Live Well

My Word for the Year

January 15, 2019

Every year I pick a word. Year doesn’t always start in January. Year isn’t always a year. I pick one word that encapsulates what I think is God’s focus for me that year. Usually, I frame it as what God is most wanting me to learn or grow in.

Not so for this year. Because my word is a different flavor. A cloth I’m not used to wearing.

My last three words: Right. Wait. Courage.

I chose “right” because the lesson I needed to master was doing the right thing at the right time for the right reasons. There was a character flaw in me that made me habitually choose the less good thing even though I knew what the right thing was. Knowing what’s right doesn’t really help if you’re not doing anything with it.

As I wrapped up “right,” it was as if God was saying, “finish this season well, learn all the lessons you’ve been learning, master them, because your next season is coming.” That was so motivating. I finished “right” and knew I was ready for my next word. Sadly, the next word was “wait.” This was the hardest word I’ve ever chosen. “Wait” exposed boredom. Boredom exposed control. Control is the opposite of waiting so when I finally let go of that it got much…worse. Control exposed fear. Fear was new. And it was awful and powerful and made it hard to breathe. But I learned that when there’s a gap between what you want and what’s here, i.e., when you have to wait, you have two choices – worry or pray. I learned to pray. I learned to rest.

When the waiting was over, my new word was easy to choose–courage. Courage to face what was exposed in waiting. It’s one reason we named my daughter “Rylee.” Rylee means courage. Her middle name is Grace and I would need both so badly over the next several months. I learned courage to name fears to God and not run away. Not control. Not google the answer. I needed grace for continually failing to meet my own expectations of myself. I discovered I’m a 1 on the Enneagram and found courage to face my anger and the inner voice that is always saying to me, “do more, and better.”

I’m not really less fearful, just more accustomed to facing my fear and doing it anyways. It was time for a new word so I asked God his thoughts. Like usual, I asked him what he most wanted me to work on. Then one day I launched out with Rylee in her stroller. Down the block for a typical walk. I asked Him again and a word dropped into my…heart? It was a little louder than a thought.


It brought tears to my eyes and my chest instantly tightened protectively. Something about that word made me want to be open and closed off. But I’m no newbie…any small group friend would tell me those are reasons to pay attention. So I tucked it away and kept on strolling. Receive.

Later that week I was driving home and brought it back up. “Receive. Interesting. What is it about ‘receive’ that you want me to work on? Am I bad at asking for help? Do you need me to…”

His voice dropped again,

“What if it’s just that I have some things that I want to give you?”

Tears again. Chest tightened again. “God, that would be lovely.”

That’s truly what I said. Too much Great British Baking Show apparently.

So “receive” it is. My new word. I’m starting my days asking God this question, “God, what do you want me to receive today? Because I want to receive it.”

If “waiting” was the worst, then so far, this one has been the absolute best. But we’re about one week in. Stay tuned.

Describe what God taught you in the past few years in three words (1 word/year).

Do you pick a word each year? What’s your word for this season?

If you could receive one thing from God today, what would it be?

Photo by Kyle Anderson on Unsplash

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