For the past six years, I’ve chosen a word for the year. This is a word that becomes my theme or over-arching guide for how I approach the year.
Last year, my word for the year was actually a phrase: Show up. It had such a huge impact on my life and I’ll be sharing more about that in the podcast that drops next week.
For 2022, I thought I had a word almost all of December. It was a good word, but it felt a little like a cop-out because it wasn’t a word that would really push me out of my comfort zone, stretch me, or challenge me in a deep way.
It wasn’t January 2, that I was reading a book and all of a sudden the word I knew I was supposed to choose instead popped out at me. I immediately resisted it because it’s a word that I knew would stretch and push me.
For a day, I wrestled with this. Couldn’t I just choose the easier word? But no, I knew in my heart that the word I was resisting was the word I was supposed to choose. I’ve learned that where there is resistance, I often need to pay attention and really lean into the resistance.
So, what is my word for 2022? It’s stay.
Showing up last year challenged me in such good and deep ways. To make myself available to others. To pursue intentional proximity. To not keep others at arm’s length. To be willing to step into messes and awkward and uncomfortable.
But showing up is just the start. After we show up, the real work happens when we choose to stay.
Truthfully, I’ve done a lot of leaving in my lifetime. When things get awkward and uncomfortable, leaving is easier. When it gets hard and messy in relationships, leaving is safer. When I get tired of something, I have a tendency to just move onto another shiny thing.
I’ve also been the recipient of people leaving my life, too. I have grieved the loss of relationships where someone chose to walk out of my life because I was too much, or not enough, or because they were jealous, or, in some cases, I honestly don’t know why… they just stopped answering my texts or stopping wanting to get together.
Sometimes, I’ve been very much at fault. And sometimes, it wasn’t anything I did.
I’ve experienced the deep pain that comes from someone in essence saying, “You’re not worth fighting for. This relationship isn’t worth pushing through the hard to (hopefully) come out stronger on the other side.”
In the past few years, I’ve worked through a lot of my own insecurities and hurts that have caused much dysfunction in relationships for decades. I’ve also realized how I’ve often looked to people and relationships to fill a void in my life that only God can truly fill and I’ve put very unreasonable expectations on others as a result.
Understanding how much I am loved by God and living out of that love has completely changed my relationships. No longer am I seeking for affirmation and approval from others. I know how deeply I am loved by God and I can just love others wholeheartedly as a result.
But even though I’ve done all this deep heart work, the idea of choosing the word stay for this year still kind of scares me. What will it mean? What will it require? What will it cost? I don’t know, but I want to be faithful to say yes to what God has called me to and to be faithful to stay where He’s placed me, even if it’s hard and uncomfortable.
I don’t know what this year will look like, but I have a feeling there are going to be some heart lessons involved and I want to be open, willing, and available to whatever that looks like. I want to be a person who stays.
Did you choose a word for 2022? If so, I’d love to hear what you chose!
More posts on my words of the year in previous years: