How I Choose My “Word” for the Year

Earlier this week I shared my reflection on my word for 2022: believe.

As we move into 2023, as we get back into our routines (or perhaps start new ones), we are all given the opportunity to find a new word—or perhaps our first word. To find the word we can cling to over the next 360ish days. The word that holds special meaning for this particular year.

But how do we choose it? How do we know which word is *our* word?

For me personally, I don’t choose it. I’ve always felt as though the word has been given to me.

Usually, at the end of the year I will start asking the question, what is my word?

I will write that question down. I will pray on it. I will think about it constantly.

What is my word? Show me my word. Make it stand out.

I have never been someone who hears the word given to me. Throughout my life of faith, I’ve never had that moment of physically hearing God’s voice. I like to think it’s because He knows I’d probably be spooked. I’d probably jump and think someone was behind me. I’d probably lean into all of the true crime podcasts I’ve listened to and think his voice was actually that of a serial killer hiding in my closet.

So at this point, I’m cool with the silence. I’m cool with the inaudible nudges. They work for me.

This year, I again wrote out the question: What is my word? Will you show it to me? Will you make it stand out?

A few days later, I got the weekly bulletin from my church in my email. At the top, there was a Bible verse.

As you can see, the word “peace” is bolded and italicized.

It stands out.

When I read the verse, I felt my stomach flip over. It was that feeling of “this might be it!!”

But I didn’t want to jump to conclusions. I wanted to be sure.

If that is my word, I prayed, really drive it home.

Earlier in the day, I’d posted a video on Instagram, and searched around for a song to go in the background. When I reopened the app, my search results were still in my history. One of the songs I searched for? Peace by Taylor Swift.

That night, I went over to my parents’ house. We had dinner with my aunt, uncle and grandpa. At one point, I walked down the hall to use the bathroom. There was a candle burning and I loved the way it smelled, so I bent down to see the name of it.

Peace.

At church that weekend, a woman came up and wished me a happy new year. I wished her the same.

“Aren’t we lucky,” she said, “that we have a God that can give us such peace?”

Goosebumps ran down my arms.

Clearly, I’d found my word.

Now, it’s in my nature to fear every single word I get. In these first weeks, I’m always trying to figure out why this is my word. And I tend to catastrophize.

PEACE? WHY DO I NEED PEACE? AM I NOT PEACEFUL? I AM THE DEFINITION OF PEACE.

WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN THAT REQUIRES ME TO NEED PEACE?

WHY IS THIS THE SCARIEST WORD OF ALL TIME?

I like to think I give God a good laugh every year.

I am determinedly doubtful and afraid. Consistently curious—are you sure? Or stubborn—does it HAVE to be that word?

But I have seen time and time again that my word is the right word. It is the word I need most. It is the word that will guide me through the trials and tribulations of the year to come.

And this year, it would appear that my word is peace.

Merriam Webster defines peace as:

– a state of tranquility or quiet

– freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions

– harmony in personal relations

Which, honestly, sounds wonderful.

So even though I am the slightest bit afraid and suspicious of this word (as always), I am trying to center myself in it right from the jump.

Peace is a lovely word. Peace is a lovely thing.

If peace is what 2023 has in store for me, I consider myself to be very lucky.

Bring on the peace. I want it! I need it! I love it!


Are you hoping for a word this year?

Or do you perhaps have one already?

I’d love to hear!

6 comments

  1. Love this Kimberlee! Had to share that you helped me find my word. “Believe” Funny, but I just wrote a post today, doing a 365 photo challenge, and trying to write more too. The picture I posted was a Christmas card with the word Believe with an angel I hang on my fireplace. Then, your email popped up with your beautiful story, a sign. Then, one more, the song by the Monkees was playing in my husbands office, “I’m a Believer.” So, this story spoke to me too. One more thing, my husband Rick, your softball coach, and I just saw your parents the other day walking and we walked together for a few blocks with your dog. A real nice treat and special day!

  2. In the words of John Lennon – “All we are saying is give peace a chance”. Good word for all of us. Thanks and a Peaceful and Happy New Year to you.

  3. I thought of you as we watched the Megan and Harry documentary and Megan talked about having a word every year. She wanted her word to be “peace” for several years! We will have to chat after you watch the documentary. I found it very interesting and thought provoking.

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