A word for the new year

5 01 2011

I don’t make new year’s resolutions, but I do tend to get thoughtful this time of year. That zero becoming a one — such a seemingly small change — carries a lot of significance. I can’t ignore the slow-motion ticking of the giant clock. One year farther from the starting gate. One year closer to the finish line. Whether I mean to or not, I find myself taking stock. Looking back at what was, looking forward to . . . what?

I don’t make new year’s resolutions, but last week I noticed a trend in several blogs I enjoy. As part of Ann Voskamp’s “Walk With Him Wednesday” blog challenge, people were choosing a word for the year. Ann chose the word, “here.” Jennifer at Getting Down With Jesus chose “imperfect.”  I’m not sure why, but for some reason this idea resonated with me and even struck me as important. I wanted a word for the new year. And it had to be the right one.

If 2011 is a road, I confess I can’t see too far ahead. We have some decisions to make, and I have no idea what lies beyond those bends. But I have a picture — the same picture I’ve had since the day it painted itself in my mind as a young believer more than thirty years ago. It’s a simple picture, but has proven relentlessly true. I’m walking beside Jesus, holding His hand with childlike trust, and we’re nearing a corner. I can’t see what’s around it, and a twinge of fear pricks my heart. But then I look up into His face and see joyful anticipation there. He knows. And that’s enough.

This choosing of a word to name the year is serious business. Over the past week as I’ve pondered it, several words presented themselves as candidates, all of them worthy in their way. Two major contenders were Obedience and its cousin, Discipline. Not that I’m a rebellious slug, but I long for more of both. To live what I say I believe. To seize opportunity, not squandering my moments. To number my days and present to God a heart of wisdom. But I wasn’t convinced either of those words were the right one.

Then, this morning, it came to me, and I instantly knew. Rest. My word for the year is rest. Not the rest of idleness, but the rest of choosing the better part that won’t be taken away. Not the rest of the discharged soldier entangled in the affairs of every day life, but the rest of the soldier at ease, quiet, awaiting his marching orders. The rest that has ceased from its own works — that has no righteousness of its own based on performance, but that righteousness which comes through faith in Christ alone. The rest that can only be entered by those who believe.

This year I want to rest. Rest in readiness. Rest in faith. Rest in holiness. And as I strive to enter that rest, I believe I will find obedience and discipline already living there.

And now I’d like to enlist your help.  Even though I’m a week behind, I added Ann’s “Walk With Him Wednesday” button to today’s post, because a.) it’s Wednesday, and her post last week inspired this one, and b.) I’m not sure how this will pan out, but I’d like to pursue a more community-focused approach to blogging this year. I’ve been a woeful failure at self-imposed consistency in this space, and yet I’ve managed to faithfully post on The Master’s Artist twice a month since 2004, rarely missing my slot. The difference? I expect it has a lot to do with community and accountability. And reasonable goals. Twice a month on a group blog is a piece of cake. Surely I can manage at least a couple of posts a week here.

So, here’s your mission, should you choose to accept it: Share with me your favorite weekly or monthly community blog events. I’m already scoping out Ann’s One Thousand Gifts for Mondays, along with L.L. Barkat’s On, In, and Around Mondays as one with just the sort of precision (or lack thereof) to fit my personality. I’m even up for a good photo challenge or theme-a-ma-jig, but there are so many out there, I’d love to hear which ones especially inspire you. Thanks in advance. And Happy New Year.



19 responses

5 01 2011
Michelle Pendergrass

I started the One Thousand Gifts with Ann in November. (LOVE it!)

I do a photography challenge every week. Surely you’d like that! 🙂

5 01 2011
Michelle Pendergrass

(oh and my word is Gratitude)

5 01 2011

Thanks, Michelle! I’ve seen your One Thousand Gifts posts. Always a blessing. I’ll check out the photography challenge. And “Gratitude” is a GREAT word! xo

5 01 2011
Barbara H.

I’ve seen a few blog friends posting words for the year. So far I haven’t felt led to do that. In retrospect if I had to choose a word to describe last year, it would have been “change.” Every single member of my family moved to another state last year, several of us within two weeks of each other. I wouldn’t want to do that again! Some possible changes we foresaw in January, some we didn’t see, some ramifications we anticipated and some we didn’t. I like your word for this year. One of my favorite verses is from Isaiah 30:15: “In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.”

I host a “Week In Words” meme on Mondays where people can share quotes from anything they’ve read the previous week. Love to have you join us! It’s a pretty small group right now, so it is pretty easy to visit others.

I participate in a few others — it’s hard to balance, because I don’t want my blog to get too meme-y, yet I do enjoy some degree of interaction and have met some of my best blog buddies via memes. One is Friday’s Fave Five hosted at http://susannesspace.blogspot.com/, where we supposed to list fave favorite things from the previous week. Some weeks it is hard to narrow it down to five, other weeks it is hard to come up with five, but it has been a good exercise in looking for those blessings in the midst of not-so-good weeks.

