What’s all the hype about a word of the year? Who really “finds” a word and feels like it’s inspired and their directive for 365 days? Maybe you’ve been wondering these things and dismissing them as an over-achievers guide to a new year. Are you still in search for enlightenment on discovering your word for 2019? Or perhaps you’re knee deep in whatever life has already put in your path in January, something that solidified what that word God put on your heart means.
There’s no pressure or competition to feel like you need a word focus this year. Some years they have come quickly and been obvious for me. Other years it has been a fun game God and I play, much like “Guess Who”. “Is it this word, God? No. How about this one? I really like that one.”
My word in 2018 was “flourish”and it came across loud and clear—jumping off signs, out of books and scripture verses. With a word so lovely, it surely eluded to thriving (a synonym for flourish). When it coincided with me turning 40 last October, my heart felt that great things were sure to be in store. And they were, but not to be outdone by that season of lemons and times where I battled with how to encourage my family in ways to flourish and grow.
The last hurrah of flourishing was most unanticipated and happened late in the fall when my kids and husband encouraged me to audition for a role in an upcoming play at the community theater in Alexandria. It was so out of my ordinary comfort level, because you see, I’ve been the chauffeur, cheerleader and supportive theatre mom to my kids as they dove into various roles in the last two years. I was not the actress. At the nudging of my family and the idea of letting God stretch me and push me to grow, I auditioned. Days later I found myself staring at the computer screen in shock as the cast list was revealed on Facebook with my name near the top. I landed one of the adult roles in the show and the lead female character at that! If ever there was a time when God laughed as I stressed, rehearsed, stretched and grew over those seven weeks, it surely was then. The fulfillment of flourish and thriving was evident and alive! Some of the best parts were knowing that I could still do something amazing and do it well, sharing in the experience with my teenage son who was also in the show and nurturing a budding friendship that blossomed when a new friend and I were both in this production.
As for 2019, my word took time and was quiet for weeks prior to the new year. How does one follow up with flourish, I wondered. After Christmas, I used Catholic author and Sirius XM host, Jen Fulwiler’s Word of the Year generator, to get the ball rolling. I’ll admit here that I clicked several times just to give myself possible options to be open to. I gravitated toward two: “illuminate” and “revive,” mostly being drawn to the latter. As I do each year, I punched “revive” into Merriam-Webster online and read the list of similar words and synonyms. The word “awaken” jumped out at me, and it rested in my heart comfortably. I decided to give myself more time to wait for the Lord to set the word firmly, with conviction. The morning of January 2, as I went through my morning prayer time reading the daily readings and opening my email inbox, I had a couple of things solidify a new word, “ARISE!” There was a blog post from WINE simply titled “Arise, My Darling” that brought tears to my eyes. A quick click to check out synonyms and there sat “awaken” on the list. In the next thought, it was brought to mind how often last year Mark 5: 41 crossed my path and I gravitated toward it:
Talitha koum: Little girl, get up!
And then, just in case I needed further confirmation, an internet search on that scripture verse led to a YouTube video of a song by a group called His Own simply titled “Little Girl”. My eyes brimmed with tears and my heart warmed with thanks as I heard the words to the song. There it was.
Arise (Awaken, Revive)
If you’re still intrigued and enjoy reading other Word of the Year stories, Nikki just wrote a post about hers, a brief article of mine was just featured in the new The Central Minnesota Catholic magazine. (And last year I wrote a two part series here on the blog as well.) I find other’s stories inspiring and fascinating, but especially on what their word of the year means for them and how life events, joys and struggles, led them to rest in and identify more with their word of the year.
How about you? Do you seek out a word for your year? Does it find you or do you find it? What is your word for 2019? Maybe you can share it with someone and what you think it means for you in 2019 or how you’re already finding it revealed in unexpected (difficult or amazing) ways. Don’t be afraid to share your journey with others. A simple story like sharing your word may be a source of encouragement and inspiration for someone else.