Each year, I like to choose a word that is meaningful, motivating, and helps me stay focused. Sometimes, my word for the year is obvious and comes rapidly. But here we are almost to the middle of January and I still haven’t landed on my word. Now, for a writer, it’s a little disturbing to be wordless. I can’t help but wonder if the inability to discover my word for the year is a forecast of what lies ahead with my writing. Hopefully not.
As I ponder my wordlessness, I think about all that factors in. Following are reasons I believe I’m having trouble coming up with a word for the year:
COVID and Other Hard Stuff
When COVID first swept across our world, did any of us think we’d be entering the third year of a pandemic at the beginning of 2022? Yet, here we are dealing with a variant that appears to be more contagious than the original strain. It feels almost like we’re back at the beginning instead of regaining forward motion.
Perhaps you are dealing with something other than COVID that knocked you back to all the feelings and fears you had many years ago. You thought you were beyond it, but suddenly something triggered the old emotions and you’re dealing with them all over again. How can you cope?
Realize that many things in life do not have a quick resolution. They must be dealt with multiple times. It’s hard, and sometimes you feel like giving up, but don’t stop. Take the difficulty as it comes, processing and taking tiny steps forward, while trying not to project worst-case scenarios for what lies ahead. Although it may be a one-step-forward-two-steps-back progression, you are still making headway.
“Uncertainty” seems to be the watchword for our times. So much of what was familiar and dependable isn’t anymore. We can’t depend on people to speak with civility and kindness and act with any sense of decorum. Familiar routines and activities are every-changing, and it’s difficult to make plans with any certainty they will come to fruition.
Uncertainty can paralyze but do what you can to avoid allowing it to hold you captive. Certainty is somewhat of a myth anyway. None of us has full assurance that life will go as we planned, but when it doesn’t, keep pressing on. Believe God cares about your struggles and trust that he will walk with you through any type of unexpected occurrence when it comes.
Lack of Focus
When life is difficult and uncertain, we often “check out” in some way, losing focus and opting to do nothing. But forward motion is an important part of avoiding stagnation. Focus requires effort and intentionality. You have to be determined to stay on track, with eyes forward toward the horizon rather than looking back.
The Biblical story of Lot’s wife is always a good focus reminder for me. She had clear instructions about moving ahead with eyes forward, but couldn’t resist one last look back at her old life. That decision resulted in irreparable stagnation. Don’t make the same mistake. Keep your focus forward.
Do you remember multiple choice questions from school days? I often narrowed the choices to two, but then couldn’t decide which to pick as the final answer. Or maybe a better analogy is a fan deck of paint colors with multiple beautiful hues and subtle nuances that make it impossible to choose. Similarly, this year, multiple word choices have my head spinning.
Because no single word stands out among the rest, I’m choosing a whole fan deck of words to write this year’s story: hope, focus, discipline, joy, peace, persistence, faith, and trust, each holds significance for me this year. But I want to go beyond words that are meaningful to me personally. I am asking God to help me convey words to others that are wise, affirming, gracious, thoughtful, and kind.
What are your words for this year? How will you craft them to write your story for 2022 and also affirm others?
“May the words that come out of my mouth and the musings of my heart meet with Your gracious approval, O Eternal, my Rock, O Eternal, my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14 VOICE).
Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving through, and beyond, difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include Life on Pause: Learning to Wait Well (Bold Vision Books), When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House), and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).
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