Why? Word of the Year vs Resolution
For the past few years I’ve chosen a Word of the Year, rather than a resolution. I am the sort of person who views every day as a chance to begin again, or reinvent yourself. I also love setting SMART goals, so I couldn’t figure out why we were all so fixated on only setting goals ONE DAY out of the year. Furthermore, I recognized that as people we are constantly growing and evolving, and I was searching for a common thread that could float with me along the twists and turns that the next 365 days would offer me.
The Word of the Year is something to meditate on. It’s something you can pray, asking God to reveal to you new insights into the word, how you can act it out, how you can be made better and grow closer to God through it. The word of the year is to be sought, practiced, chased after, or used as a guide.
Some people like to use the hashtag #OneWord365 to share on social media, after a website of the same name: One Word 365.
Choosing my Word
Choosing my Word of the Year 2017 was difficult. I had so many great words floating around in my head, even up to yesterday. One stood out, then another, then another, and they rotated in and out of importance. I saw friends posting their chosen word, and was inspired. Do you ever stop and think how many incredible words there are in our language?
In light of my indecision, I will do something different this year. Two words. One for the first six months, and one for the second six. One to begin, one to end, and a constant desire throughout the year to see the two balanced in harmony.
The first word is DILIGENCE.
Diligence: careful and persistent work or effort.
For the past few months I’ve had this verse that I memorized as a child floating around in my head, Proverbs 6:6.
Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways and be wise.
This imagery would come to my mind when I was scrubbing my toilet, or cleaning my fridge, or any number of chores I do every day. The ant, toiling away.
Diligence falls through because I am a mom of two little girls who also works full time and sometimes just wants to fall asleep at 7:30pm.
But I want, and need, to learn diligence.
Diligence to do the things I don’t want to do, but ought to. Diligence to do the things I do want to do, but feel too tired to do. Diligence to read the Bible every day, and good books as often as I can. Persistently putting in the effort to blog regularly. Diligence in pursuing my creativity. Carefully working to connect with my children, my spouse, my students and my friends in an intentional way.
Persistently working around the house and maybe even stick to a cleaning schedule. (Here’s where you learn all my bad habits…) Diligence to do the dishes before bed. Diligence to make my lunch so I don’t spend money on fried chicken and muffins from the University Union. Diligence to fold the laundry regularly so it doesn’t pile up to a four-foot tower between my washer and dryer.
Diligence to sit down with my husband once a week and check in with him emotionally. Diligence to do the budget every month.
Maybe this list is starting to sound like a regular old list of resolutions. It’s more than that, because when I think about it, I do have time. The problem is that I can be lazy, sitting playing games on my phone or watching Netflix instead of being spurred into purposeful action, motivated by the hard work of the ant.
The essence of this idea is to make my moments count, rather than throwing them away on things that matter less, like reading the comments section or watching TV.
I must also be careful not to become a slave to productivity. The pendulum can’t swing so far to diligence that I forget to relax and have fun, neglecting the truth that playing and snuggling with my kids is less important than a tidy home.
That’s where the second word comes in… but I will talk about that another day.
Today, my focus is the ant and her diligence.
Do you have word of the year? It’s not too late to choose one. It’s never too late to choose a new word to consider in thoughtfulness and prayer.
What is your word for 2017? What do you expect, or hope, it will teach you over the next 365 days?