Can you believe it is almost 2020? Wow! I don’t know about you, but 2019 felt like it flew by!

Every year around this time, I start to think of my goals, plans, and dreams for the next year. I start all my dreaming and planning with prayer.

I set aside a specific time, like a date with God, to talk about the previous year and the coming year. (I even put it in my calendar because It is important to me!) I believe we grow best when we are intentional to stop and look at where we’ve been with God and the path we’re headed on moving forward.

In my prayer time, I talk to God about all that happened in the last year. I look over the things I prayed for, the goals I met, and yes, even the pain and loss. I examine the year in its entirety, and I express to God my gratitude, my praise, and my questions. I talk to Him about anything that seems undone or unsettled, and I lay those things before God because I am so certain that He will finish what He starts. (I need reminders of His promises! Philippians 1:6)

Once I’ve processed the previous year with the Lord, I start dreaming with Him about the upcoming year. I do not know what the next year holds, but I know He does, so I position my thoughts to trust what I do not see. I write out my goals and the things on my calendar for the coming year. I discuss with God the growth I want to see in my walk with Him. I ask Him specifically for things like greater understanding and love for Scripture, eyes to be open to see new opportunities to witness, etc. Then I ask for growth and change in the other areas of my life that are important, such as my marriage and my career.

When I am approaching my end of year planning date with the Lord, I start asking Him to give me a word for the coming year. Just one word to focus and set my heart on. I often have to remind myself of my goals or plans, but a WORD is something I can write on my heart and come back to easily over and over.

I often find this word by paying attention to patterns. For example, if every sermon I listen to, every verse that touches me in Scripture, every song my heart is sticking to in worship is about GRACE, then I know the coming year my word will be GRACE. I’ll set my intention to give grace and receive it. I’ll spend time with God asking Him to show me daily where that word applies in my life.

Last year my word was BEHOLD HIM (ok, that’s two words but you get the idea!) so every month I would write those words at the top of my calendar. No matter what I’ve set out to do each month of 2019, I’ve remembered that my greatest objective was to BEHOLD the Lord in everything I do, say, write, or read.

I’ve had several “words” over the years, but each one finds me all year long. It is a sweet connection I share with the Lord when “our word” finds me over and over.

If you want to start the tradition of choosing a WORD for the year, my best advice would be prayer, intentionality, and listening to the Holy Spirit… but don’t make it harder than it has to be by obsessing or over analyzing.

Any word you choose will be one you will share with the Lord, and that is the point — connecting your heart to Him intentionally all year long. There is no right or wrong way to do this!

We would love to hear the WORD you choose for 2020 or how your word for 2019 impacted you this year.