Choosing a Word of the Year

For the past few years, I’ve chosen a word for the year. Well, the word actually chose me. Yes, there are online quizzes or reflection questions you could try, but I’ve found just opening yourself to receiving a guiding word will bring one your way. Just listen for it.

In 2019, my word was practice, as in try and try again. Practice gave me permission to experiment, risk, prototype, and fail. Growth, progress, and skill take time. She’s the word of grace this perfectionist needs.⁠

My word for 2020 was rhythm– the movement of practice. Intentionality, flow, consistency. I imagined a spiritually rich and disciplined year. Ha! Instead, it was a boatload of practice. Rhythm was jazz, not a march. Improvise. Keep showing up in the midst of constant adaptation, heartbreak, and lament. Rhythm has so much more to share with me.

My word for 2021 was truth. She arrived in the middle of a Zoom gathering with my author buddies at the Light House. Truth was the permission I needed to make space for deep conversation, especially the uncomfortable and taboo.

When things got tough and I wanted to hold back, I’d find myself saying, “My word for the year is truth” and what I needed to say made its way out of my heart. Every time this happened, the gift of truth broke the conversation open in beautiful and needed ways.   

Truth was the exact word I needed to companion me through the major transitions of 2021

  • a six-week renewal leave which included some travel and a much-needed counseling intensive at Quiet Waters in Colorado
  • saying goodbye to my congregation in Sarasota and hello to my new congregation in New Smyrna Beach, Coronado Community United Methodist Church
  • Ed and I buying a house. We never dreamed we’d have this opportunity before retirement. Plus, we’re finally under the same roof after decades of separation due to work.
  • my mom’s cancer diagnosis and my sister’s incredible caregiving of her. Mom’s doing well.
  • the marriage of our beloved Laura and Kevin
  • the scary and exciting decision to start a publishing business for my writing called Via Lexi. More to come as that unfolds.
  • a new partnership with the good folks at The Pastor’s Workshop as a contributor of prayer, liturgy, and sermon resources
  • the surprising birth of our beloved Lily Joy, our first grandchild, to our beloved Elyse and Sam. She arrived two weeks early and was a girl instead of the boy they thought they saw in the ultrasound. Elyse, Sam, and Lily are living with us, so I get to hold her every day. I’m over the moon.
  • starting 2022 with Covid. I’m quarantining in our travel trailer this week.

That’s a lot.

What’s surprised me most about receiving a word for the year is the way they abide. These wise companions don’t come and go. They move in and continue to offer grace year after year like a tribe of dear friends. They collaborate with one another and encourage one another to share even more with me as I’m ready to receive it.

So, who’s moving in this year? Curious.

Curious showed up bags in hand last week as a total shock. I even kept her at the door a while thinking she’d made a wrong turn, but no. Curious is here to stay. She knows I need her to help me with my dualistic thinking and my ugly bent to judging. So welcome sister Curious. I’m ready to receive.

What word is choosing you this year? I’d love to hear your story.  

6 thoughts on “Choosing a Word of the Year

  1. Hi Lisa….glad that you are well enough to be up and writing. Macon has asked us to read and choose a book about a word. Have ordered it and expect it in the next few days. Blessings and Love, Donna

  2. Lisa, My word for 2022 is “explore”. I want to explore how I can have a deeper faith relationship. I want to explore new places to visit. I want to explore how to have more meaningful relationships with my family and friends. Any kind of exploring I do will require me to be more thoughtful and careful in how I think, speak and act which I hope will result in continued self-growth. I ordered a book “Explore Your Faith” to get me started!

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