I have loved picking a word for each year since I first heard about it more than 10 years ago. A group of friends and me would text on New Year’s Eve what our words were. I remember “momentum” being one I chose as I was trying to launch my wedding planning company. In the early days, they were words that revolved around MY goals for the year and what I hoped to do. Over the last few years, I’ve come to the process in a more prayerful way (shocker, I know) and it’s amazed me how the Lord has used these small words over and over again throughout my year.
Here’s a recap of past words: 2016 & 2016 midway check-in | 2017 | 2018 & What I learned is actually enough to fill a small book…which I plan to finally share this year. Sign up here to find out when it’s available! | 2019
This year, I was really close to assuming the word was STRETCH. I had started reading a random book on Audible called Stretch about learning the power of what you can do with less. In so many ways, I think this will still be a major theme for VMP in 2020 as we work to spend less and give more as a company. But as I worked through my Powersheets planning, I started noticing a thread, a phrase repeated over and over.
It’s always interesting to see how God starts preparing my heart for the next year even months in advance. Here are a few examples:
1. For at least two years now, a quote from Soul Keeping by John Ortberg has been branded on my brain. “It’s not just that he didn’t hurry through conversations; he genuinely didn’t seem to want to hurry.” He seemed like he had nowhere else he’d rather (or needed) to be. I literally think about that idea “he had nowhere to be” every time I think about who I want to be when I’m older.
2. A week ago, I was reading the story of Jesus’ birth in Luke 2 (as ya do this time of year! 😉 ) and one line hit me and I just felt like I needed to let it marinate a bit. Luke 2:19 says “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” I have a similar verse in Grumpy Mom when Mary ponders after they leave Jesus behind and find him in the temple so it definitely caught my attention but I just wanted to think more on this idea of pondering. My big takeaway later that day was the need to make space to do things like this. She had to be intentional to choose this. She was a brand new mom and “pondering” isn’t a word I’d use to describe the newborn phase.
3. This morning as I was praying and listening to God. I felt Him say “Make room, so I can stretch you.” Isn’t that just what we see time and time again in the Bible? Get available. Say yes. Take the step. Obey. And God handles the rest. He doesn’t need our power or authority. He needs us to give Him space to do His work. Over the last month or two, I’ve been thinking about what it means to hurry less and have breathing room. I talked about a little about John Mark Comer’s book, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, in yesterday’s blog post, but it’s been super impactful in my desire to make more room.
So what does “Make Room” actually mean?
First, a technical definition.
1. Move aside or move something aside to allow someone to enter or pass or to clear space for something.
2. To refrain from eating too much so that one still has an appetite for something else later on.
Next, what it means for my year.
- Make space in my day to hear from God, not just talk TO Him.
- Allow awkward silences or moments to linger. Don’t be the first to rush off.
- Be a vessel for God’s Words as I write this year.
- Make room for the chaos of others by clearing out my own. Essentially, have enough margin to actually invite the chaos of others and be there for them.
- Don’t elbow for more of the business pie, but make room for others following God’s call on their lives.
- Make room for the people closest to me to do big things this year.
- Make room for boredom and phone free times instead of fearing it.
- Give God lots of room to do big things that can’t happen when I schedule everything.
- Make room in our budget for bigger giving.
- Make room in my jeans and lose the 20 pounds I packed on since I started writing Grumpy Mom. 😉
I kind of see this like “margin”, but there’s something more proactive about MAKE ROOM that is clearing out space, not to have space but to have God fill it.
Now, let me share what I found in Scripture. To be honest, finding the exact phrase, as opposed to a similar sentiment, was harder than previous years, but interesting nonetheless so I’m sharing them here!
“You will have such a surplus of crops that you will need to clear out the old grain to make room for the new harvest!” – Leviticus 26:10 NLT
“Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” – Luke 6:38 NLT
Make room for us in your hearts; we have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have cheated no one. – 2 Corinthians 7:2 AMP
A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before the great.” – Proverbs 18:16 ESV
“Enlarge the site of your tent [to make room for more children]; Stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, do not spare them; Lengthen your tent ropes And make your pegs (stakes) firm [in the ground]. – Isaiah 54:2 ESV
Want to come up with your own Word for the year? Here are a few tips:
1. Pray about it
This will forever and always be one of my tips so just nestle in and get used to hearing me say that! I have prayed for two months about my word which may be a little excessive, but I love planning for the future year and really there isn’t really a limit to how many prayers God lets me pray so I’m happy to pray for this as much as I think to do.
2. Look at what you’re hoping for in 2020
What are your goals? Are there any themes? I wouldn’t say this is the biggest place to look for your word because it’s based on our plans but it does get us thinking. God may have already laid some pretty amazing goals on your heart so your word might be right in front of your eyes.
3. Look for coincidences
Does a certain word keep popping up or a Bible passage keep being shared? Friend, these aren’t coincidences. These are prompts from the Holy Spirit.
4. Look for clues
Connect the dots people! We have to SEEK the Lord and not wait for Him to send us an envelope with our words in sharpie written across a page. I think a lot of times we assume God isn’t talking when I think more than not, we are likely too busy to hear Him. Leave space in your prayers for the room for Him to speak and I promise He’ll respond if we give Him space. Maybe not audibly or in a booming voice. It might be a whisper but the more we slow down, the more we will be in tune to hear it.
5. See what the Bible says
After you have an idea for a word or maybe even a few you’re thinking on, crack open your Bible app and search the word and see what comes up. You’re about to learn way more about my word process than you ever wanted to know. I wrote down the Scripture reference of the ones that were relevant. Then over the next few days, I read each verse in different translations and the verses around it for context. After jotting a few notes, I put a star and wrote out the main point I wanted to remember that I wanted to remember about my word from that passage.
Well, there you have it! Do you choose a word for the year? I’d love for you to share in the comments!
CHECK BACK MONDAY FOR: My 2020 Reading List