I don’t know when it started but at some point it became “trendy” to have a word for the upcoming year. After watching people post about it I decided to jump on the bandwagon. Some years it seemed that my word came quickly; other years I struggled to find something that I could stick with.
I’ve had years when the word that kept coming to me was a word I didn’t like… JOY, for example. It seemed so basic until I realized that I often focused so much on the future that I didn’t find the joy in everyday moments. (That’s still a struggle for me)
There was the year that I thought the word REDEEM meant that my marriage was going to be redeemed, when in fact it meant that I was being redeemed.
In 2021 my word was ROAR. I realized that I needed to learn to speak up and when 2022 rolled around I kept that word because I hadn’t quite learned the lesson.
So how do you even go about finding a word for the year?
Well, there are lots of articles and tips but I’ll tell you how it usually works for me.
In December I started thinking about the past year. What was hard and beautiful? What did I learn or accomplish? What do I still need to work on and how do I want my life to change in the new year?
In many ways 2022 was hard. I sold my house and learned to live in a space that is not my own. I helped my kids move out-of-state and experienced the hardships of menopause. Most days I felt “bat-shit crazy” and not myself.
With the hard came the beautiful. I met friends in my new community, watched my kids heal and I experienced love and patience from a partner, family and friends who rode the roller coaster with me. (They still are)
All of this reflection on 2022 brought a desire for change in 2023.
Even if life feels like a roller coaster, I want to remain steady.
I paid attention to songs, books or movies that were stirring me.
This year it was a random song on Spotify: Abide in Me by Andrew Marcus.
I don’t remember what was going on the day I first heard it but the lyrics stood out to me:
“I am the vine you are the branch
Do not forsake me
Come and reside with me
And I’ll show you my glory
Abide in me”
I immediately thought of the verses in John 15:
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 (NKJV)
I wondered, is “abide” my word for 2023? I asked God to make it clear.
Of course because I added the song to my favorites and it was at the top of the list, I heard it alot.
I did some research on the word - abide.
accept or act in accordance with (a rule, decision, or recommendation).
be able to tolerate (someone or something)
Honestly, it didn’t make sense to me so I held the word loosely in my mind and kept asking God to lead me. I grew a little frustrated as I watched people confidently post their word for 2023.
And then one morning I was still because I was sick. While scrolling through social media I saw this text on Ann Voskamp’s Facebook Page.
“A thousand ways the winds blow hard.
Stay, Soul, just stay on Jesus.
Let the winds hurry on, let the worry blow away. In the still, you'll know His will.
Breathe slow — stay anchored in His love, so no storm can sting, no wind can move you:
Stay, Soul, stay on God.
Feel the weight of His love, the gravity of His goodness,
let the closeness of God weigh you down in the blasting storm, so you simply stay unmoved.
Stay the mind on God, and there is no storm in the world that can move you from the peace of God.”
Is that the word for 2023? Stay?
I did a quick search for the definition and these stood out to me
“to spend some time in a place, in a situation, with a person or group, etc”
In my case - stay in God’s presence, fixed on what He says about me, Trust that He has my future.
“To hold back, detain, or restrain, as from going further.”
Hmmm…..that sounds like what I need to do before I jump on the crazy train.
“to support, prop, or hold up; to sustain or strengthen mentally or spiritually;
to rest on (something, as a foundation or base) for support.”
“a large strong rope usually of wire used to support a mast”
As I did a little more research I learned from Lifeofsailing.com that a sailboat stay is a cable that supports the mast by bearing the weight of the wind.
I searched for synonyms for Stay and smiled when I saw the word Abide.
I went back to the graphic from Ann Voskamp and realized that this is what I want for myself in 2023.
Peace in the midst of the crazy.
And so I asked for confirmation.
I listened to the Abide song again and realized that the lyrics that keep drawing me back are these:
“Stay close, don’t let go
For the seed I plant brings peace that always grows
Stay close, don’t let go
Abide in me”
I’ve been singing this song for a month. It’s the first song that comes on when I choose my Liked songs on Spotify. The word, “Stay” was there the whole time.
And so my friends, this is how I found my word for 2023.
I'll be honest, it's March and I havent focused on my word as much as maybe I've needed to. Even reading this is a remimder to myself of what I feel like God was telling me in January. It's an invitation, once again to STAY.
There are lots of resources out there to help you find your word for the year and it's not too late. I’ll post them below. I would love to hear how you find your word and how it helps you get healthy.
Morgan Harper Nichols - 100 Word of the Year Ideas
Word of the Year Game - This a “game” that lets people take a screenshot of very fast moving images to randomly pick a word of the year, just for fun.
10 Things to do with your word of the year
Have your word printed on a journal or piece of jewelry. Cate Florey makes beautiful jewelry and journals. Follow her on Instagram