A Word for the Year

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A few weeks ago, Cherie, a Canadian friend of mine, happened to mention in a chat we were having on Facebook that she had identified her word for the next year.

A word for the year?

I vaguely recall other people had mentioned it. I stumbled across a post from one of my favourite bloggers, Ann Voskamp, who adheres to the practice.

I quizzed Cherie a little on its purpose for her, and her response got me thinking. She described it as a marker for defining the year or an attribute one may seek to develop.

I like the idea. I see it as a one-word goal almost. I’m not sure it would necessarily define my year, that is, I’d still set other goals. But I would hope it would have a gentle presence throughout my days.

So what would be my word?

I soon took it to prayer to see if the Lord had any great ideas.

You’ll recall I was quite taken by my first experience of observing Advent during December. So immediately words like: “adoration”, “devotion” and “intimacy” came to mind.

“Holiness” is an old chestnut that quickly got thrown in the mix. One of my daily devotionals mentioned it too:

“Being made in God’s image and reflecting His holiness is to be our supreme aim, and when we do so, the Lord’s glory shines brightly in us.”1

That pushed me over the line. So much so, just prior to Christmas, I emailed Cherie letting her know I’d arrived at my word for the year. I felt pretty chuffed.

A week ago as I was praying, I sensed the need to journal my prayer. I’ve done this a few times previously but it’s never become a habit. Friends of mine do this as a regular practice. Having just completed “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young, a 365 day devotional of what Sarah believes Jesus was saying to her on any given day, I quickly grabbed pen and starting writing in my Moleskin.

I’ve continued the practice most days since.

Intimacy, obedience, devotion, experiencing Jesus, time with Jesus, have been regular impressions from these notations.

How do we ‘experience’ Jesus? How does one hear God? How do we listen for His voice?

Yes, we could discuss these topics at length, and perhaps during the course of the year, we will do just that.

But I was drawn back to the stories of Zechariah and Elizabeth from my Advent reading. They both had long periods of quiet during Elizabeth’s pregnancy: Zechariah nine months, Elizabeth five. Time to meditate and contemplate all Gabriel had told them and whom they were soon to introduce to the world.

“The more we inhabit silence, the better our hearing becomes. When we step back into the noise of our world, our hearing is a bit more fine-tuned and more likely to catch God’s whispers. In this way, we learn to stay alert and awake”2

And there it was!

My word for the year.


I want to catch God’s whispers this year.

What does this look like? I’m not sure yet. However, for the first two days of 2013 I’ve spent some of my prayer time being quiet, reflecting on my prayers and the verses I’ve read. And journaling.

I plan to keep doing this for now.

I’ll let you know during the year what I’m learning and experiencing from adopting a practice of being silent.

Oh, by the way, my friend’s word is JOY. Her six-strong blogging team is sharing their individual “words for the year” on their blog this week.

Do you have a Word for the year? I’d love to hear what it is.

Notes: 1. c/o Tabletalk from Ligonier Ministries and RC Sproul, 2. “Silence – and other Surprising Invitations of Advent”, Enuma Okoro, Upper Room, p.56

11 replies
  1. Grant Gagnon
    Grant Gagnon says:

    Great Word Ian. – Silence.
    My favourite verse regarding silence has to do with Elijah in 1 King 19:9-13. Hopefully studying these scriptures will give you some more insight into your word of the year.

    • Ian
      Ian says:

      Hi Grant, thanks for popping by.

      Ah yes, Elijah and the gentle whisper. Appreciate you sharing that with me. Take care and hope the New Year starts well for you.


  2. Ian
    Ian says:

    Thanks Susan. I’m looking forward to reading all of the Pages From Stages team’s “words”. Yes, I’m hoping more silence will allow me to draw closer to Jesus.

    Take care. I do enjoy reading the Pages from Stages posts.


  3. Sara Meisinger
    Sara Meisinger says:

    Wonderful post, Ian. I can’t wait to see what happens as you experience this word. Thanks for choosing one word with us!

    • Ian
      Ian says:

      Thanks Sara. I’m eagerly awaiting your Friday (?) post to see what your’s might be. I’m loving my early morning silence so far, hoping it continues for the next 361 days. Thanks for popping by. Ian

  4. Joanne
    Joanne says:

    My word for 2011 was Jesus. 3 months into the year I was baptized again!? This year I’ve grown into LEADER. Came to me quite surprisingly in church service. I don’t see myself in that role but most recently God has pointed out that my actions are exactly to be described as a leader. I was blind and now I see because that veil is pierced again! Godspeed in your silence Ian. I have no doubt it will = REVELATIONS!

    • Ian
      Ian says:

      Thanks Joanne for sharing your Word for this year. Be bold in your leadership. Interesting that Leader followed soon after “Jesus” as your words. His leadership model is the best one to follow.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] may recall my Word for 2013 is Silence. You can read my post on it here. We welcomed, Beanie, our x-kelpie pup, in February and this served to interrupt my morning routine […]

  2. […] I love learning and discovered so much in those 20 or so days. This led me to my word of the year, “Silence” and an increasing desire for intimacy with the […]

  3. […] I’ve started most days this year sitting for ten minutes in silence, as part of my new desire to better experience God. If you missed the background for this, please check out this post on “A Word for the Year.” […]

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