The Power of a Word of the Year -
Bible/ Devotion

The Power of a Word of the Year

When it gets close to the beginning each new year, you may hear about people choosing their “word of the year.” If you search Pinterest for the key phrase “word of the year” you will find TONS of articles about how to choose your word, lists of words to consider, and how to stay focused on your word. Then at the beginning of each new year you are supposed to change your word and set new goals. You’re supposed to use that word to grow in all areas of your life.

Personally, I prefer the method of choosing I was taught about at a woman’s conference about 5 years ago. She said that we should seek God and ask Him to give us a word. A word, or even a phrase, that describes what He plans to grow in us in the coming year, how He plans to use us, or something He wants us to hang on to throughout the events coming up.

My Word of the Year for 2019

I had never had a word of the year before. Even after I had prayed for one at the end of the previous few years. I just figured that it wasn’t how the Lord deals with me, because He works in each individual’s life differently as He sees fit. However for this year, without me even asking, He dropped “change” into my spirit right around Christmas time 2018.

New Year - Word of the Year - Plaque and Pine Branches


At that point I had already seen some changes happening in my life. In November I had pulled our elementary aged kids out of private school to start homeschooling. That decision alone made changes to our schedule, our finances, and our plans for the next several years.

Following that, we had a situation come into our lives that caused us to pursue getting licensed for foster care. We then got our kinship care placement near the end of March. As you might expect, this change caused us to use our time differently (taking classes, transporting to visits, etc), re-arrange our schedule again, become involved with the local public school, and it altered our family dynamics a bit.

In October, the little ones we were fostering went home. That change was full of conflicting emotions; the joy of reunification, the pain of loss, and the transition in roles we play in the children’s lives. We’ve also just changed our license from kinship care to community care, and are now available to foster other children.

Those were a few of the major changes, but there have been a lot of smaller ones too. I took on babysitting (for free) 2 other children throughout this past summer. We have had to alter some of our family’s holiday traditions recently. My mom moved, so when we visit we go somewhere different than we have for most of our children’s lives. Changes at church as far as children aging out of my class, new ones aging up into it, and changes in volunteers. Most recently, new babies born into our extended family! Those and many other little things add up to make it seem like things are in constant transition.

Charles Spurgeon Quote - Change -Word of the Year - Minding the Kings

My Issues with Change

The problem I was facing with my word for 2019, and all the changes happening in my life, is that I was afraid of change. I have always hated it. I would get an upset stomach over it, worry about it day and night if I new a change was coming, and I obsessed over every detail until I (thought I) had it all figured out. Or I would try to avoid change all together and hold on for dear life to what I was used to. Being pulled out of my comfort zone made me anxious and miserable.

But, God. He certainly knows what he’s doing. Obviously, my fear of change was more than an issue of personal preference. It was a faith issue. A lack of trust in my Creator.

Growing in my Faith through Change

I believe now that God gave me the word change for this year as a little “heads up!” about what to expect. Not only because of everything happening with my circumstances, but about what is happening in myself as well. He is growing my faith by allowing me to walk through changes, both major and minor, while being by my side through it all.

One particular worship song we sing at church has been a good reminder to me about where God is in all of the changes. It’s called One Thing Remains by, Jesus Culture. Some of the lyrics say,

Higher than the mountains that I face

Stronger than the power of the grave

Constant through the trial and the change

One thing remains

This one thing Remains

Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me”

Song Lyrics - One Thing Remains - Jesus Culture - Word of the Year - Minding the Kings

A verse in the Bible that I have held on to since I was an older teen is Isaiah 43:2, which says,

“When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
   the flames will not set you ablaze”

Its so comforting to me to know that God is always with me. And because He is here with me, I will not be overcome by the fires or the floods that I walk through. I have known it for a long time, but I have grown more in my understanding of this fact over the last several months.

Another scripture that I have been meditating on is Hebrews 13:8. It says,

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

Word of the Year - Hebrews 13:8 - Minding the Kings

Through this verse, and others like it, I am learning to find comfort in my unchanging God, rather than getting too comfortable in my comfort zone.

When I was doing a search of the Bible for the keyword “change” I came across this verse in Daniel that stood out to me too:

And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.” Daniel 2:21

I love the point I gleaned from this and the previous scriptures combined. God Himself never changes, but He is in control of all the changes that happen in the world, and He is walking with us through it all!

