A Word for 2015: Abide

6 01 2015


I don’t know who originally started it, but I like the trend of choosing one word as a focus for the year. It feels less rigid than New Year’s resolutions, and as Anne-with-an-e would say, offers more scope for the imagination — like I’m standing on the edge of a vast meadow, scanning the horizon, catching a misty glimpse of glorious design, then moving forward into an adventure certain to hold many challenges and delightful surprises along the way.

This is my fifth year to choose one word. 2011 was Rest. 2012 Contentment. 2013 Receive. And 2014 Known. The progression has felt more like building on a foundation than jumping from one stepping stone to another. Rest leading to contentment, preparing my heart to receive all God’s gifts with humble and trusting gratitude, discovering again and again that He opens and closes doors for my good (even when I don’t get what I think I wanted), reinforcing the assurance that I am deeply, intimately known and loved beyond my capacity to comprehend it.

Which brings me to a new year and a new word.

I considered the word Small, because I am. And Sufficient, because He is. I also considered Light, because the darkness cannot overcome it (and the darkness these days is getting awfully dark). And Purpose, because everything we see (even the darkness) must ultimately serve His eternal plan. I love these words and all the depths of meaning they embody, and perhaps I’ll choose one or more of them another year.

But when I thought of the word Abide, it was like all that I loved most about the other words distilled and blended and absorbed into those five little letters.




By dictionary definition, Abide can mean stay, live, tolerate, endure, or wait. All of those meanings have substance and are worth pondering. But the picture that came to mind when I landed on the word was the one Jesus painted in John 15, specifically verses 4-5:

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

He is the true vine. I am only a branch. A chosen, grafted-in, beloved branch, but still, only a branch. I can do nothing apart from Him, but the more connected I am to Him, the more freely His life flows into and through me, and the result is much fruit for the nourishment and delight and eternal good of others.

A branch makes no demands. It has no agenda. It doesn’t choose where it grows or how visible it is or what kind of fruit it produces. A branch simply abides in the vine. And His roots reach deep into the eternal purposes of God, and the sap rises with holy urgency, and the branch that stays in His Word, lives in His light, tolerates the gnawing teeth of pain, endures the oppressive heat and bitter cold, and waits patiently for His good timing? That branch explodes with fruit.


When I abide, my eyes are on Him, my ears are tuned to His voice, and my heart aligns with His. People may misunderstand, accuse, mock, or persecute, but they can’t sever that connection. And the fruit will come. And the Father will be glorified.

Because that’s the whole point, isn’t it? Shouldn’t that be the “why” for everything I do? If my primary purpose is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, then I need to learn how to abide in Him, to lean on His wisdom, and to walk in His light. And when I do? Jesus said His joy will be in me, and my joy will be full.

I can’t think of a better life or better reward than that.

So, the journey of 2015 begins. Only God knows what it will hold and how life will look when it ends.

Hopefully we’ll need lots of baskets.


Do you choose a word for the year? If so, I’d love to hear yours. And if you’ve written about it, please share the link along with your comment!



18 responses

6 01 2015
Jody Collins

Did you know this is the the theme of our planned retreat 🙂 Abide/Dwell was my word for 2013…………. Oh, you can live there for a long time. Beautiful words (and fruit).

6 01 2015

I did not know that, Jody! Great theme! 😉

Thanks, friend. xo

6 01 2015
Patricia Hunter

Beautiful, Jeanne. When I’m wandering about with a camera, vines always capture my attention – how they cling and climb up or droop if there’s nothing to cling to. And, of course, what they cling to makes a difference, especially the direction what they cling to takes me. I can see many spiritual applications in vines, but I’m sure that’s why the LORD gave us that image. I’ve never fully embraced a word for the year, but God does give me words for a season. I’m being pressed to live open-handed – to let go, but as I mentioned in one of my posts over the weekend, God is also giving me the word “flourish,” and I’m memorizing Psalm 92, as a result. And truthfully, the only way to flourish is to abide. xox

6 01 2015

Lovely insights, Patricia! I look forward to meditating on John 15 this year with all its beautiful and sobering truths straight from the mouth of Jesus. Isn’t it mind boggling that He invites us to abide and longs for us to flourish? Such generous grace. Praying He fills your open hands with abundance this year, dear friend. xo

6 01 2015
Monica Kaye Snyder

YES! The why for everything we do . . . to glorify God and enjoy Him forever! LOVE this. My word is “commit.” http://monicakayesnyder.com/health-chiari-ehlers-danlos-pots-mast-cell-panspandas/one-word/

6 01 2015

Thanks, Monica! I loved reading your thoughts on “commit.” May the Lord bless you in your journey and give you the strength to press on into all He has ordained for you in the coming year. Much love.

