Abide: my word for the year...

I thought I would share the process of how I came to choose a word for the year. 

For the last few years, I have watched folks online select a word that will last them the whole year.

I'll be honest, I thought it was somewhat ridiculous to select just one word for an entire year. Who knows what will come in that year? When that word will restrict or block an opportunity to grow in a new way?

I'd already chosen my word, but I was encouraged when Liz Lamoreux shared that choosing a word isn't permanent, and that's already proven to be the case. More on that, later.

scorning the trend

It's not the first time I've scorned a trend or popular thing.  Read Annie Lamott's Bird By Bird? The best book on writing out there? As a newbie author I listened to authors describe it and thought, no thanks. (And FYI, some years later, I read one of her later memoirs, thought she was absolutely brilliant and glommed everything she wrote, including Bird By Bird.)

I don't know why I rebel 'cause everybody else is reading or doing it. I suspect it has something to do with not quite fitting in with everyone's choice of school bags, or shoes, or skirt length back in the day. 

My defense was F%^# that. Conform if you want to, but not me.

(OK, so I conform in other ways, but that's a whole other story and this is not about logical reactions.)

finding a word

Something tugged at me to find a word. It had a lot to do with the last six months of transition, impatiently waiting for what's coming next, not at all thrilled that God wasn't dropping any clues.

I subscribed to a free e-course to find a word for 2013 around Christmas, but didn't get started right away. 

Last week, while chanting Lauds, the word "inhabit" popped into my head. Right in the middle of my chanting a psalm that did not have that word in there. I grinned, thinking of a monk's habit.

I started on the e-course and mentally reviewed my past year, looking for something to "shimmer". I read through the 1,000+ gifts I'd written down in 2012 in an effort to jog my memory of what actually happened in the first half of the year. (Is this a sign of getting old?)

Liz Lamoreux suggested using the prompt: "2013 was the year I..." and I wrote a whole page of them. 

Yes, the word "inhabit" showed up again but by this point it was pretty much front and center in my consciousness. I looked it up on the dictionary and liked the archaic meaning of it: "abide, or dwell".

Wednesday morning I headed off to my first chair yoga class of the year. During the closing meditation, the teacher asked us to set an intention for the year. "I want to abide with you, Lord," popped into my head. 


The definition from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary reads:
transitive verb
: to wait for : await

a : to endure without yielding : withstand
   b : to bear patiently : tolerate abide
: to accept without objection
intransitive verb
: to remain stable or fixed in a state 
: to continue in a place : sojourn

Patience? Wait? Remain fixed in a state? All things I'm pretty terrible at if the last six months are anything to go by, so this will be interesting to say the least. Oi.

("abide": Suzi Blu girl stamp, stickers from various places, acrylic paint, stencils, ProMarkers
and Sharpie white paint pen... and I just realized it's not finished! I need to add shadows to the
letters and girl. You can just make out parts of the writing prompt underneath all that.)
I ran the word by my spiritual director yesterday and she added a beautiful facet to it for me.


In choosing to intentionally abide with God this year, and by the grace of God, I'll behold God: be in awe and wonder at how God loves me and cares for me, going deeper and uncovering the Christ-light within me.

It's going to be a difficult word to live into, I hope a transformative word, but a word that will be well worth it.

"2013 was a great year."

Have you chosen a word this year? Or some other way to focus on the year ahead?

 I'm linking with Ann Voskamp's walk with Him Wednesdays on the theme of the Practice of Habits.


  1. A very beautiful word for the new year - and something we all need to practice! Thank you for sharing!


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