starting the new year

Photo by Jan Tinneberg on Unsplash

I have so many thoughts swirling around in my mind. I struggled with what to write about today, but I’ve landed on sharing my “word” for the year. It seems my word needs to exist “out loud” to be real and garner the power I want it to have in this next year. (Have you heard that? When you want to significantly increase your chance of following through on a next step or commitment, share it with someone else. The simple act of vocalizing the goal gives you more accountability and drive to achieve it.)

So, here I go… making myself accountable to you – however that may look in our virtually connected world.

My word for 2021 is HOPE.

I want to be a person of hope. I feel like I have lost hope in some areas of my life. I’ve become more cynical and less trusting. Not in such an obvious, out-there-visible kind of way (unless some of you tell me you’ve experienced me differently), but rather in that internal, down-deep-consistently-nagging, shallow-breathing-anxious sort of manner.

When I thought about this more, I discovered that I had lost some of my willingness to trust God with my whole heart. I recognize I am afraid of the disappointment I will experience if I ask for something I deeply desire and then do not receive it. More intense digging revealed that I doubt His sincere concern for my wants and desires. And I’ve connected this to my childhood experiences with my dad. Although he always met our basic needs, and I believe he loved me, I don’t remember feeling that he delighted in giving me something. I don’t remember him ever asking me what I wanted.

So, this next year, I want to face the reality of how those emotions battle for my soul and do the intentional relationship work with God to recover my ability to dream and anticipate and ask. Hope can resurface despite the inevitable – and sometimes many – unmet desires and seemingly-unanswered prayers. I want to re-grow my ability to believe and trust and hope.

Secondly, I want to be a purveyor of hope to others. Our company is going through organizational structure changes, which can shake confidence and security foundations for some. When future direction and role clarity is uncertain, people can feel lost and fearful and without hope. I want to engage with these challenges and struggles and find places where I can listen or help and offer hope. Just as in my situation, I can bring wise words, to-the-point resources, or an elaborately detailed plan, but my most valuable contribution may be to encourage a more in-depth look at the heart to uncover the in-the-shadows hope-resisters that operate there. I am learning that when we unveil those truths, they lose much of their power, and we can re-kindle life-giving hope.

How are you starting your new year? Do you have a “word” or specific focus or desire for this next year?

12 thoughts on “starting the new year

  1. My word is AUTHORITY. For some reason, I feel that I have to write that in capital letters! 🙂

    I resonate, though, with the “sore places” in your heart left by your dad. I have similar wounds and was challenged recently to think more deeply about them and how they continue to impact my life. Ugh!

    • I love the AUTHORITY in all CAPS. 🙂 I’d love to hear more about your word and what it means to you. And, oh, those dad wounds. At our age… still learning new things about ourselves and our roots. So crazy. Wish we could talk in person! Miss you lots, friend. xoxo

  2. I really enjoyed reading this. I appreciate your vulnerability and authenticity, along with your deep insight and deliberate way of thinking. I generally have a word that is passive for me–something I write in a birthday letter to myself to open the following year and to see how that word may have been true. I think it would be good to have a word for this year to have in front of me as well, however. PEACE. A lot has happened already this year, and it makes me see how I’m going to need to really focus on God and cut out anything that threatens to steal my peace. Thank you for your thoughts and how they have encouraged me to do this. Here’s to a new year!

    • PEACE is a great word, Colleen. I believe as you find peace with God, you will also find ways to share that with others – like on your blog. I look forward to reading about how God leads you.

  3. For this year I initially picked DARE as my word. Dare to dream, dare to hope, dare to change. But upon further reflection I realized I’m not a daring person. As much as I would like to be. When I actually said the word out loud I couldn’t see myself doing it.
    But I am a thoughtful, rational, common sense type person. So I changed it to CHOOSE. Choose to dream, Tuesday hub, choose to change. Reminding myself daily that it is my choice whether I am happy or sad, my choice whether I exercise or not, my choice how I choose to react to others. My choice whether I look for hope or fear in the coming year. Its not always easy to choose wisely, sometimes it’s easier to wallow in self-pity and make excuses. And sometimes that’s probably the choice I will make. However hopefully more often than not I will make the better choice.

    • I love your self-awareness, Karen – realistic and still gentle with yourself. “Choose” is a great word and will definitely take courage if not daring. 🙂 I battle to make good, wise choices each day too. Sometimes, we have to choose to love ourselves and give grace and even forgive. And then, move on to the next choice opportunity. Thanks for the reminder. Let’s talk soon. I miss you. xoxo.

  4. You’ve taken on the challenge of believing the best of God. Isn’t that what hope is? I read a quote by C.S. Lewis recently that went something like this: “It’s not that we question whether God has our best at heart; we wonder how painful that best will end up being for us.” And thanks for the reminder that our outfit needs to have hope as we move forward–even though it will often be clothed with disappointment and discouragement. I love this word–and I love you, my friend.

    • Oh, yes… trusting that His best won’t be painful – too painful or only painful. Hope trusts that there is good – pleasant, joyful, growing good – that is also part of His plan. We do all need that as we look ahead. Love you too!

    • Encouragement is a great word, Erin. I know I definitely need people of encouragement in my life. I’ll be praying that God gives you many opportunities to feel encouraged and to encourage others.

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