6 01 2015

Jeanne – My word this year is yield, and God pressed it on my heart and applied just enough pressure every so often so that I would not forget it. He wants me yield, not stop, but yield, step back, step aside, allow others to lead, to go ahead, to yield not only to others, but to HIM – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is much like abide, really, surrender, deference, being a branch on the vine. And it due time, with His power, yielding fruit, hopefully much fruit. A good return on investment. A healthy, profitable yield. A cultivation of crops that overflow with his very essence, his life-blood. Yield. I am ready and willing and anxious to see what He will do as I break my will and bend my knee and bow my head in the posture of yielding. Looking forward to following you to the other end of this year and rejoicing in all that the Lord has done in us and through us as we abide and yield. Patricia Hunter – you too – as you flourish. He is so faithful.

6 01 2015

What a great word! And I love all the variations of meaning. It’s such a joy to journey with fellow citizens of the upside-down kingdom, learning together to die to ourselves that we might truly live, and encouraging each other along the way. God is good. Grace and peace to you, dear Kelly, as you yield to Him. xo

7 01 2015
Sandra Heska King

These photos are luscious. I love John 15 and especially the progression from fruit to more fruit to much fruit as we dwell and as we yield to His pruning.

My word is kin to yours–“home” in its physical and spiritual variations and leaning into Isaiah 32:18.


Love you big, friend, and so grateful to have spent time with you *in* the river.

7 01 2015

Thanks, Sandra! It’s such a comfort to me when I remember that His pruning is purposeful and driven by perfect love. Yes, He is our home. Grateful for you and love you, too. Heading over to read your post now! xo

7 01 2015

Hi 🙂
I just felt something burst inside me…might have been a fruit of yours…So I thought I’d share it 🙂
I do not know you, I have never met you. But I know He that is in you because He is in me too.Therefore I know you and I have met you and I can say with an assurance that startles even me that we have in us the same royal blood , that sap of chosen and in-grafted branches.

The word abide and its meaning to you reflect the very same notions that I have grasped on to to be the spinal cord of this year. I came to a deeper realization that Jesus lives IN me. And this year I want to surrender my will to His and watch His life flow in me and through me. Now I have found, thanks to you, a word that can better help me understand my process. This year is about Abiding in the presence of the Lord. Amen! Thank you for sharing this 🙂

7 01 2015

Thank you, Elly! Such beautiful truth — He is in us! Blessings on your, dear sister, as you abide in His presence. So delighted to “meet” you.

7 01 2015

Reblogged this on Beauty instead of Ashes and commented:
This post is the very expression of what this year means to me. Definitely worth sharing!

7 01 2015

Thank you! xo

7 01 2015

I couldn’t settle on one word this year. For months I have heard the gentle whisper to draw close – close to His heart and totally dependent for every moment. That, it turns out, is my “word.” Life has been so chaotic recently and I long for His rest, peace, grace and love in the midst of it all.

13 01 2015

Yes. Draw close. Strive only to enter his rest. Grace and peace to you in this new year, dear Linda. xo

13 01 2015

Loved this. John 15:5 has been showing up a lot these days. I usually have a theme for the year and it turns out mine boils down to two words: Trust and Brave. Though Abide is not my specific word, the Holy Spirit has already impressed on me that I cannot trust or be brave if I do not first abide. Thank you for reinforcing His truth.

13 01 2015

Thank you! This is good, Tammi. The more we lean into Him, the more confidence we gain in facing whatever He sends our way, trusting that He is always, only good in what He gives. Love you. xo

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