My Word for 2016

Praying and doodling over my word...

Praying and doodling over my word...

I love the idea of shaping my year around a word. It is invigorating and inspiring to choose a word as a banner over my life for an entire year, and to speak it into every crevice of my soul day after day.

Honestly, I also love resolutions. I am a goal-oriented kind of gal and find that when I do put things in motion based on specific intentions, I do accomplish much more. For instance, I made a goal this morning: Write for 30 minutes. So here goes.

My word for the year…drum roll please…


This past year’s word feels like a bust, as I picked PEACE, and I don’t know that it “worked.” Of course, being a perfectionist, I don’t know what it would actually look like to have a successful “peace” year, especially with my personality and marriage and kids. Hello! Peace? What was I thinking?  I know what I was thinking--I desperately wanted peace in my soul, in my life, in my home, in my work.

Upon reflection, I realize that I am coming to peace in some very key areas of my life. I am learning to let go of what Sarah Bessey calls, The Evangelical Hero Complex. It seems that I am almost more comfortable rescuing people than I am simply loving them and pointing them to God. But I am more peaceful about the fact that only God can do the rescue. Of course I’ve always known that in my head and have tried to release my Messiah Complex in the past, but this year, I do believe I have moved more toward the peace of letting God do the work only He can do. I wonder if I have even kept people from true rescue by doing too much for them, keeping them from going to The One who could really set them free.

Peace. Our home is much more peaceful, having taken a break from foster care. I am not sure if it is a permanent break or a temporary one, but it has been more peaceful in my home, that is for sure.

Peace. While there is always rumbling in my spirit when I see the brokenness of the world we are in and constantly feel the urge to do something about it, wondering what it is that God might be calling me to, I have peace and contentment as I simply “shine in my corner.” It has taken me awhile to release the obsession of “doing big things for God” but I sense a peace descending in my spirit, and this peace comes from this new practice that I desire to build this year around, which is simply to Listen. As I listen to God, and take whatever step He is inviting me to take, that is when I am exactly where He wants me to be. It is not somewhere “out there” but it is “right here.”

This year, my word seemed to come to me like a gift, dropped into my lap from Jesus.  Like a whisper from heaven, breathing into my being.  I didn't spend much time thinking about it...I just knew it was the one.

As I reflected on it, I realized I love that this word is a verb. I love movement.

As you know, I am a talker—if someone were to ask the question, “Are you more of a listener or more of a talker?” I would definitely pick B. That’s not to say I don’t listen, because I think at times I listen well.   Key emphasis on “at times.”

I have too often found myself with an icky feeling after a meeting or a conversation or a phone call—an icky feeling of wondering if I had said too much. Now admittedly I am a hardcore people-pleaser with strong opinions. Read that again. Sometimes that is a tough combo to manage. I want everyone to like me but I often strongly disagree with them. HA! Anyway, what does it feel like to know that I have truly listened, and then spoken up when I know that it will be life-giving? I am not a girl that needs to learn to courageously speak up. I am a girl who needs to discern what part of all that I want to say, actually needs to be said.

So this year I choose to Listen. Listen to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit, leading me into all truth.   His voice is a gentle whisper—and like Elijah, I only hear it after the earthquake, the fire and the windstorm pass by—often I am all of those—at least I feel as if I am—a little energetic squall too quick to open her mouth.

I want to listen to my children.

I want to listen to my friends.

I want to listen to my body.

I want to listen to my husband.

I want to listen to music.

I want to listen to the rain.

And most of all, I want to listen to the gentle whisper of my God.

One of the most beautiful things about the concept of listening in the Bible, from a Hebrew perspective, is that it is always connected with action. To listen means to respond, to move, to obey.

I love that about this word, while it could seem very passive, it is actually is so much more than that.  It’s both contemplative and action-oriented. This is who I am at my core…a combination of both of these things and my desire this year is to cultivate the balance.

I also love this word because when I think about listening and then responding, it keeps me right here in this moment.

Too often, I am focused on the larger picture of what I want to accomplish. I have some big dreams that I am holding in my heart, but I want to listen to the only One who can lead me, every moment of every day, to fulfill His dreams for me. One whisper at a time.

Happy 2016!


What's your word for 2016?  I would love to listen to your journey!