Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Words For The Year

This past weekend at an event I spoke at, I encouraged the participants to choose a word for this new year and let that word be the focus in everything they do. This whole concept is much simpler than a list of resolutions and becomes the filter through which you approach everything. I got this idea from my friend Ann Voskamp, who wrote a challenging post about her tradition of naming her year.

After I talked about it, my friend Rachel Olsen, who was there, shared with me that this concept was begun by her pastor Mike Ashcraft six years ago. There is even a website called I was excited to find out there are resources available to us. If you are choosing a word for this year, this site is worth visiting.

So today I thought I would share ten ideas for words you might want to choose. These are words I've read about other people choosing. I think they will get your brain going and hopefully inspire you to choose a word of your own. If you'd like to, you can comment and share what your word is.

1. JOY: This is my word for the year. I chose it because it is something that keeps coming up with me-- choosing joy, or finding it, in all circumstances. I don't naturally do that, but I want to. When a coordinator for an event I did several weeks ago sent me a handmade pewter ornament with the word JOY on it at the very same time I was praying about what word would be the right one, I knew this was the word for me! Instead of hanging the ornament on my tree, it is now hanging in my kitchen window, where I can see a reminder every day.

2. PAUSE: Maybe you need to slow down and savor this life of yours. Choosing pause would be a good reminder to do just that.

3. BELIEVE: Do you need to believe God's promises even as you journey through a dark time? Then believe might be the word for you. You could even read a book like Beth Moore's Believing God to kick off the year and inspire you to believe fully.

4. IMPERFECT: Do you struggle with perfectionism? Then maybe you need to view everything this year with this word as your focus. Maybe you need to remember that it's ok to be imperfect and that God doesn't expect perfection out of you-- He loves you even when you mess up... and He knows you will. It is in your imperfect state that His perfection shines.

5. CONSISTENT: This is my husband's word for the year. I think he should be consistent in giving me whatever I want and attending to my every whim but somehow I don't think that's what he had in mind.

6. STORY: This is a friend of mine's word for the year and I had word envy after I heard it. Oh well, there's always next year! If you've been thinking of living a better story this year (read A Million Miles In A Thousand Years to be inspired in this department) then this might be the word for you. If music is more your thing, then maybe your word could be SONG.

7. ACTION: Do you desire to be a woman of action? Then this might be the word for you.

8. SIMPLIFY: Does clutter dominate your life-- household clutter, commitment clutter, etc? Simplify might be what God is speaking to your heart. Maybe He wants to help you clean house-- physically and emotionally-- this year and discover the freedom and peace that comes with simplifying your life.

9. SURRENDER: Maybe God's been speaking to you about surrendering your life to Him-- letting go of the control you crave. Maybe you need to surrender in all areas-- your marriage, your parenting, your home, your heart. If that's true of you, surrender will define this coming year for you.

10. THRIVE. This is a friend of mine's word for the year. She said she's been living life on autopilot too long and she wants to stop. She wants to live beyond surviving and thrive instead. I loved this.

And finally, if you want to get a reminder for what your year's theme is, you can visit this website and have it put on a necklace! Love this!!

What will your word be for this year? Feel free to comment and share it if you know what it is. And remember, your word for the year isn't something you have to have figured out by a certain deadline-- it's something you can take time to discover, listening to the themes that keep cropping up in your life, paying attention to what God wants to say to you about who you are, and who He is leading you to be.
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Alycia Morales said...

God has faithfully provided a word for me to live by for several years now, and I'm always amazed to look back on the year and recognize the areas it has applied to!

This year, my word is Prosperity. As in, the things of the Lord. Not necessarily finances. Although that would be nice, and I certainly won't put God in a box... ;)

Fiddledeedee said...

My word is PRAISE. The Lord is bringing me through a very difficult year. I am ABLE to lift my hands in PRAISE, and I will never take that for granted.

Cheri Bunch said...

Marybeth, one of my favorite words that the Lord gave me one year was "inspire". I was reading through the book of Jeremiah and when I got to chapter 32, there was reason to pause and pray some of the verses for my family.I have been praying those verses for myself and my family ever since.

Must share:

"They will be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will INSPIRE them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me." Jeremiah 32:38-40 NIV

It was 2008 when the Lord hi-lighted that word for me and immediately I began to pray with tears that He would "inspire" me and my family to fear Him.

That word became popular in the secular world that year also. Hallmark did a big promotion of it and I have seen it posted many other places since. When I see the word in public, it reminds me of the prayer of my heart.

Not only do I want the Lord to inspire me to fear Him, but also to please Him and to be an inspiration for others.

I love it when He puts a word on my heart. It is an interesting way that He works with us.

Awesome post! Thank you!

ps. My word right now is patience. :)

Zibilee said...

I think my word of the year will be involve. I am starting to think that I sit on the sidelines watching too much, and that I need to actively try to participate more. Not only at church, but in my community and home life as well. Thanks for this post and for putting this idea into my head. It is funny, but I knew my word right away!

Sheila said...

After a bit of thought, my word this year is ORGANIZE, as in my life, my house, my finances. It works along with simplify. I will be using the two in tandem this year!

Kristi Butler said...

I loved this post...and this idea! I will be pondering about and praying for the word to choose.

So cool to hear that your word is JOY and looking forward to your "Bringing Joy" to our Write2Ignite! conference in February!!! I just love how God works!!! (If anyone is curious, the info can be found at

Praying for you, Marybeth!

Jekka said...

My word this year is Bountiful. I am actually participating in a One Word class that is taught by Ali Edwards.
Ali is a scrapbooker/crafter and
you can find out more information on her website

Shelly said...


This is the word that keeps coming up for me. As soon as I read your post - it hit me again. : )

This is a GREAT idea, and I'm excited to ascribe that word this whole year!

Anonymous said...

I am debating between deny, as in deny myself foods I don't need or to say words that don't need to be said, or consistent, this would, again, be in line with what I need to do to take my wait off and keep it off rather than starve, then binge, then starve, then binge and on and on and on.....

Joyful said...

Gotta say, I'm kinda partial to your word Marybeth! :)

My word for this year...PEACE.

Blessings to you,

Oh Dear said...

I am continuing with my word from last year. LESS
Less me, less clutter, less debt, less baggage, less lost souls, less weight, and praying this is the year that our family makes at least one less orphan.

GraceGal said...

My word is "disencumber." I know, I had to look it up myself. When I blogged about it, I wanted to use "simplify", but i heard the Lord say No. I think it's because In my mind I can do simplify, but to disencumber, I need the Lord's help and grace.

Aidan Donnelley Rowley @ Ivy League Insecurities said...

Love the idea of choosing a word for a year. Not sure what mine is, but now you have me thinking! Joy is a wonderful choice.