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The Power and Process of Your Word of the Year

Are you still looking for your Word of the Year?

I have been selecting a Word of the Year and Verse of the Year since I was 19 (before it was really a “thing”.) So, for nearly 4 decades, I have seen the power of having a Word of the Year (Read excerpt of 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman: the backstory of my Word of the Year: STRONG and its amazing results)

Word of the Year can also be labeled Word of Intent, My One Word, One Little Word, and I love the acrostic of Word of F.O.C.U.S.






The Bible has a few examples of the validity of having one focus:

“I have asked the LORD for one thing; one thing only do I want: to live in the LORD’s house all my life, to marvel there at his goodness, and to ask for his guidance.” (Psalm 27:4 Good News Bible)

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Phil 3:13-14 NIV)

Bill and I each select a Word of the Year each January.

Here is a “Looking for Your Word” worksheet  we created that gives 6 methods, 6 key questions to ask yourself, and 6 boxes to capture your top 6 words to help you then narrow  down to your ONE WORD. (Download worksheet here)

This is a simple bullet point list of the six places to LOOK for YOUR Word of the Year:

Look Back– What WORD summarizes what I learned last year?

Look Inside– What WORD captures who you want to become next year?

Look Ahead– What WORD describes the life I desire to live?

Look to God and His Word– What WORD is the essence of my AHA spiritual moment last year?

Look Around- What WORD did God roll across my path organically recently?

Look to Helps and Tools – Is there a repeating WORD or theme in the tests and tools I have used?

Here are a few examples of tests: DaySpring and Word of Intent quizzes

Download Your Word of the Year Worksheet. Complete these survey questions then pray and ask God if any of these words that answer the questions above are Your Word or  point to your new Word of the Year.

His Word

Bill realized he is happiest when leading a team and ministering in community. It is the Pastor-Shepherd in him. Caregiving in the midst of the pandemic has isolated him more than normal. God has graciously ramped up the coaching arm of Proverbs 19:8, and Bill has been fulfilled exercising his gifts of wisdom, shepherding, and coaching, so he selected the word: RALLY as his focus for 2022. Last year he taught through the book of Ephesians, and these verses captured his goals for 2022:

so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Eph:3:17-18)

Her Word

For 2022, deciding my Word of the Year has been a journey since last October when I was teamed up for a retreat with my friend, Rebecca Friedlander (author of The Divine Adventure). She did a talk out of Jer.1 and this verse stood out to me as if in neon:

Therefore prepare yourself and arise, And speak to them all that I command you… (Jer 1:17 NKJV)

After picking a Word of the Year for many decades, I recognized the prompting of the Holy Spirit, impressing the word ARISE on my heart, so I began to pray about selecting it as my Word of the Year.

I thought my word was going to be ARISE, but as I prayed and pondered from Thanksgiving through the New Year, the Holy Spirit reminded me that I am usually quick to ARISE, but I had MANY goals from the past year that I had NOT completed. It seemed like God was asking me “Why did you not achieve these?” And I realized our dual role of carrying our Love-Wise ministry and balancing it with caregiving Bill’s parents had pushed our margins. As I looked at the myriad reasons why certain hopes, dreams, goals and projects did not get wrapped up, the reality of the heaviness of our current caregiving role of my 92-year-old in laws, had drained my emotional tank. I had allowed a melancholy, “Why try?” attitude of depression to sneak in the back door of my heart. I didn’t realize that was the attitude that was keeping me stuck. The stress of 2020 and 2021 had sucked the courage and bravery right out of me!

God spoke to my heart of my need to re-engage my confidence, courage, and bravery. So, I searched of all the synonyms of brave and when VALIANT popped up, I knew that was my word for 2022. I selected 2 Samuel 10:12 (Darby Version) as my verse:

Be strong and let us shew ourselves valiant for our people and for the cities of our God; and Jehovah do what is good in his sight.

I recently spoke on “Creating a Life to THRIVE!” at The Potter’s House, the lovely country ministry cabin of my mentee, Rebecca Friedlander, Director of the films, Celtic Pilgrimage and Thin Places. When I shared my Word of the Year was Valiant, (and that I recently discovered through a DNA test, that I am primarily Irish, Scottish and English–CELTIC), getting me dressed as a Scottish Celtic warrior for a photo shoot was a natural next step– right?

The next step after choosing a Word of the Year, is to begin to implement ways of weaving it into your daily life. Bill and I downloaded Your Best Year Worksheets (for women/ for couples) then I placed key info from the worksheets and drawings inside the front of my new bullet journal:

Weave In the Word of the Year 

  • Verse of the Year (I also list many cross-reference verses that have my word in it, then I do a study of these verses)
  • Motto: #beVALIENT (What motto would you place on a coffee mug, t-shirt or bumper sticker?)
  • Quote:God aids the Valiant“- Theresa of Availa (A simple internet search with your Word can turn up a multitude of quotes from history, literature or the Bible)
  • Song (I am still working on this, but typically I put together a playlist that I use to play in the background of my life)
  • Art: I selected a photo of a sword to represent God’s Word, the Sword of the Spirit. Then I looked for many images of a woman warrior of God’s Word…and then I planned a meaningful memory. (Often friends can add art options: My friend Sharon created a watercolor of flowers associated with bravery, and Christin created handy key chains).
  • Color: Valiant Poppy (bright red!)
  • Symbols: (There are MANY icons, animals, warrior wear and even flowers that symbolize bravery! See samples below)
  • Fragrance or Essential Oil: After looking up essential oils associated with courage, I decided to make my own Valiant blend for my defuser! Also check perfumes, lotions, and candles for matching scents)
  • CLARIFYING QUESTION of the Year: Does this choice make me more valiant or show the bravery God has placed thru HIS POWER in me?

Walk Out Key Goals

You also might find this helpful to move to the next step of goal-setting: One Thing Priorities Goal Setting Sheet which helps you capsulize one key goal in each of 7 priority areas of your life.

Post your Word of the Year everyplace you can think of: a coffee mug, tea cup, tumbler, t shirt, paint it, post it on your wall, on a bookmark in your bible or bullet journal. Draw or doodle it into an Art Bible or make memes to post on social media. Use your Word of the year  or the verse of the year reference as a password. Study all the verses in the bible that contain your word so you gain a deeper understanding. The more you see your word, hear your word, study your word and use your word, the more opportunity you give God to cause forward movement in your life.

After all, Jesus is THE WORD,  so Christ set  in motion that words matter.

photo by Rebecca Friendlander

Pam Farrel and Bill Farrel are Co-Directors of Love-Wise, are relationship specialists, bestselling authors of 56 books including The Marriage Meet Up: Devotional Planner for Couples Who Want Passion, Purpose and Productivity, and their newest creative devotional journal: VICTORY! 




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