Do you pick a word for the year?
I started to do this a few years ago when a friend asked me to illustrate her word so she could display it and remember it all year. I don’t actually remember what that first word was, but for about three years afterward I kept the same word: “attend.” Apparently one year was not enough for me to get the message.
For 2018, I knew that I would be finishing grad school and moving back to Georgia, thus moving out of our 610 sq. ft. apartment (that was also my studio.) I was anticipating all the extra space in my schedule and in my physical surroundings, and I was ready for it. I chose the word, “space,” because I wanted that feeling to seep into my spirit as well. To me, it meant an abundance of time and peace to do the things that God had for me to do.
This past week, I was cleaning out my studio (which is now a room of its own, praise the Lord!) and I came across a charm that I’ve been storing and moving around with me for over three years. After my mom died in 2015, I bought a necklace at a craft fair that had the quote from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: “When he shakes his mane we shall have spring again.” It reminded me that I would see my mom again. Along with this, I bought an arrow charm, in a set of two different charms, to put on the necklace because my mom always called us her arrows.
So, the charm that came with it, that I’ve been holding on to but not using? It says, “Soar.” It’s never meant anything to me until now. And all of a sudden, it means everything.
I’ve worked so hard this year to get to a place where I am set up to accomplish what God is calling me to do. Being a mom, with limited time and resources, I feel like it’s a sloooooow slog uphill in the rain to get anywhere, and it often feels like nothing is getting done. But when I look back on what I’ve accomplished, I’m amazed! Big things get done in small bits.
There is so much more to be done, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. I have moments every day when I doubt that I’m in the right place, doing the right thing, and sometimes I’m tempted to scrap it all! But I’m going to keep showing up, and I’m going to soar.
I know, I know…that sounds so cheesy. This is definitely not a word I would have chosen for myself. It’s too sentimental and motivational-sounding for my taste. But here it is, my word of the year, brought to me by God and a little charm that I carried around for years for no reason at all.
This is what it tells me: God is carrying me, like an eagle on the updraft, like an arrow flying toward its mark. The power is not my own. It’s my job to fly straight and catch the wind. Am I mixing metaphors? Yes. These metaphors mean soooo much to me, like deep in my soul and memory and imagination. So I do not care. They come together in this single word: SOAR.
So, what is your word of the year? If you don’t know, ask God to show it to you. It doesn’t need to be poetic or motivational. It doesn’t need to mean anything to anyone except you. In fact, maybe it isn’t even a word, but an image. Pick something to carry with you throughout this year or season that reminds you that God is thinking about you and is looking out for you. Because he is.