A couple of years ago, a dear friend invited me to join her in selecting a Word of the Year. I had never heard of this concept, but I thought it would be more to my liking than trying to set boundaries, expectations, or resolutions that would fade after several weeks.
The first time we worked through the self and word assessments, it took us all day. We spent time remembering, sharing, questioning and discerning. We chattered, we were quiet. And at the end of it all, we each had a word that settled into our souls for the year ahead.
My 2016 word recentered my approach to adversarial relationships and challenging times. It became a mantra and reminder of who I am called to be as a person of faith, a family member, a friend, a church leader, and a colleague. And I dare say, the Holy Spirit planted that word in my heart as a way to help me journey down some paths I would not have taken otherwise.
Last year came, and my friend and I sat on my back porch working our way through questions. It didn’t take us as long but we were no less intentional. My word burst forth like an epiphany and energized me about what was to come in the year ahead.
As 2017 made her way through my life, I have found that the word blossomed in different ways than I expected. And I have too. Even as the last few days of the year bid their farewell, I found my word to be a reminder of God’s grace and mercy when I least expected it.
What I have appreciated the most about this practice is that my words do not fall by the wayside as the year progresses or transitions into another season. I continue to ponder them deep in my heart. They have become like the old friends you call on for good advice in times of need.
And while I am looking forward to experiencing what 2018 (and the Holy Spirit) have in store, I am eagerly anticipating what word will be my guide on the journey.