Have you ever heard of the idea of choosing a word of the year? The idea is to choose a word that resonates with you for the year ahead. It might be a goal you have for the entire year, a theme you want to weave through the moments of every day, or simply a focus word.
Last year was the first time I chose a word of the year. I was a little apprehensive at first because the thought of choosing one little word capable of setting the tone for an entire year seemed near impossible. But I decided to try it. As I shared in my looking back on 2017 post, the word that came to my heart last January was “full.” Although my year wasn’t full in the way I had originally planned or imagined, I was amazed at how fitting it was; that's what makes me so excited about choosing a word for 2018. I can’t wait to see how God uses it in ways that are far better than I could ask or imagine.
The word I have chosen for 2018 is…
By definition, expectant means, “having or showing an excited feeling that something is about to happen, especially something pleasant and interesting.” We are all probably the most familiar with this word in reference to a pregnant woman – which is somewhat ironic given my current state of uncertainty regarding that subject. But the definition I fell in love with, was one given by a guest speaker who preached at our church last May.
He was teaching about Luke chapter 12:35-48, a section that talks about staying awake, essentially making ourselves ready for when Jesus comes again. In this sermon, one of his main points was to watch expectantly. The way he defined expectant with a biblical perspective was like this:
- to believe with certainty
- to look for the Lord
- expect Him to come
- a watchfulness based in confidence (this one is my favorite)
I wrote these notes on the sermon outline in our church pamphlet, tucked them into my desk drawer, and didn’t think about it again until I heard expectant uttered in my advent themed yoga practice this December. Hearing expectant, my heart fluttered a little bit. Out loud I said, “ooh… I think that’s my word for the year.”
Last year, I went into 2017 with all sorts of expectations. The year is going to look like this, these are the things I am going to accomplish by x date, and here’s how I am going to grow. And then the Lord smiled tenderly on me as He guided me in completely different directions. At first, I felt like a failure because I didn’t meet my expectations; but once I loosened my grip, I was able to see that the end result was not a disaster, it was actually much fuller than the year I had imagined.
This year, I’m shifting my perspective. My ultimate goal in 2018 is to be expectant without expectations. I’m still setting goals and hopes for the year, but instead of letting them be my ruler, I am believing with certainty that God is going to bring good things to fruition.
Here are 3 tangible ways I am putting “expectant without expectations” into action:
- Watchfulness based in confidence– I know that God is constantly at work. So, I am going to be intentional about listening for the Lord’s guidance, recognizing where He is at work and giving Him praise.
- Letting go of expectations – I am not going to let my expectations define my year. I am setting goals with grace in mind understanding that if they are not completed, I am not a failure – rather I’ll regroup and listen for where He is leading me.
- Stepping faithfully – I have no idea when my life on earth will end or when Jesus will come again, so I don’t want to waste any moment. I want to step faithfully towards where the Lord is leading me and leave behind insecurities, fears, worries, and any other obstacles that act as a distraction.
I have a feeling that 2018 is going to be another full one. I have a lot of questions going into this year, and I really don’t know what it’s going to look like, but I’m confident of one thing; God is good and He is faithful. I know that He can make beautiful things out of dust and this year, I am fixing my eyes, expectant that He'll do so. Will you join me?
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Have you chosen a word to focus on this year?
If expectant resonates with you, please claim it as your own – I’d love for you to join me!
I can’t wait to look back on 2018 and see how God used it for His glory.