Christian living, Personal

Choosing a word for the year

“Waterlilies” – painted card by Violet Nesdoly

Do you have some favourite routines or rituals that you go through at the beginning of the year? To my mind, starting a new calendar with a new “last name” lends itself to several traditions that I’ve enjoyed for many years. One of them is choosing a word for the year.

Even before I did that, I regularly chose a Bible verse that became my verse of the year. I started doing that at least as far back as 2005 (that’s the first year I have kept a record of my yearly verse). Then, in 2013, I became aware of the “One Little Word” (OLW) movement. That year I began choosing a yearly word along with my Bible verse. I’ve kept a record of my choices for each year. What fun it is to flip through my hand-printed-on-recipe-cards collection of OLWs and yearly Bible verses!

Here is my list since I started doing this:

2013 – FEARLESS – Isaiah 41:10

2014 – STRETCH – Isaiah 54:2

2015 – PRAY – Matthew 6:6

2016 – MINDFULNESS – Isaiah 26:3,4

2017 – LISTEN – John 10:3,4

2018 – FOCUS – Philippians 3:12-14

2019 – LOOK & WALK – Genesis 13:14,17; 15:3,5

2020 – FLOURISH – Psalm 92:10b, 12-15

2021 – DELIGHT – Psalm 37:4

What should I choose for 2022, I started asking myself as early as last November. A snippet heard on a Matt Tommey podcast sometime in 2021 got the wheels turning. When answering a question by a listener concerning which of several creative outlets the questioner should pursue, Tommey answered that many creatives are “polymaths,” i.e. people who have a variety of interests and skills in various arts, and that one’s season of life may help steer one in the direction to take.

That would be me, I thought. Not that I’m good at many things, but I do have interests in a variety of creative outlets. My parents insisted on piano lessons when I was a kid, I took lessons for many years, and managed to pass my Grade 9 Royal Conservatory piano exam before I quit. As a teen  I got interested in writing and have pursued that from youth through adult years. Visual art (sketching, drawing, painting, lettering) was also an interest, encouraged by my creative parents and siblings.  I have a rich heritage in the arts!

However, some of my skills have waned. My piano playing, for example, is now pathetic. That’s because I haven’t kept it up. Lately, since I’ve become interested in art, writing and my facility with words is waning. In a way I imagine myself as one of the servants in the parable by Jesus, who were given “talents” or resources to steward while their master was away. Someday I too will need to give an account. I ask myself, what kind of a job am I doing at stewarding the “talents” that I’ve been given?

And so I have decided that STEWARD will be my OLW for 2022, with Matthew 25:20, 21,29 as my Bible basis. I do so want to hear God’s “Well done, good and faithful servant” when I leave this sphere!

To help me STEWARD what I’ve been given, I have also set some goals in the use of my time as I seek to revive and sharpen each of these interests, to the extent that is realistic in this season of my life.  

What are your new year routines and traditions?  I’d love to read about them in comments!

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