My Word of the Year: 2021

I’m not normally one to pick a word for the year but when I started using Power Sheets by Cultivate What Matters I decided I could give it a try.

Last year’s word (entrust) came to me so clearly and I knew it was the right word for 2020. I’m surprised I didn’t write a blog post about it. “Entrust” fit every one of my goals for last year and while I can’t say I lived up to the word in every way, I did use it to keep on track. In my role as a wife and mother, in my job as a teacher, in my responsibilities as a leader of small groups (before COVID ended those), and in my purpose for writing Once You See Racism. I was entrusted with children, roles, and words to share and I really wanted do my best in each area.

When it came time to think about my word for 2021 I was pretty sure I wouldn’t find one as perfectly suited to this year’s goals as last year’s. I seriously had low expectations. One of the days I sat down to work through my Power Sheets Planning pages I jotted down a word and then decided to follow the directions and flip back through the previous pages to see if anything stood out. The purpose of that is to see if something from what I had written stood out, but after turning only two pages a printed word stood out to me as if it were lit from beneath.

In my mind I was thinking of the noun:
Flourish – ornament; adornment;

One of my main goals this year is to find 40 healthy meals that match my health goals AND that the whole family not only tolerates, but enjoys. Learning to cook in a way that is very different from my Southern Roots is a huge challenge and I am a little intimidated at the thought of changing our entire meal rotation. (I had mastered about 30 dishes that were amazingly tasty and I felt confident serving to guests. Main problem is that they were not healthy at all and were not helping me achieve my health goals.)

So when I first saw “flourish” I thought of flourishing healthy meals to taste great so that we’re HAPPY to eat them – finding ways to make dinner enjoyable without heavy sauces and tons of cheese. (I love both.) Flourish – a spice, a nice touch, something to make an otherwise boring meal attractive.

When I read the definition of the world I actually teared up.

Flourish: to grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way, especially as a result of a particularly favorable environment.

Even in the verb form flourish matches my goal! And it matched all of my goals that I’ve set for this year. And so, once again, this non-word-of-the-year person has found a word that can easily be applied to all of the goals she set. I printed out a list of all the instances of the word in scripture and every day I plan to look up the next instance and read how this word is used in each context.

Synonyms: succeed, prosper, thrive.

And as if that didn’t prove to me that the word was perfect, on January 5th the Bible Recap Reading plan had Job 6-9 scheduled and on my printed list I was supposed to look up verse 8:7!

And though your beginning was small, your future would flourish. (In most translations the word is prosper.)

Job 8:7

That’s how I came upon my word for 2021!

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

I stopped writing this blog post and set it aside for a few days because we’ve started school and I have other obligations. Two days after I saw my word in Job chapter 8, I read Job 14-16 using the Bible Recap and when I went to find the next instance of flourish from my own printed list, it was once again from the same scriptures I had read a few minutes before.

At least there is hope for a tree: if it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail. Its roots may grow old yet at the scent of water it will flourish and put forth shoots like a plant.

Job 14:9

It was another confirmation that I had selected the word that I need to focus on. Only God could orchestrate that my word of the year (on I list I printed out) be found in the same scriptures the Bible Recap scheduled for those days’ readings. That’s no coincidence, and so I will focus on flourishing this year, whatever that looks like.

That last scripture also gave me a bit of hope for our country. I am very angry at what people did at the Capitol last week and disgusted that Christians are in any way defending those behaviors. I’m baffled that anyone could compare what those people did (their reasons) to the protests that occurred this summer (and their reasons). Not. The. Same.

I don’t condone rioting or looting in any form but one group did so out of years of mistreatment, even to the point of having the mistreatment videoed and visible for the entire world only to have the perpetrators let-off without punishment… the other group did so because their candidate didn’t win an election. (An election that was proven well over a dozen times to not have been rigged or stolen.)

So… Christians… do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

Base your behaviors on that. And… not speaking of our nation or our country, not speaking of our flag, but of those who profess Christ (who loves across all nationalities), “at least there is hope for a tree: if it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail. Its roots may grow old yet at the scent of water it will flourish and put forth shoots like a plant.” I don’t believe for a second that Christianity is at risk… not from outside attack. But I do worry that Christians and those who profess Christ but don’t do justice, love mercy, or walk humbly with their God will damage the message of Christ in the ears of those who most need to hear that message.

Well, that went sideways. That was not where I meant to go with my Word of the Year post. It was supposed to be all happy and “look how cool that my verses were in the Bible reading plan I picked…” But I can’t ignore what is going on, and I can’t not speak up. It is my responsibility.

If you pick a word for the year, I pray you find one that speaks to your heart and every time you see it you are reminded that God is thinking of you. That’s what I take away from my experience this year, picking out my word. He’s thinking of me. And… He’s talking to me.

I wanted the word FLOURISH written with a flourish but when I googled “flourish + image” I got a lot of beautiful flourishes like the ones above! Oh well! I tried!

About Jennifer

"Yes, they're all mine." The answer to the question I hear most often.
This entry was posted in #OnceYouSeeRacism, About my faith, family, personal development, Racism/Race Issues. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to My Word of the Year: 2021

  1. sheriprescott says:

    I love your word & flourishes!! *smile* Such powerful scriptures and knowing you, those healthy meals will be amazing, too! I spent some time in December looking back through my journals and realized it’s been 13 years (starting after Alisa was born) that I chose a word for the year. Love the purpose and focus it brings! God is so good!! Hugs!

  2. Jamie Lamson says:

    Flourish was my word last year!! ❤

  3. Barbara Cox says:

    Beautiful post, Jennifer! And the sideways part, too! Prayers for our years :).

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