In 2018, I did something I’ve never done before. I chose a Word of the Year – CONNECT.
Honestly, I didn’t know how it’d go, if it’d stick or impact my daily life at all. I’m a great beginner, but kind of a terrible finisher. Perseverance isn’t my best quality.
But “connect” it was and I chose John 15:5 as my theme verse – because if I wasn’t connected to Christ then it all seemed pretty insurmountable and pointless.
I chose to focus on four areas in order to connect:
- With my Lord through deliberate and consistent time in scripture, prayer and meditation on His Word
- With my family by being present and not distracted
- With others by opening my home more often (even if it’s imperfect) and with deliberate outreach opportunities
- With others through the written word (writing, cards, etc.)
How’d I Do?
With God: I started 2018 strong and spent the first few months solely focusing on John 15. It was a great practice to really dig into one chapter and not let it get stale. There are so many rich truths in this chapter about abiding in Christ and the fruits that result from staying connected. I’m not ready to completely abandon working through this chapter.
Another great result of keeping “connect” on my mind were the unconventional ways (to me) that I was abiding with God. I listened to podcasts as I walked that allowed me to meditate on His truths (Revive Our Hearts and The Next Right Thing are favorites of mine). I was able to worship as I tried new things, like singing in the church choir. John 15 was constantly present as I made decisions about my time.
With my family: Truthfully, this is the area where I was weakest. I let so many things distract me from being present in the little moments. I’m thankful for great memories in spite of this and for my forgiving guys who love me anyway. We always seem to take those closest to us for granted, don’t we? I’m going to continue to work on this in 2019. Time is precious and they deserve my best.
Via Hospitality: I’m grateful that I was able to open our home to others, including neighbors, my husband’s co-workers, Bible study ladies, church friends who needed encouragement, writer pals and friends for game nights. God’s gifted me with renewing old friendships and cultivating new ones. This is definitely an area I’m going to continue in 2019!
Through Writing: At the beginning of last year, I had no idea I’d actually launch this blog. It was a dream of mine, but I wasn’t sure I could actually do it – resources, technical roadblocks and doubt kept creeping up. Remember, perseverance is NOT my strongest virtue.
After much prayer, talking to a mentor-friend, taking an informal survey of my most loyal friends and convincing my husband the investment would be worth it, I launched ohhisgoodness on April 1. Since then, I’ve written 21 blog posts and numerous mini-blogs on Facebook and Instagram. I’ve joined an amazing group of writers through my membership at hope*writers **, meeting several fellow writers in person to gain wisdom and to cheer them on in their journeys.
Writing has been such a gift this year! It’s become another unconventional avenue of worship for me as I study His Word more and meditate on what God is teaching me. What started out as a way to leave a legacy for our son (oh, how I love this crazy kid!) has become a medium to spur others on to love and good works – and it has given me rich, meaningful conversations with you, my dear readers. And the highest compliment I received this year came from my husband (who’s also my editor, ha!) when he told me how proud he is of all I’ve accomplished!
I turned 40 in 2018 (go back and read 30 Things I Learned in my 30s – it’s fun!) – it was a year of new things, including committing to a Word of the Year and sticking with it.
I’ve discovered I like having a Word of the Year. It doesn’t box me in; it keeps me focused and grounded. I’m extremely thankful for a year to CONNECT with my Savior and others in so many ways. It makes this extrovert smile and sigh with satisfaction.
I’m still marinating on a Word of the Year for 2019. A couple have crossed my mind, but one is starting to settle in. John 15 will serve to impact this year as well, I have a feeling.
So, tell me, did you have a word for last year? Have you chosen one for 2019? Are you new at this, too – if so, what have you learned?
How to Pick Your Word of 2019
- Look over your journals or prayer lists from the past few months. See if any particular theme, Bible passage or need sticks out to you.
- Write down a few possibilities and pray about them.
- Pick your Word of the Year and outline several areas of focus (family, work, spiritual life, church, etc.).
- Find a Scripture verse or passage to accompany your Word. Commit to memorizing it.
- Don’t get too detailed or have too many areas of focus. This isn’t meant to overwhelm you, but to give you strength, gentle guidance and peace that you’re doing this for your good and God’s glory.
- Don’t force it or give up if you don’t have a word right away or have to change your word after a few days or weeks. The Holy Spirit will help you – I’m amazed at all He showed me to flesh out my Word of the Year for 2018. You’ll be amazed, too!
- If you’re completely lost at where to start, DaySpring has a Word of the Year quiz to help you find yours. Only seven questions to guide you on ideas and Scripture!
**Affiliate link. Membership to hope*writers is only open a few times an year and opens back up in late January 2019. Click this link to read more and get on their wait list. If you purchase a membership through the affiliate link, I will receive small compensation at no extra cost to you. It’s totally worth it!