Renew: 2017 Word of the Year

It’s that time of year again. In the final week of the current year, people begin to think about…New Year’s resolutions. And, you probably know as well as I do how New Year’s resolutions work.

December 31- Write down all the resolutions in a brand new planner. Buy a new set of pens to record all the progress you make as you keep your New Year’s resolutions.
January 1- So far, so good. Happily record how you’ve worked to keep your resolution today and smile because you’re well on the way to keeping those resolutions.
January 20- The baby’s sick and you spend all day playing nurse in between homeschooling and taking care of the other kids. You have a few minutes to think about all your resolutions and at least glance at the list. But not much progress is made today.
January 30- The baby is still sick. Two other kids are sick. The stove isn’t working, so you’re trying to cook meals in the microwave. Any thoughts of homeschooling have been thrown out the window because you have to make time for a doctor’s appointment. You don’t have time to breathe today, much less to open your handy, dandy planner and check on your New Year’s resolutions. Maybe you’ll have time when things slow down.
February 10- The whole family is finally well, and your husband was able to fix the stove. You have time to pull out your planner today, but when you see how much you’ve slacked off, you get really discouraged. You put the planner away without recording anything. You push the planner to the back of the shelf so that you can forget about it.

Word of the year- renew

Has it happened to you, friend? It’s happened to me as well. I’ve even had years where I blogged about those resolutions, determined that if I checked in with readers every week or so with my progress that I would surely stick with them, right? Wrong.

So when I read about the concept of a word for the year a few years ago, I loved the idea.

Why a Word for the Year?

A word for the year provides focus. Instead of a list of things I hope to accomplish, I’m directing my focus toward a specific attitude or idea. Because it isn’t a list of resolutions, I don’t get frustrated and overwhelmed if I have a season in life where I “get behind” or lose focus. Instead, I can think on my word for the year and refocus my priorities and get back on track.

Unlike specific resolutions, the word for the year can encompass an attitude I want to have toward everything in life- not just the things on my resolutions list. The word helps to remind me throughout the year to focus on that attitude or concept in all areas of life, not just a few specific areas for which I’ve made resolutions.

What a Word for Year Is Not

A word for the year is not a way to set goals. And, don’t get me wrong, goals are good. I do set goals for my personal life, for our homeschool, and for my work. I think a goal is different from a resolution because resolutions tend to be broad and unmeasurable. That’s why they are frustrating.

 “I’m going to lose weight this year.” That’s a broad resolution that many people make for the New Year. But it’s frustrating because it’s unmeasurable and because it is vague. “I’m going to exercise for ten minutes, three days a week.” That’s a more measurable and specific goal.

Goals can be much less frustrating than resolutions because you have a specific, measurable action that you are working toward either short term or long term. (And ideally you’ll have both, and your short term goals will lead to accomplishment of your long term goals.) I could probably write a whole series of posts about goal setting. But, suffice it to say that choosing a word for the year is not the same as setting goals and doesn’t necessarily need to take the place of goal setting.

My Word for 2017: Renew

I really thought about my word this year and in fact went back and forth with a few possibilities for a while. I like to pray and consider what God is leading me towards, and as I’ve been praying and thinking, the word that keeps coming to mind is “Renew.” defines “Renew” as:

1. to begin or take up again, as an acquaintance, a conversation, etc.;resume.

2. to make effective for an additional period

3. to restore or replenish

4. to make, say, or do again.

5. to revive; reestablish.

6. to recover (youth, strength, etc.).

7. to restore to a former state; make new or as if new again.
I love the idea of restoring, replenishing, reviving. As a busy homeschool mom who lives with chronic pain, I need that. I need to be restored and revived every day.
As I was looking up Scripture about renewing, I realized that one of my favorite passages of all times is about my word- “Renew”- and I hadn’t even thought about it when the word came to my mind. (Isn’t it cool how God does that sometimes.) Lamentations 3:21-23 says “Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” 
Every morning His compassions are renewed. Every. Single. Morning. When I’ve ended the day before discouraged, tired, and hurting, His compassions are new. When I have sick kids and broken appliance, His compassions are new. When I feel as if I’ve totally messed up with this whole mom thing, His compassions are new. “Renew” is an awesome word isn’t it?
Besides the fact that God is renewing His compassions toward me every morning, He’s also renewing me when I trust in Him. Isaiah 40:31 says. “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

In addition to the ways in which God renews me, I chose the word “Renew” to remind me of things that I need to renew. I need to constantly renew my commitment to love and serve my husband and my kids. Sometimes I need to renew my enthusiasm for homeschooling. When I’m bogged down and discouraged, I can remember that God has called me to this, and I can approach homeschooling with renewed energy and a renewed good attitude.

New Year's resolutions

Do you have a word for the year? I’d love to hear about it. You can put a link to a post in the comments or just leave a comment about your word if you’re not a blogger. I love this idea of choosing a word for the year, and I love to hear the words others have picked.

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