Prayerfully picking a word for the year has become one of my favorite annual traditions. Over the years, it’s been interesting to see what the Lord calls me to and what that ends up looking like for the year ahead!
Here’s a recap of past words: 2016 & 2016 midway check-in | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020
This year, as I thought and prayed about 2021, the word “build” came to mind. One of our big goals is to update things with our house, but “build” didn’t feel like it encompassed the year as a whole.
I ran across Jon Acuff’s video, “What if 2021 is a rebuilding year?” and everything clicked!
A “rebuilding year” is an athletic term for when a team goes into a season, not looking for the big win, but laying a good foundation for future success. It can happen when a new quarterback comes in or all the senior stars leave and there’s a lot of new players.
It’s about making sacrifices for a brighter future. It’s focused on long term success that might require immediate losses or lower expectations.
Several words jumped out as Acuff described a rebuilding year:
Get rid of old systems that aren’t working.
Very little demands.
In Atomic Habits, James Clear touched on this idea too. He shared a quote that made me sit up straight.
“You should be far more concerned with your current trajectory than with your current results.”
If I did what I’m doing today for the next 25 years, where would I end up? If we multiplied the habits of too much phone use, too little exercise, too many harsh words, etc. where would we be?
The definition of REBUILD is repair, dismantle, reassemble with new parts, replace, strengthen, reinforce, reorganize.
When I read that, I feel like I can take a deep breath and slow my pace while still being really intentional about things. It’s not a year of laziness. It’s a year of getting reoriented and not rushing the results.
2020 felt like sprinting a marathon when it came to VMP. I wrote over 160,000 words (enough to fill 3 books), hired two new employees, took on more responsibilities, issues and changes than ever before…in the middle of a year with less work hours.
2021 is not the year for us to conquer a million goals. 2021 is our year to reassess things. To not bite off more than we can chew and set us up for failure.
I’m not looking at the scoreboard this year. I’m hopeful for where things are headed.
Even as I’ve been sitting with this word the last few weeks, it’s tempered the big things I want to do that I insist on cramming in.
VMP doesn’t have a big sales goal this year but we’re rebuilding our framework, some of y’alls trust, and how we operate so that we have a good foundation for years to come.
I’m not trying to have an enormous goal with my health but more focused on rebuilding good habits that will last a lifetime.
Are you seeing a theme in my words for the year? It’s very often about slowing down my often overly ambitious heart and learning to chill out a little. It’s amazing how each takes on a different aspect of a running theme.
With the pandemic and a very hard year for VMP and even our house updates, REBUILD makes sense.
I searched Scripture for the word “rebuild” and no surprise, there wasn’t a ton that applied to this type of word but I did see plenty about foundations, solid roots and patience.
Hebrews 12:11 – For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
1 Corinthians 3:11 – For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Luke 14:28 – For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?
Proverbs 1:7 – The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Psalm 37:5 – Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.
Psalm 127:1 – Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.
Psalm 80:9 – You cleared the ground for it; it took deep root and filled the land.
Mark 4:6 – And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away.
Ezekiel 31:7 – It was beautiful in its greatness, in the length of its branches; for its roots went down to abundant waters.
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 2021
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!
This is amazing, Val! My word is ‘build’ so I feel super connected to this post! 🙂
My word is marinate (in His word). Bible verses Proverbs 4:20-23 and Colossians 3:16
I chose “cultivate” for 2021. I don’t really like that word but I love what all it means. Last year my word was “rooted” because I wanted to be more rooted in the Word and in prayer. Coming in to this year I still wanted those things but deeper … cultivate means to tend, and dig and nurture growth and that’s where my heart kept settling.