Three years ago, a friend of mine introduced the idea of praying for a word for the upcoming year. I had never heard of such an idea before so, I was intrigued. When this idea was introduced to me in 2015, it stuck.
“It’s a fun practice and much more effective than New Year’s resolutions. In our busy stressed-filled world with tons of distractions, the research shows that 9 out of 10 people will fail with their resolutions. But one word sticks. No goals. No resolutions. Just one word that gives you meaning, mission, passion and purpose. One word that represents the essence of who we want to be.” Jon Gordon
This is my fourth year of praying over a word for my upcoming year. It’s wonderful. It’s enlightening. It’s encouraging. It’s also unnerving. It takes my faith to a deeper level each time.
So every year for the past three years, toward the end of December, I start praying that God would reveal to me my word for the upcoming year. So far this is what He has shown me.
2015 – My words were OVERWHELM and OVERCOME.
I found it interesting that two words kept coming to mind over and over instead of just one. Looking back, it makes perfect sense. That was the year I found out I was pregnant with baby #3; a week before finding out that The Man would be losing his job at the end of the school year. Pregnant, packing up a house, moving but not knowing where, and job hunting were all uncertainties that we faced that year. It was definitely a year of being/feeling overwhelmed but also one that God helped me to overcome.
Overcome fears, doubt, lack of faith, trust and the list goes on. I was brought to a place of complete reliance on Him (once again) to know and understand how to truly overcome.
It was also during this year, and the year prior, that I began to learn what it meant to grow where I had been planted. Before learning my husband would soon lose his job and discovering baby # 3 would be on the way, we had only been in the area for two years. We had just gone through a cross-country move with two littles into the unknown. New everything.
When we arrived, to our new “home” which was a hotel an hour and a half away from the new job location, things felt very uncertain. I was painstakingly anxious. Me, literally stuck in a hotel with 2 toddlers in the middle of nowhere. We only had one car and my husband drove it to his new job. An hour and a half away. Did I mention that?
One minor detail I left out. My oldest had gotten into poison ivy before we left, which we didn’t know until…. the next day when she woke up with a swollen face.
Recap: Me. Two toddlers. No car. Middle of nowhere. Swollen Face.
So I did what every rational mother would do in my situation and I started to panic. Just a bit (at this point I didn’t know it was poison ivy…then I figured it out). We hooked up our sweet ride, the stroller, and marched across the street to the gas station in search for some Benadryl. I was in luck! They had some. We made our way back to our room and took care of business.
There is a silver lining in all of this. I had been worrying about how I was going to entertain a 1 and 3 yr old for an entire day in a hotel room. Well, Benadryl solved that problem for me. Knocked her right out. Yes, that was a special day. Just one small example of being overwhelmed and God’s grace of helping me to overcome the circumstances.
Fast forward to 2016: The word God gave me was PERSEVERANCE.
Again, I am amazed. Why, I’m not quite sure because we all know He is an omniscient God. He knew perseverance is what I would need to make it through this past year. Living in yet another new town, with a newborn, new to homeschooling, supporting a husband with a new job, no church family, and no local friends to lean on was quite exhausting.
Perseverance to talk myself into getting out of bed each morning just to face the day was a struggle. Breakdowns of loneliness and isolation for the umpteenth time swallowed me up and threatened to cover me in its darkness of self-pity.
Perseverance. In faith. In trust. In everyday routines. In God.
Present Day: I have prayed once again what God wants to show me and grow me in for 2017. Two words came to me again. RELINQUISH & BELIEF.
I want to explain what they mean to me as of right now. It will be fun to read this when the year is over to see what God has taught me. I’m actually very nervous about this.
First, relinquish. It kept coming to me in different facets. Letting go of my past, letting go of negative self-thoughts, letting go of hurt, anger, letting go of control, etc. I looked up the definition of relinquish. Here’s what it said, “relinquish: yield, resign, surrender, abandon, waive, mean to give up completely.”
I have been feeling this urge from God that it is time to surrender, let go, abandon old ways and thoughts. Break free from them to truly live out who I am in Christ. Mind you, I have no idea how to do this or what it looks like. I just know it’s there. Once I looked up the exact definition of relinquish many more light bulbs came on as to why it was paired with Belief.
A desperate need for me to grow in my belief in God, that He is who He says He is. Belief in His promises, belief in myself (I am who He says I am), and a deeper level of intimacy with Him. In layman’s terms I suppose you could say “Let go and Let God,” could be my motto for 2017 but it sounds to cliché for my taste.
I challenge you to ditch your resolution and choose One Word. Think on it. Reflect. Pray. Listen. Your word will come.
When you know it. I’d love to hear it.
If you’d like to learn more about choosing a word for the year, read “One Word Will Change Your Life” by Jon Gordon