The Judith Life

Words for the New Year: Spoiler – You Don’t Have To Have One

Let’s take something else and make it less stressful, shall we?

Your Word for the year.

I’d first heard of this practice back in 2009. At the start of a new year, a word is picked based on what you need or where you feel God guiding you.

The word is anything that ‘feels right’. It shows up repeatedly over a period of time or comes as a flash of insight.

For me, this became a source of stress, transforming into a bit of intellectual and/or spiritual torture. Is this my word? Is it the right word? What if I pick the wrong word? What if I don’t get a word? What does that mean? Is something wrong with me? Someone, please. . . help.

Over time I made peace with myself and in turn, made peace with the practice. I prayed over a new year – which isn’t bad – and wait – which isn’t wrong but would make me feel stressed. I chose a word that would be my focus. Many years, I wouldn’t see results until the year following. For 2018, I struggled with regret. The word I received applied to everything and not in how I expected.

The word was “Sifting”. Shifted would be a close second. Maybe, I heard wrong. (Hahaha! *Blank stare*) I sifted through my beliefs, my relationships, my possessions, and my understanding of where I am in the world.

It sucked. And, it brought freedom, which is why I’m writing this.

You don’t have to pick a word.

OH MY WORD! Yes, I totally just said that.

You don’t have to pick a word. You don’t have to pick anything. You can walk into 2019, word-less as a jay-bird, and be okay.

You are still human.

You are still be likable.

You have not failed God.

Jesus is okay if you don’t pick a word.

I promise.

If, however, you still want to do this, may I suggest having a little fun?


For 2019, I’m not asking for a word. I’m asking for a bible verse. Wild, I know. I am also not stressing if it comes or not. I’m open. And, I’m listening. Most of the time, I forget I have asked for it. Much of the good I receive comes when I need it. Not because I was stressing out to get it.

What about a line of poetry?

This delightful bit of genius came from Twitter and I love it. I can think of some delicious Mary Oliver lines I could embrace in a heartbeat.

What if we took it further?

You could also use a(n) …

  • Song
  • Movie
  • Book
  • Animal (I love sloths!)
  • Color (Oh my word, I love this.)
  • Object that brings inspiration

It’s exciting! How would your year change if you based it on a bird? They’re not stressed. They don’t fight for worms. FYI, birds are not up early. They sit in their nest and sing until they are ready to start their bird-y day.
Most of what you’ve heard about these little tweethearts are wrong.

There is grace here. There is freedom, flexibility and there is love. Don’t fall into doing something because someone and their mother, brother, priest are doing it.

Let your year be based on what you love and where Jesus is leading you.

Let everyone else do their thing.

I got your back on this.


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