus and set my priorities for the year. It’s like making a promise to yourself or giving yourself a gift.
As I set my word of the year for 2016, I felt certain it would be the year of joy. From my dad’s motorcycle accident last January and 40+ day stay in the hospital to losing my grandmother and ending the year with pneumonia, 2016 was so not the word of the year. The word that I settled on, nourish, was the perfect word for the year.
Every time I felt like I was off track, I came back to my word and identified something in my life that needed to be nourished. It was a constant reminder to take care of the people and things in my life that are important to me. I absolutely loved having that as my word.
So when sitting down to think about a word for 2017, there were high expectations. I spent most of the week before Christmas in bed recovering from pneumonia, so I had plenty of time to think about what this year’s word should be. I had a general idea, but nothing seemed quite right. And then the whirl of Christmas and family and celebrations began and then – poof – it was 2017.
I think I know why nourish was the word God whispered to me this year. He knew what was ahead and knew that I would need to pay special attention to nourishing my relationships with my God, my family, my community and my health this year.
He knew that if I didn’t pay attention there was a pretty solid chance that the wheels would just plum fall off.
And you know what, they almost did.
The first six weeks of 2016 have flown by. We’ve had a few unusual stressors come our way, but with those came unexpected opportunities. I had great plans for how I would be nourishing my faith, family, community and health this year, but God had other plans.
To be honest, there are a million better ways to increase your prayer life, strengthen your reliance on others, hold your family a little tighter and get healthier than a motorcycle accident, but we play the hand we are dealt.
Let’s talk about my one word resolution and explore those four areas God placed on my heart, shall we?
So there I was, sitting in worship, all happy with myself for choosing joy as my one word for the year. Our senior pastor was speaking at a conference, so our executive pastor was preaching. I knew I was in for a treat as I always walked away with a fresh take on things after one of his sermons.
I pulled out the sermon notes and saw the topic — New Year’s Resolutions. This was going to be great, I thought. Surely the confirmation I had lacked in my prayer life would come today. Joy it would be.