I don’t want to list any more links lest your spam-checking system thinks I’m trying to write one of those posts. 🙂 But if there are several others out there, a couple of neat photo memes as well.

5 01 2011

Thanks, Barbara! I love that verse in Isaiah, too. I’ll check out your “Week in Words” and the Fave Five. I appreciate the feedback. 🙂

5 01 2011

Bonnie Gray over at http://www.faithbarista.com has been hosting a weekly (Thursdays)community blogging event on faith – the topic for tomorrow is — pick a word for the year! (Obviously, there’s something in the water.) Peter Pollock at Rediscovering the Church (www.peterpollock.com) is hosting a one-word blog carnival twice a month – bloggers get one word to write a post about. I also do a couple of community poetry events every week. I’ll have a post tomorrow on my word for the year.

5 01 2011

Thanks, Glynn! I’m familiar with the one-word blog carnival and have been meaning to hop on that bus for a long time. I’ll check out Bonnie’s event as well.

I love reading your poems, and I know it would be good for me to stretch my poetry muscles. I’ll check those out, too. Do you have a favorite?

Can’t wait to find out what your word is. 🙂

5 01 2011
L.L. Barkat

If you want to get inspired to do more poetry, you might consider joining one of the One Stop Poetry prompts. I usually like doing the open Wednesday one.

At TheHighCalling.org we offer various prompts along the way. Right now we have a book club opportunity. Once a month we do poetry. And once a month we do PhotoPlay. These are great opportunities, because they will highlight you in a place that gets a lot of traffic. (Oh, and we’re just plain fun 😉

5 01 2011

Thanks, L.L. I’m super impressed with the HighCalling brigade, and all the things you mentioned sound great. I definitely need to get more familiar with the territory and then avail myself of the wonder (and just plain fun) happening in those realms.

5 01 2011

Hey, Lady. I see a lot of good words here. I see “trust”, and “faith”, and “community”. But rest? Oh, that’s one word I’d like to feast one. Choosing the better part…I love how you say that. Mind if I cheer you on? Maybe I’ll try to join you on that journey. My word this year is “hope”. I lost a bit last year. So…I’m trying.

I love L.L. Monday thing, which I’ve been trying to do from time to time. But now that the book club is back up at the highcalling every monday I might have a struggle. And, of course, Ann is amazing. I also love Emily Weirenga’s Imperfect Prose on Thursdays. She’s lovely. I’ve been to visit Bonnie and love her writing, just haven’t been able to work out to participate.

Sending you love for the new year.

5 01 2011

“Yes, please” regarding the cheering me on! And the more the merrier on entering into rest. Do join me.

“Hope” is a beautiful word. I pray you find it in abundance this year, Laura.

I don’t know how I’ve managed to remain so clueless about almost all things HighCalling, but I do intend to remedy that problem post haste. Thanks for mentioning Emily as well. Imperfect Prose sounds attainable! 🙂

New year love to you, too.

6 01 2011

Love your word. Will be praying God grants you rest even as you tirelessly pursue it.


6 01 2011

Thank you, beloved. xo

6 01 2011
Cheryl Smith

I have two words so far, of three. Breathe and simplify. Still waiting on confirmation on the third.

I love this: the rest of the soldier at ease, quiet, awaiting his marching orders. Yes!

6 01 2011

Breathe and simplify! Nice! Thanks for sharing, Cheryl.

6 01 2011

Love your word. Just reading what you say here, gives me a sense of peace, calm … REST.

On community: The community-aspect is one of my favorite parts of the online experience — probably THE favorite part. I enjoy Ann’s Walk With Him Wednesday series, and I participate almost every Wednesday. I occasionally participate in L.L.’s series, and even when I don’t, I love to see what she has to say (and the others as well).

I was so delighted to read (above) that you are interested in The High Calling. It’s a hospitable, cozy rest-stop on the Information Superhighway.

Happy New Year, Jeanne. May you be blessed with REST!

6 01 2011

Thanks, Jennifer. (You’re so cute in those glasses.) A hospitable, cozy rest stop filled with passionate, purposeful, word people . . . what could possibly beat that? Happy New Year to you, too. May you be blessed in all your imperfection. 😉

7 01 2011
Ann Voskamp@Holy Experience

Dearest Jeanne…

Your words are a feast…

and your word… Rest. It is married to my Here. I’ve been thinking about that all week. Here is the only place we can rest. If we never stay in this moment — we never rest. Rest is only found in this present moment, staying here.

Community with you, Jeanne — is a place to rest.

I send love, wise friend…

All’s grace,

7 01 2011

Thank you, Ann. I love your heart and the way you express it, and I know God has placed you in my (virtual) life to help me focus and regroup. I’m only two days in, but simply reminding myself each morning to intentionally enter His rest has changed the way I approach my day and colored my moments with peace.

Love to you, too, lovely one. And thank you for your gentle, quiet voice. You speak to my “here” and I am better for it. All is grace indeed.

Your comments are a gift. Please know I read each one with gratitude.

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