2020 Word of the Year

2020 Word of the Year

As one year fades into another, it’s a natural time for reflection. A time spent uncovering what went well, what we wish had gone differently, what we learned along the way, and what our hope is for the future. Reflection is an opportunity to evaluate the past in order to reveal the ways we’ve grown and changed.

Looking back helps uncover how to move forward. - MaryBeth Eiler

We are given a path forward when we take the lessons learned from the past and use them as a guide. One way I do this is by selecting a word of the year.

Selecting a Word of the Year

At the end of every year, I spend time processing, reflecting, and prayerfully formulating my goals for the coming year. Within the process, I choose a word that will keep me grounded to what matters most to me in life. 

Choosing a word of the year helps to:

+ incorporate the lessons I’ve learned from the past,

+ take note of what I could easily miss if I wasn’t open to receive it, and

+ be intentional about what I prioritize.

How to Uncover Your Word of the Year

There is no correct approach to uncovering your word of the year, but it is a process that requires intention and reflection. Online quizzes exist that will “reveal” your word of the year, but I opt for a more hands-on approach using a goal-setting tool called PowerSheets. While PowerSheets are a great resource, you certainly don’t need any fancy tools.

Step 1

A simple way to begin the process is to grab a journal and begin to reflect. 

Questions to get you started:

What went well last year? What would I do differently today?

What were the highlights of the year? What were the most challenging aspects of the year?

What made me come alive?

How did I learn and grow this year?

What did I wish I had spent more time cultivating?

What did I learn that will help me move forward this year?

What areas of life do I feel need some attention?

What matters to me today? What doesn’t? What will matter to me in the big picture?

Step 2

Reread what you wrote down. Do you notice any themes? What stands out to you? This information will help as you uncover potential words.

As words pop into your mind throughout the process, write them down. Look up their definitions. Research synonyms. Turn to the Bible to see how the word is used. Prayerfully ask God to reveal your word.

Step 3

Selecting your word of the year is a process that can take a few days or even a few weeks. Take your time. As Lara Casey says, “there is nothing magical about January 1.”

My 2020 Word of the Year

As I reflected on 2019, a major theme was present: I had a deep desire to fully step into the calling I believe God placed on my life. I had the big picture, but I didn’t have the required steps to get there. Within this realization, my word of the year sprung forth: obedience.

obedience[ oh-bee-dee-uhns ]


the state or quality of being obedient.

the act or practice of obeying; dutiful or submissive compliance:

a sphere of authority or jurisdiction, especially ecclesiastical.

Chiefly Ecclesiastical.
		conformity to a monastic rule or the authority of a religious 
		superior, especially on the part of one who has vowed such conformance.
		the rule or authority that exacts such conformance.

An important truth kept surfacing during my reflection: life rarely, if ever, goes according to my plans. Unexpected circumstances happen. Within the messy middle, it is often difficult to let go of my own desires and step into God’s, but in doing so, I unearth all God has for my life.

As 2019 came to a close, I was full of gratitude for prayers answered not my way, but His. Without fail, my plans paled in comparison to the ones God brought to life as I walked in obedience.

In 2020, my greatest desire is to be obedient to the calling God has placed on my life, to listen to His voice, and walk in the direction He has for me one step at a time. Obedience is hard and I am certain I will be challenged to step out of my comfort zone time and time again throughout the year. I also know the end of my comfort zone is a place where I often experience significant growth.

God has bigger and better visions than those we conjure up for ourselves, but we miss it when we fail to follow his lead. - MaryBeth Eiler

In 2020, I’m loosening my grip and obediently stepping in the direction God has called me to as I do, I’m sure to find abundance along the way.

Do you have a 2020 word of the year? Share it with me in the comments!