This will be my tenth year choosing a word. In many ways, I can’t believe I have stuck with this practice for a decade! It has been one of my most favorite things I have discovered for accountability, growth and focus.
Some years my word comes quickly and concretely, I know it’s my word. Other years, it’s harder to find and I’m really unsure. This year in early December my friend posted this Mel Robbins video and it encompassed so much of what I’ve been feeling.
After watching this video I was sure I had my word. The hubs and I have been talking lately about being active and how it’s easy to just become complacent. We definitely do not want to lose strength and muscle as we age, because loss of muscle actually speeds up aging along with seeking out comfort. Also, it seems we complain a lot about cold and snow when we live in Minnesota when the reality is that should be expected every winter. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to us and if we don’t want to live where winter happens every year, then we should move. I do not want to move so I decided that this winter I wanted to push through that resistance to being uncomfortable and actually be fine with walking in snow and cold. Maybe even like it! Really why are we even complaining? We have a warm home, warm clothes and vehicles that get warm in minutes. This isn’t Little House on the Prairie times living in a sod house, chopping wood for a fire, breaking through ice for water, eating squirrel because there’s no food, walking into town, you get the idea. We are very spoiled and comfortable so a 30 minute walk outside in the winter is good for us and not even really that challenging. Anyways, I digress. I say all this because after that video and some discussions we’ve had, I thought I wanted my word to be the opposite of comfort or comfortable which would be uncomfortable. Now obviously that’s not the right word, so I played around with definitions, antonyms and synonyms but nothing felt right. Action, Active, Push, Step, Move, Movement, Advance, Forward, Stretch were all considerations along with a few more words.
During this time, our friend Eric sent a text to our group chat after listening to our Word of the Year podcast. He suggested that Embrace was the word for me in 2024. I went back and forth on it, somedays I was like maybe and other days I kept searching as I was sure it was a word with a pushing action. I wrestled with words for weeks. One day while I was spending some time praying and journaling, the Lord was like, Listen, embrace is your word. There are many things you need to embrace, including yourself. OUCH…ok Lord. I hear you. So of course, I dug into more words and definitions with the word embrace.
Push – an act of exerting force on someone or something in order to move them away from oneself.
Pull – exert force on (someone or something) so as to cause movement toward oneself.
After all my wrestling with words and praying, my word for 2024 is
I realized I don’t actually want to push things away from myself, I want to pull them in closer and gladly do it, as if I am giving it a big hug.
Embrace may sound very lovely, and it is, but I have been thinking that sometimes we have to embrace things we don’t really like or want. So, this word does have a bit of that uncomfortable feel that I was going for. In fact, what I love about embrace is that it’s a glad acceptance. Not just a grit, grin and bear it or a I just have to get through it mindset but instead being almost enthusiastic about it. Now I’m mostly thinking of winter weather or exercise when I say this. Not that there won’t be things we dread but some of this simple/silly stuff that we complain about and act as if it’s the worst thing, it really needs to stop. I’m preaching to myself here friends.
I’ve been journaling a lot about certain aspects and areas of my life or things I need to embrace. But I’m going to keep some of this between the pages of my journal and my prayers. It’s honestly nothing terribly exciting but it’s tender and right now I’m in a season with a lot of inward reflection. I really love the slowness of January and February for exactly these reasons, a slowing down and time for reflection, journal, prayer and reading.
One thing I will tell you is that I’m very excited to embrace my new season of becoming a grandparent. It’s not a secret that I miss babies, toddlers and a houseful of children. I am so very excited to have a baby in our family!
I am also going to embrace winter and so far, thankfully Minnesota has made it easy this year with little to no snow and mild temps. Last winter was a doozy, we had so much snow! I’ve walked outside a ton this winter and I have yet to wear my winter coat! I’ve been throwing on some long johns and tennis shoes, I haven’t even worn winter boots. Hopefully there is still a chance to embrace some real winter yet this year, I actually kind of miss the snow. Don’t tell anyone.
Every year I also choose a verse to go with my word. I have two for sure this year that I want to really embrace.
This year I’m working on embracing the truth of the love of Christ and also embracing truth about who I am in Christ. Always a work in process, always a battle in our minds in believing the truth and not the lies. I’m embracing the season of life we’re in, our four beautiful babies and now a grandbaby that God has entrusted us with. Embracing the person that God has created me to be and the gifts He has given me.
So that’s my word for 2024. I would love to hear if you have chosen a word for this year.