If you could use just one word to describe 2020, what would that word be?

For me, it would be the theme word(s) I chose for 2020 without knowing what this year would bring. My words for 2020 were Stillness and Pause. (I couldn’t decide between the two words, so I just focused on both of them. I chose them because I felt that life had gotten so busy, and I was running from one “to-do” to the next. I felt God was calling to me to slow down and pause, be still.

That’s exactly what 2020 did. This year has been difficult in many ways, but it has also been good for me as I’ve learned to be okay with a slower pace of life. I’ve learned to enjoy things for the first time—like watching the birds in my backyard. They’ve always been there, but I’ve just never had the time to slow down and notice them. (I’ve even given them and the squirrels names this year!)

God has a purpose for all He allows to happen in our lives. He doesn’t waste one thing, and I know He’s using what has happened in 2020 for good, even though I struggle to see that at times.

As we begin a new calendar year tomorrow, I’ve been pondering what word I want to focus on for 2021. The word God keeps bringing to mind is the word Embrace. I want to embrace whatever God has ahead for me—good and hard.

A few weeks ago, I learned that a dear friend of mine when I was living in East Asia passed away last year from cancer. Her husband found me through my website to let me know because he knew how close we had been. He sent me a printed copy of some of Sue’s journal as she began her final journey on this earth with cancer. I love what she wrote about her journey:

“Am I asking God to heal me? Yes, constantly, fervently. Do I believe that He can do it? Absolutely! I ask and then I lay down my will for His. But it’s a strange thing because I find that even more than my healing, I want to encounter Jesus, to see Him in fresh ways, to know Him deeper, to be heart-to-heart close with Him. I want Him to take me away from the crowd, to talk to me, to touch me. That personal encounter with Him means more than anything.” —Sue Eitemiller

Sue embraced her situation, and Sue embraced her Savior. She wanted an intimate relationship with Jesus more than she wanted healing. She embraced life, even though it wasn’t perhaps as she had envisioned it would be.

So, Embrace is my word for 2021. I want to embrace every day of 2021 (regardless of what it holds) and live it to the fullest for Him.

If you have a word or verse for this coming year, please share it in the comments below. I’d love to hear.

Happy New Year!

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