Hey 2016, What’s The Word?

Does your family choose a word to represent your heart and goals for the year? Do you personally? Often the word God gives us as we start afresh can speak volumes about the work God is doing below the surface in our hearts and what he longs to do for our families. So what's your word? And what's your story?

My mind has a very active delete button.

Like seriously.

Not too long ago, we were at the orthodontist’s office discussing the possibility of a dental implant for our oldest daughter, and I simply could not wrap my brain around the procedure. The very patient doctor kindly retrieved a model as a visual aid, adding, “Didn’t I show this model to you guys when we had our initial consult?”

Why yes… yes, he did. {NOW I remember!} At that time, however, we were leaning toward not doing the implant. Therefore…


While my very active delete button keeps my brain from imploding, it simultaneously drives my husband nuts.

Because I quite often use my delete button on conversations I have with him.

And that’s not good.

But also, I use the delete button on my daughters. Just yesterday in the grocery store, I couldn’t find a disposable pan — the kind you’d use for the gifting of a casserole to a friend, and my 14-year-old prattled on about buying a pie crust in a pan, and… well, I’m not sure about the rest. Why? Because as soon as she suggested buying a pie crust, I was like nope, bad idea, delete.

I actually stopped paying attention to her even before she had finished speaking.

And she knew it. Because after 30 seconds or so, she said, “MOM! Are you even LISTENING to me??”

The truth? No. No I was not.

But that didn’t stop me from stumbling around trying to recall the gist of her words so I could prove, wrongly, that indeed I had been listening. You know, sort of.

Recently, some friends and I attended a small informational meeting about prayer, and through it, I discovered that taking time to listen and hear — really hear — from God takes both practice and discipline. In the weeks after that powerful session, I’ve discovered that my time with God involves a lot of reading {I absolutely crave and love reading Scripture}, and lots of talking and journaling {as in from me, to God}. But what it doesn’t involve much is me listening to God.

What’s kind of disappointing about this revelation is that all along I’ve actually counted listening as one of my strengths. {I know, right? I’m a little slow on the uptake.}

But what God has been hinting around at {for a while now}, is that He’d like to see me listen better — to Him, to my husband, to my girls, to my friends, to strangers.

And so, my word for 2016 is “listen.” Already, as I awkwardly practice better listening skills, I sense a quieting not only of my mouth, but also of my spirit. I’m pretty excited to see what God’s got in store for me this year.

I know some of you, like me, choose a word each year — a theme on which to focus and learn and grow. Some of you are very rigorous in keeping a journal, recording quotes & Scripture, and praying about your word; some of you are a little more relaxed in just being mindful of the word laid upon your heart.

What’s most intriguing to me at the beginning of a new year, however, is the story behind each person’s word selection — I love to know why people settle on a particular word.

Well, now that you know the story behind my word, I’d love to hear the story behind yours! Would you take a minute to share your story in the comments?

Striving to be a better listener,


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  1. My word this year is “LAND”. We have been preparing for a lot of changes over 2015. I was really dragging my feet out of fear and anxiety over the unknown. We took the leap in 2014, letting go of expectations, launched our house on the market in 2015 and are expecting to land. I know God has a plan for us, and I’m fully ready to listen and wait for his plan to land.

    1. I LOVE this word! Great story, too, about letting go of expectations as you prepare for the changes. So often, I think we sabotage our ability to change well when we set up unrealistic (or even realistic!) expectations.

  2. My daughter gifted me with a necklace at Christmas that had my dad’s handwriting on it. He passed away four years ago and I was able to get his Bible. She browsed through it and found a phrase he had written in the margins – “seek his presence” and had that phrase put on the necklace. Of course I cried upon seeing it. As I wore that and thought upon it, I thought it would make a great word for the year. So “seek” it is. I’m going to use this year to seek His presence as I’ve never done before. There are hundreds of verses in the Bible about seeking Him, so this must be important to Him…therefore, it should be important to us. We so often just give Him the leftover minutes, and I want to invite Him in to the hours of my days instead.

  3. What a lovely, lovely story! And that necklace! SO special! And what you said there at the end? About inviting Him into the HOURS of our days, and not just into the leftover minutes? THAT is going to be sticking with me for a long time. Thanks for taking the time to share!

  4. My word for this year is “Timing” My husbands job situation has been uncertain for the last 3 years, so last year around June I applied for a couple jobs. One of them responded, but its been very sparse contact until this month when I found out I got the job. Then, on a Tuesday I was told it hadn’t been approved, and on Friday of the same week they said it was approved. Anyway, everything in God’s Timing! Now I’m starting in February and missing the biggest part of the storms going through the area.
    I can’t wait to see how God’s timing changes my year.

    My daughter chose ‘Happy’ and put smiley faces on her picture.

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