My New Word of the Year

I like to choose a “Word of the Year” each year, a word that serves as a theme and a north star for the year ahead. It took me a while to arrive at this year’s word: Release


To let go. To allow or enable to escape from confinement. 

Release wasn’t my initial word though. I tried on several. “Arise.” “Believe. 


I sat with “surrender” for a while. It didn’t feel quite right. It felt close, but not the one. Kind of like my last boyfriend, right? It felt weird under my skin. I brought it up to my friend Liz and she suggested a softer word: “Release.” I tried it out, latched onto it, and decided that was the word. 2022 was going to be the year of Release. I even bought myself a ring to wear as a reminder of my word. To let go and trust the process instead of trying to manhandle things into place. 

But Release hasn’t felt quite right either. I can’t explain why or what triggered me to reflect on it, but it started to not sit right with me a few weeks ago. It gave me that same “weird under my skin” feeling I associate with things not being quite right. And just as it started to not sit well, another message started to show up in my life. Another word started to come through loud and clear. 

As Jesus tends to do with me, He spoke to me through a podcast. This time, it was Unexpected with Hannah Love, episode six. 

“Don’t hold on where you need to surrender.” 


That sentence hit me hard. So hard I skipped back and listened to her say it again. 

“Don’t hold on where you need to surrender.” 


The word that had been drifting into my thoughts over the last couple of weeks, appearing in my morning devotional, in my Bible reading at night. 


The word that didn’t quite feel right in January, back for round two. 

And then, while out on a walk, God told me: “Surrender is your word.” 

It was that simple.  He said it, and it was done. Surrender was my word. 

I considered that as I walked. Why was Surrender my word now? Why did it feel so big and scary and not quite right when I was searching for a word at the beginning of the year? 

Because I was afraid. 

Surrender: To cease resistance. 

To cease resistance. 

To stop digging in one’s heels and trying to force things to go my way. Release – but bigger. Scarier.

To truly take my hands off the wheel and give it all to God. To trust. To hold onto the promises He’s spoken into my life and believe He will deliver on them. To let go of things, of outcomes. To let go of my timing and how I think things could be. 

Surrendering is no small task for someone who really likes to be in control. 

It makes sense to me now, that my word for this year is Surrender. I wish I could accurately express how much God has been working on my heart this year. How much He is asking me to Surrender. To trust His will and that He is working all things together for my good, in His time. 

I’m being asked to Surrender. 

To cease resistance. 

And so my word of the year? It’s Surrender. 

Hands off the wheel. 

Resistance. Ceased. 

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