Perhaps you’ve been doing this for ever and a day, or maybe you are just jumping on the train by picking your Word of the Year.
What is it? Why are we doing it?
I liken picking the Word of the Year as a mixture of choosing a piece of scripture as a life verse, creating a mission statement, and making a New Year’s Resolution all wrapped into one word. (Although, I have found a few people have chosen not to limit themselves to a single word, and have seen up to three).
In the case of picking scripture as a life verse, this allows some change by recognizing that year to year the verse the Lord may be showing me may change… as He changes me, moves me, redirects me, grows me, etc. So, in this case, I may pick a life verse for this year and then sum it up in a single word that is easy to remember and encompasses all that the verse means.
There are some who will use the life verse to create a mission statement for themselves, or their family… or maybe you are not a “believer” and so the mission statement is in lieu of the life verse. It’s the same idea, but instead of being scripture it is may be more of a philosophical mantra; it is the rule one is choosing to live their life by over the next year. Life verses and mission statements become almost like a litmus that we test everything against… does this help me with my goals, my desires, my dreams? If yes, move forward and do it. If not, let it go and move beyond it.
Resolutions as we all know are positive goals we want to achieve or bad habits we want to break in the new year. They can be practical like learning a new skill, long term goals like to stop smoking. But they are generally far more specific than a life verse or mission statement which tend to be about life in general versus a very specific thing we want to do or stop doing.
A lot of people attempt one or more of these per year, and struggle with keeping it all in check. I think this is how the “Word of the Year” evolved. It was a way to take all of that and wrap it up into something simpler, easier to remember, and to pursue. It puts all three of these things into alignment with one another.
It’s also begun to be more popular to share your words with one another, out of a spirit of unity, accountability, and even celebration when the words encompass victory over a past struggle. I’ve been observing as friends announce their words, and it intrigued me that for some the word came to them so easily and others it was a struggle to find a word they could define their intentions for the year with. Some were waiting for God to reveal it to them through prayer, and others just couldn’t commit and faced uncertainty.
I’ve seen some pretty amazing words show up, inspiring words. I think over the next few days I’m going to write about those words and what I’ve learned over the last 40 years about what those words mean to me.