A New Year, A New Word

Here we are again, on the cusp of yet another new year.

2018 is a year full of promise and opportunity, uncertainty and mystery. This year might bring the very best of moments into our lives…it may bring the very hardest of days…or it may bring both. This year could bring incredible joy, or it could bring deep pain…it will probably bring both. There’s so much we just don’t know about what the next 12 months might hold. But there’s one thing I do know, one truth that I can hold on to no matter what this next year may bring: God is with me, through it all.


Every year I choose one word. Not a list of goals and plans. Just one word. One word to dig deep into. One word to really lean into and intentionally practice.

This year I’ve chosen the word “surrender.”

As I made my list of words that have been on my heart lately, my short list included words like “brave” and “risk,” “trust” and “given.”

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“What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?”

This was one of the questions our missionary, JJ Alderman, asked when we were on our mission trip in Togo back in October. It has been heavy on my heart and mind ever since. What is the greatest risk I’ve ever taken? What have I risked for Christ? Have I risked anything, really? I’m not naturally a risk-taker. I tend to do everything I can to play it safe and to maintain my secure little bubble of a life, guarded against risk and pain and failure. But more and more I can hear God calling me to take bigger risks, to step out of my comfort zone, to just trust Him and risk my comfort for His Kingdom. This year, I want to take bigger risks as I follow Jesus.

“The only way to abundant life is the broken way of risk.” – Ann Voskamp, The Broken Way

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The Broken Way has been one of the books that I’ve gone back to over and over throughout this past year…so many of Ann’s words have made their way into my heart and shaped how I see my life in light of eternity and how I walk this broken journey along the way.

“Look at us all wandering around a spinning planet with these bucket lists, desperate to fill ourselves up with meaning, when meaning comes from emptying ourselves out….
…I wonder if that isn’t a better way to live than carrying around a bucket to fill up: live for something worth dying for. Let love break into you and mess with you and loosen you up and make you laugh and cry and give and hurt because this is the only way to really live. Bucket list or not, don’t waste a minute of your life on anything less. Don’t waste a minute on anything less than what lasts for all eternity.”
- Ann Voskamp, The Broken Way

I don't want to waste a minute on anything less than what lasts for all eternity.

One thought that has stuck with me ever since our mission trip to Togo has been this: I want to live a life that outlives this life. I want to be a part of something that is bigger than my own lifetime. I want to invest in things that will outlive me, things that are eternal: the Kingdom of God, the Gospel of Jesus, the souls of people. I want to live in the light of eternity…to “think of eternity, and live backward from that.” (Ann Voskamp)

The way I will do that is by living fully surrendered to Christ, fully submitted to His will and His plan for my life, whatever that may be. The story He is writing is bigger and greater than anything I could write for myself. So this year, I surrender. I want to lay down my dreams and my desires and my very life at the foot of the cross and let God write my story…to say yes to what He asks me to do, to follow where He leads, to walk by His side and watch His story unfold in my life. What that will look like, or where He will lead, I’m not sure. But I’m sure of this:  “The Lord himself goes before [me] and will be with [me]; he will never leave [me] nor forsake [me].” Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV

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So, this year, I surrender.

“I choose to surrender my story wholly, fully to you. Take the pen, Lord Jesus. And write.” – Mary DeMuth, Jesus Every Day

What’s your “one word” for this year? What’s the one thing you’re leaning into?

I’d love to do a custom lettering of your one word for you! Now available in the shop: Custom “One Word” Lettering.

I’ll custom hand-letter your one word, and send you a JPEG image you can save and share and print, and a PNG image you can place on your own photos or graphics. The option to order a foiled print of your one word is also available, for a limited time. For more details, hop over to the shop and check it out!

Whatever your goals or dreams or your “one word” for this next year, I pray that 2018 will be a year that God draws you nearer to His side, that you will experience His love and trust His plan and find joy in this crazy wonderful journey.

Happy New Year, friends!