I like to choose a Word of the Year every year. It’s meant to be a word – or phrase – that sets the theme for the year ahead. I started this in 2016 when ‘Courage’ was my Word of the Year. Looking back over that post, I was blown away by just how much I leaned into the word. It was the year I traveled abroad for the first time and alone at that. In a sweet turn of fate, it looks like Esther 4:14 – Perhaps this is the moment for which you have been created – was a verse following me around at the time. That verse has hovered in the back of my mind lately, although I’m not sure why.
‘Courage’ came to me while doing laundry. I had been thinking about what I wanted my word to be for days and then it simply floated to mind and I knew it was “the one.”
2017’s Word of the Year was ‘Vulnerable.’ It, too, came to me naturally. I was journaling and wrote the words “be vulnerable” out of nowhere. I don’t know that I was all that successful, but that’s neither here nor there. Lessons learned and progress made in therapy.
In 2018, ‘Brave’ was the word of choice and I certainly was brave – moving to North Carolina, taking a new job, opening a barre studio… So many things happened in 2018 and in a short window at that. I had two words in 2019: ‘Abundance’ and ‘Vision.’ Frankly, there’s not much to report there.
Like you, I entered 2020 with optimism. My word of the year was ‘Yes,’ inspired by reading Shonda Rhimes’ Year of Yes. I said a lot of “yes” in 2020 despite 2020 giving all of us a whole lot of “no.” Yes to film school. Yes to (eventually) moving to Los Angeles. Yes to leaving my stable full-time job. And yeah, yes to staying at home and wearing a mask, as forced of a “yes” as it was. As for 2021, I went with ‘settled’ and ended up settling too much.
2022’s Word of the Year took a while to arrive at. I tried on a lot of different words over the final days of 2021, none of which seemed quite right. There was a moment where I thought it was going to be “Arise.” I asked God to confirm, but “Arise” turned out to not be it. “Believe” hovered around for a day or two but it, too, would prove not to be the one. I kept praying, kept resting in faith that the word would come to me when it was good and ready, just like “courage” and “vulnerable” had.
“Surrender” made its way to me after reading my Bible and some journaling. It felt close, but it still didn’t feel quite right. I felt the push to reach out to someone about my search and decided my friend Liz would be a great resource as she was familiar with the whole ‘Word of the Year’ thing and has a bit of a gift for saying the right thing at the right time. I told her I was considering “surrender” but it didn’t feel right. She suggested “Release” as a less aggressive option.
I said it to myself. I said it out loud. And I felt a certain knowing that “Release” was my Word of the Year.
I’m a “both hands on the wheel” kind of girl. I like to be in charge. My third grade teacher told my parents I “exhibited signs of bossiness.” My professors in film school say I am a “natural born leader.” I have two planners I use daily, an organized Google calendar, and I utilize Clickup for my business. One of the quickest ways to send me into a spiral is to mess up my schedule. I like to know what’s happening, when it’s going to happen, and how it’s going to happen.
But lately, I’ve felt God calling me to take my hand off the wheel and give Him room to work. To stop trying to plan everything. To stop trying to know everything. To let go and trust the process.
So I’m going to “Release” this year.
I’m going to work on letting go to allow space for God to work.
It won’t be easy for me. We’ve established I like to be in control of things. I really love to know what’s coming next. I don’t get a big kick out of waking up with a blank page. I don’t love it when I’m only given a fraction of the information (you should see my journal right now…) But I can’t shake the feeling that I’m being called to surrender – to release – this year. To let go of how I think things should be and let them be how they’re meant to be.
To realize my plans may not be as good as the plans God has for me.
To realize my plans may not be the plans God has for me.
Release: allow or enable to escape from confinement; set free; allow (something) to move, act, or flow freely.
Whew. That’s big.
So big that I did something a little different this year. I bought a simple ring to wear as a reminder to “release.” Because I know me. I’ll need the reminder, especially on days when I want to grip the wheel with all I’ve got and tell God – tell life – exactly how it’s going to go.
I’m also working out an affirmation to hold onto. Something like:
I release what no longer serves me and allow what’s meant for me to enter.
I’m still working on it, but we’re getting there. My affirmation, too, will come in time.
That’s my 2022 Word of the Year: Release.
A big word. One that’s going to push at my instincts to plan and control and predict.
And I like it. I like that it’s big and challenging and will push me to grow in areas I’ve neglected over the last few years while pushing towards first one goal than the next.
What’s your Word of the Year?