Word for the Year: 2021

I enjoy the process of choosing a word to guide each year. Rather than having a prophetic tone, for me the word for the year is something to keep top of mind throughout the year, something related to my goals that keeps me focused. This year my word is one that is a big departure from my usual selections, but it is [IM]perfect for me for 2021.

Spacestor | The Secret of Wabi-Sabi

In years past I have chosen words full of action and momentum and, well, pressure. I set lofty goals and rigid plans to bring those goals to fruition. Honestly, it was an exhausting and frustrating process.

With all that happened in 2020, I just cannot bring myself to approach the New Year in the same way. Honestly I am tired and frustrated and unsure. But I do cling to one Truth–that God is still Sovereign. He is still ruling and overruling.

So for this new year the word to be chosen had to be less about doing and more about being. I came across this concept months ago and had been mulling it over in the back of my mind for a long time. I am a deeply flawed individual in need of Christ’s saving work in my life. This word will remind me that even in my brokenness He can make beauty, not for my sake but for His.

Maybe you are like me. I tend to be very critical of myself, second guessing decisions and criticizing most every decision from small to great. Instead of embracing my flaws I try to hide them or pretend they are not there. The Japanese art of Kintsugi celebrates the flaws in pottery by filling the gaps and cracks with gold. This visually sums up the idea of wabi-sabi. I want to spend less time criticizing myself and more time marveling at how God has turned my flaws into a testimony.

As a human I am incomplete. I am flawed. I am decaying. But in Christ I am Complete, made Perfect, and raised together with Him. This sums up my word for 2021 pretty well.

This word for the new year shines the spotlight not on “doing” but “being”. And I am excited to see how I can express this word in my art and in my life.

Word of the Year 2020

I have participated in developing a word of the year (WOTY) for many years now. It is a great exercise that helps me set my frame of mind for the year. I think it is scriptural to give a word a theme. It’s not that I am predicting the future, it is more that I am striving to live the year with a certain intention or frame of mind.

Some years I have put much prayer and thought into my word and it has been a sort of struggle to land on the word that just felt…right. 2018 was “consistency.” Last year my word was “grit.” This year choosing my word was relatively easy. I have a lot of things I want to accomplish in 2020 and I cannot get them done if I am not consistent in my actions.

Let’s do a short word study on my word for this year: EXECUTE.

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Let’s do a word study on my word for this year:

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines execute as: “Literally, to follow out or through. Hence, to perform; to do; to effect; to carry into complete effect; to complete; to finish. We execute a purpose, a plan, design or scheme; we execute a work undertaken, that is, we pursue it to the end.”

Key words from this definition that are defined:

C̵OMPLE´TE, v. t. To finish; to end; to perfect; as, to complete a bridge, or an edifice; to complete an education.

  1. To fill; to accomplish; as, to complete hopes or desires.
  2. To fulfil; to accomplish; to perform; as, the prophecy of Daniel is completed.

PERFORM´, v. t. [L. per and formo, to make.]

  1. To do; to execute; to accomplish; as, to perform two days’ labor in one day; to perform a noble deed or achievement.
  2. To execute; to discharge; as, to perform a duty or office.
  3. To fulfill; as, to perform a covenant, promise or contract; to perform a vow.
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FIN´ISH, v. t. [Arm. finiçza; Fr. finir; L. finio, from finis, an end, Ir. fuin, W. fin. Class Bn. No. 23.]

  1. To arrive at the end of, in performance; to complete; as, to finish a house; to finish a journey.
    Thus the heavens and the earth were finished. Gen. 2.
  2. To make perfect.
    Episodes, taken separately, finish nothing. Broome.
  3. To bring to an end; to end; to put an end to.
    Seventy weeks are determined on thy people, and on thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and make an end of sins. Dan. 9.
  4. To perfect; to accomplish; to polish to the degree of excellence intended. In this sense it is frequently used in the participle of the perfect tense as an adjective. It is a finished performance. He is a finished scholar.

PURSŪE, v. t. [Fr. poursuivre; pour and suivre, to follow, L. sequor; prosequor, or persequor. See Seek.]

  1. To follow; to go or proceed after or in a like direction. The captain pursued the same course as former navigators have taken. A subsequent legislature pursued the course of their predecessors.
  2. To take and proceed in, without following another. Captain Cook pursued a new and unexplored course. New circumstances often compel us to pursue new expedients and untried courses. What course shall we pursue?
  3. To follow with a view to overtake; to follow with haste; to chase; as, to pursue a hare; to pursue an enemy.
  4. To seek; to use measures to obtain; as, to pursue a remedy at law.
  5. To prosecute; to continue. A stream proceeds from a lake and pursues a southerly course to the ocean.
    He that pursueth evil, pursueth it to his own death. Prov. 11.
  6. To follow as an example; to imitate.
    The fame of ancient matrons you pursue. Dryden.
  7. To endeavor to attain to; to strive to reach or gain. We happiness pursue; we fly from pain.

Scriptures that apply

Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also. 2 Cor. 8:6

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.  And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. Gen 2:2,3

But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20:24

My definition

Execute: the act of bringing a thing to conclusion or completion using a deliberate plan of action.

Biblical principle at work: Principle of Christian character

In a future post I will share some outstanding resources that are going to help me get to the finish line at the end of 2020. I plan to share monthly the progress (or lack thereof) on a few of my goals.

Have you ever created your word for the year? Do you have one for 2020? Leave a comment and share it!

2014 word

A few years back I started coming up with a word to encapsulate the coming year. It is usually something I want to develop or a character trait I desire. See the past years here here and here.

This year was especially challenging. It wasn’t easy but the more I considered it one word came into focus. Then I received a book that sealed the deal for me. The word is

image courtesy crdotx

Concise and to the point. It invokes a couple of different images for me. One is that of, well, growing. Duh I know. I picture my little self maturing and bearing fruit. The other is that of a seed. It must die and be planted if it is to grow. I must die to myself a lot this coming year. I will be stretched and challenged beyond anything I have experienced to this point. And that takes some dying. Dying to grow.

I will be sharing more on this in upcoming posts. Please leave a comment on your word for the year if you have one, or on your thoughts regarding mine. I look forward to chatting!

On naming the new year

Reading Ann’s post on her yearly ritual challenged and inspired me. I never had thought of doing that before but it makes sense. Naming a year seems to make it more purposeful, more important, more intimate.

So I set out to discover my own word for 2011. Like a child in a wondrous candy store, nose pressed, heated breath fogging the glass, I searched for the perfect word to summarize the focus of 2011. Would I choose something sweet and lemony like Refreshing? Maybe sugary, satisfying Joy instead. Or would I select the licorice root Righteousness? Oh what a wonderful dilemma!

So while I prayerfully considered my choices I reviewed some of the scriptures that have spoken to my heart lately. Then it jumped out at me.


And if you pour out that with which you sustain your own life for the hungry and satisfy the need of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in darkness, and your obscurity and gloom become like the noonday. Is 58:10

I am poured out to be refilled.

It’s not simply “giving ’til it hurts” or until I am depleted. God doesn’t work that way. He gently and completely pours into us so that we can pour ourselves out again.

It’s such a beautiful thing when it comes full circle. Pouring to be refilled to pour out again. I am going to seek out ways to pour out to my family, my friends, the world, so that their needs might be met. And then getting refilled becomes the sweetest treat of all.