In years past I often thought about a New Year as just another day on the calendar. This year felt dramatically different compared to the others. It felt like a much needed slow down and an opportunity to gather my thoughts.
I’ve tried to understand exactly what has made the end of 2022 feel like a clearly defined conclusion and closing of a door. I realized that it is in part because I know that in early 2023 my debut book is launching and with that will come all sorts of exciting and unforeseeable experiences, opportunities, and challenges.
At times, the anticipation of what’s to come has made it hard to catch my breath. I look to 2023 with far more questions than answers, countless curiosities, and plenty of nerves. I am also washed in wonder and excitement as I’m witnessing a dream come true in ways that previously felt impossible. It is from that place of matched wonder and uncertainty that I grabbed onto my 2023 word of the year: RELEASE.
Release: My Word of the Year for 2023
This word hit me long before I could articulate why this word was the right one. It washed over me while I was out on a run. My mind was churning as I considered all that sits on the horizon. I realized I’ll soon have a 6th grader – “ohmygosh, middle school!?” I realized my book is coming out and with that comes intense vulnerability – “ohmygosh, what will people think!?” Those two realizations were enough to put my mind in a tailspin. It was then I caught the whisper of the word – release. Let it all go.
Ironically, my word for 2022 was Embrace. As I considered the word release I wondered if it made sense to have opposite words sitting adjacent to each other. How was embrace a priority in one year and then release the very next?
It makes sense now.
One is like a sweet inhale and the other is like a slow exhale. Two important pieces of the same necessary action. I had to inhale last year (embrace) so that this year it would be possible to exhale (release).
What does “release” mean to me?
- In 2023 I want to intentionally hold loosely to outcomes and expectations. I will work hard, and do my best, but trust the outcomes to God.(Matthew 6:25-34)
- My goal is to also stop mental loops of worry and anxiety about all that might be and simply rest in what is. (Philippians 4:6-7)
- I will put in the intentional work to take every thought captive and insist on a healthy inner dialogue. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
- I will intentionally release myself from connecting my worth and identity with the outcomes associated with my book. I am aiming to be so certain of my value that no nasty review or internet troll can shake my certainty of who I am, whose I am, and my inherent worth. (1 Peter 2:9)
- I will trust that my family is loved deeply by our Big God and that He will guide us as we welcome in a new season of middle school and pre-teen years. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Resolving to Remember
I have found that making it “official” by putting my word on a mug is a way to affirm the significance of my choice and consistently remind myself of the intention I’ve set. January will soon turn to February, March to April, and before we know it – the Christmas tree will be up again. I don’t want the busyness of life to distract me from how I am seeking to frame my days and mindset.
This year my mug is a bright yellow MudLove mug. I love ordering from this company because they are a give-back brand and each mug is a handmade piece of pottery. I chose a marigold yellow glaze because I don’t want to simply “release” – I want it to be a joyful release. What color is more joyful than bright yellow?!
Each day as I wake to read my Bible, write in my journal, and sip my coffee, I will do so from a joyful yellow mug that bears my word – release. I have resolve to remember all the care and intention I put into welcoming 2023.
Do you have a word of the year? No worries if you don’t! I do hope that with or without a word of the year you will spend time carefully and prayerfully considering how you want your coming days to unfold. You are sitting in a beautiful pause point that invites you into reflection and a reset, if needed.