I know it’s kinda’ trendy but no matter, I’ve been intentionally picking a “one word” for a few years now. In truth, I really enjoy the process on the front end. And, I also enjoy seeing how it plays out on the back end. Here’s how it’s gone so far:
(2019) Kindness. I believe this was my first one. And, I think I chose it because my kids were 7 and 4, kinda’ driving me bonkers.
(2020) Enjoy. The irony of seeing this printed on my desk throughout the pandemic was obvious. Also, it fit. I don’t know if ever before or ever since we will have the chance to pause and enjoy one another as we did that year.
(2021) I have no idea. I’m telling you this because I’m continuing to work on perfectionism and it is humbling that I can’t remember. We moved. We survived. I’m counting that as a win.
(2022) Simplify. I’ve learned that picking a “one word” and applying it takes practice, just like anything else. Last year was the first time I actually took action steps, intentionally “simplifying” what I gave my energy to and how many things I allowed myself to consider “doable” in a day. It was wonderful and effective. That is until I forgot for a bit this fall and overbooked myself. Oh well, I’m glad for the guidance at least most of the year.
So, now for 2023. I’m often amused by this process of discernment. To start, I try to buckle down, pray, concentrate, etc. Sometimes this yields fruit. Sometimes, nothing. This year, it was definitely nothing. So, I gave up for a while. When I tried again, it just felt like an echo chamber of last year’s “simplify”, as though I were reading a mental thesaurus. So, I gave up again. I share this to emphasize this is not always a quick process.
Finally, the other day, I heard a phrase that I know wasn’t me because I definitely thought the “word” would be far more sophisticated. Instead, this little phrase came through loud and clear, “Chill out.”
Chill out. How about that? But, as soon as I heard it, I knew it made sense. I thought a bit longer, and now, it’s narrowed down all the way.
For 2023, my one word is “free.” Ahhh.
The reason I say this fits is that, after years of change, it seems our family is hopefully in a place we will stay for a while. But, the years leading up to this were hard for this typically unanxious and confident gal, leaving me more internally skittish than I used to be. I’ve prayed to be “free” of this more times than I can count. To that end, this year’s word feels less like my own declaration and more like a gift. One I am so very happy to receive.
Of course, I can’t predict how “free” will play out. Goodness knows, I learned that lesson when “enjoy” came along. But, I do know that it feels like love and permission from God to “chill out.” There really are so few things that are worth getting worked up about. Life is often so much more simple than we make it out to be. And, we really can be free of so many things that rent space in our heads, try to weigh us down, and keep us afraid.
Free. I love it. In fact, I’ve gone ahead and started using it and I’m really enjoying it.
For “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Cor. 3:17
Blessings to you all in 2023.