It’s not a new teaching or thought, I think Christ followers typically understand this concept. Its when the concept goes from knowledge in our mind to an understanding in our soul that we truly “get it” and can walk it out in our lives.

A New Year, and a New Word of the Year

Here we are, coming up on Christmas again, and anticipating a new year. I’ve been in prayer, and asked the Lord if he has another word for me for 2020. It’s a phrase that keeps coming back to me this time: “all things new”. I don’t know what that means right now. God hasn’t elaborated to me what to expect. I get the impression, though, that I could not have a year of “all things new” if I hadn’t had a year of learning about change and deepening my faith through it.

Word of the Year - Minding the Kings

Has God ever given you a word of the year? Or have you chosen one for yourself? How have you grown and learned through it? Let’s talk about it in the comments!

26 thoughts on “The Power of a Word of the Year

  1. Hahaha I actually sang ‘ch-ch-changes’. I totally am 100% for a word of the year! In fact I am planning to do a post of choosing your word of the year. My word for 2019 was ‘Unapologetic’, being unapologetic about my faith and my goodness it totally changed my life. I shared the story with my blog subscribers recently. I have my word for 2020 but will share it in the New Year after I have prayed into it a bit more xxx

    1. Unapologetic is a great word of the year! I’ll be heading over to your blog to check it out, and looking forward to your post on choosing a word of the year!

  2. Love this. I try to pick a word and verse for each year starting about 5 years ago. It amazes me how God teaches me about the word throughout the year too. Mine for 2020 love and my verse is 1 Corinthians 13:13

  3. I’ve been giving a lot of thought today to this “word for the new year” thing. Thanks for these reminders!

    Thank you for linking up at InstaEncouragements! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

  4. I think this is an excellent idea! I had never really prayed about one word for the year, but I did get a word for 2019 that totally came to pass! It was “transition.” Oh yea… this year has been a transition for me. And interestingly enough, I am transitioning into something new for 2020 — a part-time pastoral role in women’s ministry at my church has been offered to me! So, in essence, I am walking into “all things new” for 2020, as well. Here’s to the One who never changes, and yet makes “all things new!” — our dear Lord & Savior! May He bless you in 2020 with great “vision” for all things new!!

  5. I’ve never done a word for the year, but I have loved the idea of it! It sounds as if God really worked through you using your word, so I’m excited to hear how He works through you this year! Merry Christmas!

  6. Yes, I choose a word or phrase. Each year I sit down with God to contemplate my last word and my new word. I put together a workbook to help me and offer it free on my website. However, I do usually do this in the new year after the holidays when I tend to be able to hear God better.

    You had a scary one last year. “Change.” But it sounds like you had some beautiful changes.

  7. Jennifer, I really appreciated the time and personal testimonies you shared regarding the “word of the year”. I never could seem to imagine dedicating a year to a word or phrase. However, this post has really captured my heart. I love the many ways you reflected on God’s presence with you through the changes. And what joy to envision “all things new” in the year ahead! God bless you and yours!

    1. Thank you Melissa! To be honest, I was a little skeptical of doing a word of the year too, especially with not having been given one or been able to choose one prior to this year. But I’m so glad God chose to work this in me this year, and I do have have a joyful anticipation for the coming year!

  8. I had a few years when the Lord impressed significant words on me as the focus of the year, but I haven’t felt this leading recently. Like you, change is hard for me as well, so I can really relate to your bumpy year of change. You drew some incredible faith-filled conclusions about that time and shared some encouraging words that are good for all of us to hear and consider. I have no idea what’s on the horizon, and I don’t have a word for the year, but I know more change is coming as we relocate again and continue to figure out what the Lord wants for my husband’s retirement. Thank you for your timely post!

    1. You’re welcome Melinda! I think its so interesting how God works so uniquely in each individual’s seasons of life. He’s has a word of the year for you previously, but not now. For me He hasn’t given me one previously but has now. I’m so glad I could speak some encouragement to you, and I pray the Lord gives you and your husband guidance and peace!

  9. Hey Jennifer, although many of my writer and blogger friends have words and scripture verses every year, I’ve never had a word. But last year the Lord clearly led me to a verse that became my verse for 2019. I open to whatever the Lord wants to give me and do in my life. So I just pray He leads me to a word or scripture if He so chooses. Otherwise, I’m still set on seeking the Lord, His will and reading Scripture daily as every year. I like the phrase “All things New.” Makes me think about 2 Corinthians 5:17.

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