For several years now, I have been choosing a Word for the Year. Doing this has been such a significant help to me in my life, and I am eager to share with you my word for this new year. Curious? Here it is:
Nope, it’s not flashy or glitzy. I doubt I’ll be able to find a pretty mug or hand-lettered wall sign with that word on it. But it’s a word that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, and I’m genuinely looking forward to having it as my main focus throughout this coming year.
If 2020 taught us anything, it taught us the value of being prepared. It shook us up and showed us in no uncertain terms areas where we woefully lacked in preparedness and made us intensely grateful for the areas where we were in a good place, ready for the unexpected.
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It also taught us that even our best laid plans could completely change in a moment. It taught us that being prepared goes far beyond having a well-stocked pantry and a generous supply of necessities on hand.
It taught us that we need a prepared heart.
A heart prepared to deal with disappointments without giving way to anger or frustration.
A heart prepared to rejoice in the blessings others receive without harboring jealousy or envy.
A heart prepared to deal with loss without being overcome by despair.
A heart prepared to serve others generously when our own resources need replenishing.
A heart prepared to experience loneliness while still considering the needs of others.
A heart prepared to stay faithful to God when those around us are losing faith.
A heart prepared to receive God’s blessings with humble gratitude, rather than selfishly hoarding.
I need – we all do – a prepared heart because I could be a “prepper” to match the best of them, with many years worth of emergency food stocked up. I could have the most well-laid, smooth running organizational systems in place for my home. I could have a freezer full of ready-to-bake meals and tasty treats to feed unexpected guests with ease. I could do all those things and more and yet be missing out on the most critical prep work of all.
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What I need to prepare more than anything else is my heart. Is the soil of my heart soft and ready to receive God’s Word, or is it full of stones and weeds? Am I guiding my heart or following it? Is my heart fixed on Christ, or is it being tossed about by every stormy gust and changing wind?
Not one of us knows what this new year holds, but it is guaranteed to bring storms of some variety for each of us. I want to be like the wise man in the parable that Christ told, who built his house on solid rock. Unlike the home of the foolish man who built on unstable sand, the wise man’s house withstood the raging storm, safe and secure.
As I’ve been pondering what my word for the year should be, this is the verse that has often come to mind, and I’ve chosen it to be my theme verse:
“Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.” Ezra 7:10
I can make this verse a little more personal by paraphrasing it this way: “She had prepared her heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach it to her family and those within her circle of influence.”
So my first area of focus this year is developing a heart prepared to follow the Lord. A few of the ways I plan to do this is by:
- Consistently memorizing Scripture.
- Continuing in the “Who is my God” Scripture reading/ journaling method. (Here is a journaling Bible similar to the one that I have loved using over the past few years!).
- Purposefully watching/listening to spiritually edifying videos/podcasts each day before tuning in to the news or another area of interest.
There are also two other key areas that I know I need to grow in this year:
- Establishing a prepared home. A calm and inviting home that is nurturing to the people living within it and ready for extending hospitality to others. (This includes improving my organizational skills, routines, and systems – not areas of natural strength for me! Having a good planner can is one thing that I’ve found helpful).
- Nurturing a prepared household. My household includes my family – my husband and children. Being purposeful and focused on helping each of them grow closer in their walk with Christ and deeper and stronger in their faith. It also reaches beyond my family to what the Bible refers to as “the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10). (This includes areas such as doing intentional, planned Scripture memory as a family, and taking the time and effort to grow meaningful, edifying relationships with others– again, these are not areas that come easily to me!).
A big part of why I am sharing here about my word for this next year is to encourage you to come along with me on this journey! Whether or not you choose the same word as me, a completely different one, or even no word at all, I hope that you are encouraged to be purposeful about preparing your heart to follow the Lord through whatever lies ahead.
I’m also welcoming accountability into my life because I love a fresh start, a new word, and exciting goals (I’m guessing you do, too?). But sometimes, the follow-through begins to fade off as the year progresses (can you relate to that as well?). So I’d love to hear from you – do you have a word or theme scripture, a new goal, or an intentional area of focus for this year? I’d love it if you’d share in the comments below, or you can message me directly using the contact form below this post.
And I hope that you’ll find here a ton of practical, helpful encouragement over this next year as we focus on having prepared hearts, homes, and households! I’ve got lots of exciting content planned, including writing about my favorite tools for studying the Bible (even as a sleep-deprived mom of littles!), a growing collection of super simple, super delicious recipes to keep your loved ones well-fed or to bless others, and streamlined hacks for homemaking (because work smarter, not harder, right?!).
Stay tuned, and make sure that you are signed up to receive my newsletter to hear whenever there’s a new post or resource available!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a part of this community, and I pray for God’s kindest blessings on you throughout this coming year!