A New Year, A New Word

Sometimes you try things and they surprise you. That’s how this “word of the year” thing was for me. I’d done it off and on for several years, but last year, I decided to make it part of my art practice for a bit. After some self reflection and review, I felt like “listen” was the right fit for me. It wasn’t condemning or pushy…just inviting. It really did feel like it was something God wanted me to focus on for the year.

What was surprising about this experiment is that it worked. I grabbed on to that word and I kept it close all year. I would start my day with a prayer for help to listen. It would echo in my mind throughout the day. I was more aware of the times when I wasn’t listening. I thought for sure that I would get to the end of January and it would be a fun idea that didn’t go anywhere, but that’s not at all what happened. It has stuck.

Does this mean that I now am the best listener on the planet? Ha! No. If anything, this word focus has shown me how much I have to grow in this area, but after a year of attempting to listen better, I don’t feel like I’ve missed the mark. I don’t feel like I failed or didn’t do enough. I made progress. I got the chance to work on something that was important to me and do it imperfectly. That’s a gift and I’m grateful for it.

Practicing my listening with my nephew on a hike.

As the year closes, I’ve been praying about a new word. It feels like lessons of “listen” are complete (for a time) and it is time to move on to a new focus. One that I wasn’t ready for before but I am now. “Trust.”

For me, this is a very challenging word. I’m naturally a “do it yourself” kind of girl and I struggle to trust in anything but my own two hands. If I’m honest, I am not even sure I really trust myself that much, but at least, I have no one else to blame when things go awry. My journey with “listen” has helped prepare me for moving into this more challenging word. What have I heard?

God: I love you and you can trust what I have for you.

Me: I don’t know….I think I might be able to do this better.

Me: I really don’t think I can do this. I’m not at all sure about this.

God: Trust that I know what I’m doing through you and for you.

Me: I don’t know….

What did I hear from myself? Doubt. So much of it. Doubt in myself and doubt in God. What did I hear from God? Reassurance in the form of the word "trust."

I have no idea what trust will look like this year. It’s scary and thrilling at the same time. I’m going to start with making. After I have figured out my word for the year, I create a collage piece that captures the essence of the word. This was last year’s listen.

"Listen", paper collage and acrylic on panel, NFS

The process of creating something while I think on it helps solidify its presence in my life. I think with my mind, feel with my heart and make with my hands. My whole self is involved in this creative process. That's one of the reasons its so powerful.

Maybe this idea of focusing on a word for the year is brand new to you. Maybe it’s something you’ve been doing for ages. Either way, I hope you find that word that anchors you this year. If you aren’t sure where to start, I’ve got a guide you can use that can help you find it. Click here to get it.

If you are ready to make your word and help it move into a deeper place in your heart and mind, I’m hosting an online workshop on January 22nd from 9-2pm. You can grab a spot by clicking here. Need supplies too? Click here to get supplies and a workshop spot.

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