In 2020, my word of the year was fearless. Then, I realized the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord, and “fearful” was the word for 2021. 2022 brought me to the wonders of grace and that no matter how far I fall, God will catch me. And now, as the first month of 2023 rolls to a close, I nestle into my new word of the year: ABIDE.
I’ve been doing a lot of reviewing lately, reading journals, looking over goal lists, and glancing back at old blog posts. I think it’s good to take an account—to evaluate things, remind ourselves of where we’ve been and look toward where we want to be.
Strangely though, my word for this year speaks not to the past or to the future but dwells in the present. ABIDE. If you look up the definition of abide, you’ll find words about following rules or tolerating something. That’s not what I mean. For me, ABIDE means remaining in truth, trusting God, leaning not on my own understanding, flourishing within His presence, by His presence, because of His presence.
You might also think I’ve chosen a passive word, but there’s nothing passive about trusting God and living in His goodness. Those things require something of us. They call for obedience and change.
I feel like I’m on the cusp of change, like there’s another level to life, and I’m almost there. And like this new place has nothing to do with who I am or what I will do. Yet who I am and the things I’ll accomplish will be immutably changed by this new place—by the vine, by the hand of God. I won’t be the same. I won’t write about God’s faithfulness on one page and then question his existence on the next. The barrage of questions will be settled. Silenced, and I will abide in truth, walk in faith, and serve God with every fiber of my being. Not because of me, but because of HIM. Because He works in us to do and live according to His pleasure.
We can only do so much in ourselves—only go so far before the road gives out and we’re circling back to the same old highways of life, figuring out that apart from Him we can do nothing. Perhaps the biggest paradox in our journey is that in order to truly live, we must surrender, and that surrendering has hands and feet, makes mistakes, misunderstands, and sometimes wants to give up. To surrender is to ABIDE, and we must ABIDE if we are ever to grow and bear fruit. God has already given us everything we need to do the jobs he’s called us to do, and when there’s something we can’t handle, He separates the waters and rains manna down from heaven.
I’m curious to know your word for the year. A few of my friends have shared their words, and in each one, I’ve glimpsed God’s working in their life. Not that God needs a word for your year to work wonders on your journey. His plans are bigger than one word. Maybe what he has for you is a sentence full of love, a paragraph flooded with truth, a new chapter in your life. I pray you get many words for the journey and the promise of abiding love, joy-filled hope, and conquering freedom. And that 2023 draws you closer to the Word—the one true God who loves you beyond measure.
Please share your word of the year in the comments!
And here’s a great blog post on abiding in Christ: Three Keys to Abide in Christ
And if you want to take a walk down blog-post memory lane, here are links to my posts from 2022!