Happy New Year! For 2021, I’m choosing a word for the year. It’s my first time doing this because in previous years I didn’t want to settle on just one word. There are so many lovely words out there that I felt choosing a particular word might limit me. Rational or not, that was my thinking.
But this fall, I was inspired by the practice of bestselling, award-winning writer Debbie Macomber to consider claiming a word for the new year. She’s been doing this for over 20 years and has been amazed at how God has used that to shape her and her life.
You don’t have to be religious to do this. Many people choose a word for the year in their businesses or personal lives that have nothing to do with spirituality but are words they hope will serve as a touchstone and talisman as they pursue their goals and dreams.
After being inspired by Debbie, the idea of a word for the year bounced around in my psyche for a few weeks. What kept coming back to me was “faith”. That may sound simple and spiritual, but as I played around with the word and concept it became clear to me that faith isn’t only about a higher power. There’s also faith in processes, systems, and organizations, faith in ourselves, other people, etc.
The big two for me are faith in God and faith in myself. I need to have faith that God will keep His promises, that He is good, and that He wishes only good for me. If I have that kind of faith, then each experience, although it may be painful or difficult, is not a mistake. It’s for my good in the end. That’s a hard pill for a lot of people to swallow, but that’s what I choose to believe. I believe that everything happens for a reason, there are no mistakes, and there is a grand plan.
Faith in oneself is super important for anyone who wants to do more in the future than they’ve done in the past – climb higher, create more, produce more, learn, grow. I need to have faith that I will sit down, write some decent words, polish those sentences and paragraphs to the best of my ability and make sure the best critiquing eyes I can find get a look at the work to give me feedback. If I don’t have that faith I won’t accomplish much. If I don’t have faith that I will take helpful feedback and use it wisely, why would I have anyone read the work? I must have faith in myself that I will produce the work, make it the best it can be, and release it into the world, or what’s the point of doing any of it?
We must have faith that we are decent at whatever our art or craft or business may be. Not that we’re at the top of the heap, but that we have the potential to get there. Then we must take that faith and trust that we will learn and study and practice until we’re at the top of the heap – which will be never, of course – so we’re always learning and studying and practicing. That’s what professionals do. They have faith in themselves. Do you want to go into the operating room with a surgeon who has faith in her coworkers, the equipment, even her God, but not faith in herself? I don’t think so. Faith is what we need to take the first step toward anything.
The other areas in which we can place our faith are institutions, organizations, and processes. We trust that our schools will properly educate us for the careers we choose. We believe that the local fire department is well-equipped and trained to help us in case of fire. I don’t lie awake at night wondering if the firemen got a high enough score on their last exam. I trust that they will do what they’re paid to do. That’s faith.
We trust that if we mix together flour, sugar, eggs, etc. and bake it at the right temperature we’ll get a tasty product that we’ll want to eat too much of. We don’t just hope it will work out, preparing ourselves to toss out yet another experiment. We have faith it will happen.
Faith is not that mysterious. Sure, faith in something unseen may seem mysterious. God, the depth of the ocean, the hot oven turning goo into cake – these require real faith. We trust and have faith in so many things, it would be impossible to live a normal life and not have faith.
So, in 2021, I’m choosing a conscious faith. Faith in myself, my fellow humans, and my God. I’ll be let down by other humans, institutions, and myself fairly consistently, I expect, but that’s one thing about faith, you just need a little seed to grow a whole forest.
Friends, have you found your word for 2021? If so, I’d love to hear it as well as your reasons for choosing it.
Happy New Year, everyone! May your faith be bigger than your obstacles!
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” — Hebrews 11:1
“…for we walk by faith, not by sight.” — 2 Corinthians 5:7