In the beginning of a year you will see people posting about their word for the new year, or maybe a verse, or both. I started doing this back in 2012. At first I believed it was a heavy process that you had to work hard for to receive. I thought that there was this one word and like a needle in a haystack, I was charged with searching for it (preferably finding it before January 1). I don’t think that now. The word you take on for the year isn’t some predetermined word that, if you don’t choose it, will wreck the coming twelve months. I want to share how I have chosen my words over the last couple of years. If you already go about it another way and that is working for you, I am not telling you that you are doing it wrong. However, if you stress about this, or feel pressure to “get it right” each year, I hope this post frees you to enjoy the process.
In December each year, I begin reflecting on the year I have just had. I do this in chunks. I don’t sit down and do it all in one day. I take some time in the mornings when I am sipping coffee, reading, praying, and journaling. I begin evaluating how my word and theme for the year played out. As I am doing this, I am asking the Holy Spirit to show me how this word came to life over the year and what my theme will be in the coming year. I start to get a vague sense through this process. Then, I keep my ears perked for confirmation over the next few weeks. As the weeks wind down and a new year is on the threshold, I put the word search to rest. I am not going to toil and lose sight of the more important thing by becoming obsessed with getting a word. We can easily get distracted by seemingly important tasks in the Kingdom. Spending time in prayer and seeking a theme for your year is important, but the task of searching for it will not feed the hungry, or win more people over to Jesus. Let’s give it a slice of our time pie, but keep it modest. This is not a biblically mandated concept or requirement. It is fun to see how your word will unfold and I believe it enhances your experiences throughout the year, but it is not the end-all-be-all of your walk with God.
Here is the other thing I am realizing: it is less about discovering a predetermined word, and more about operating in the freedom we have in Christ to choose a word and watch it unfold throughout the year. He is dwelling in us and as we sit and sift through possible ideas, HE is there–with us. He delights in being involved in the process, and HE is empowering us to speak a theme over our coming year.
In the end of 2015 I was looking to continue a work that God had been doing in that year. 2016 was approaching and I was hearing the word inheritance A LOT! I had even been drawn to a few verses in Psalm 16 (v5-6).
( She Reads Truth is awesome by the way check them out here)
Although I had this before the year began, it took me a few weeks to officially declare this my verse and word for the year. I was battling the idea that it was audacious to choose such an abundant theme. As I wrestled with this in my quiet time, I realized a few things:
1.) This is not for anyone else.
2.) We are called to an abundant life anyway (spiritually).
3.) I cannot waste my time listening to the enemy try to steal what is mine.
As I saw this year develop, I realized it wasn’t just about receiving from Him spiritually, but I faced some difficult things and this verse was there to remind me that in good and bad, this was still a truth. I had this to lean on more than I had it to stand on this year. We had an amazing year as a couple, but we also made some hard decisions that I had to declare this verse over me as I asked for peace going forward.
This year, my word started with a word spoken over me by another. It was confirmed with my husband, and I feel in my spirit a confirmation that this year will be one of new depths in the Lord. My theme for the year is a phrase not just a word: Go Deep to Soar! I will dig deeper in my relationship with God and HE will give me what I need to soar to new heights in personal and professional ways. My verse is, “but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31.
Do you search for a word or verse (or both) for the year? If so, share in the comments. I love hearing from others!