As 2020 wound to a close, my best friend and I were talking about a Word for the year to come. I mentioned how I usually come to mine…namely, I pray about it and wait for something to strike me–or not. She, on the hand, prayerfully CHOOSES one. Something she means to keep in mind in the year to come. Her word for 2021 is “Joy.” Which is lovely, right?

I decided that this choosing business had something going for it. I began to ponder what I felt my word should be, and praying that God would clarify it and help me pick the one He wanted for me. I considered quite a few. Something resonated whenever I considered my need for rest…but rest as a word for the year didn’t seem quite right. I got a feeling of being on the right track whenever my husband and I talked about making a list of what we’ve done in 2020 and then setting up plans to help us stick to the right path in the year to come. And I knew that I wanted a word that also captured how I want to pursue relationships and love my neighbors in all that I do.

It was in a conversation about marketing our books that the word itself hit me.

Intentional.

This is the word that encapsulates everything I’m going for in 2021.

I need to be intentional about my rest–because let me tell you, burnout is a real thing!

I need to be intentional about my writing, focusing on the stories God wants me to write.

I need to be intentional about building relationships and tending relationships, with family and friends and neighbors.

I need to be intentional about pursuing the passion for reconciliation that He has planted in my heart in this tumultuous year.

I need to be intentional about my food choices, my exercise, my health, my family’s health–a lesson diabetes has taught me in the last quarter of 2020, for sure, when “spontaneous” became an impossibility for my son.

Intentional. It’s the word that also speaks to the reason undergirding everything else. My husband and I talk a lot about the value of self-awareness and “knowing your why.” When you know why you’re doing a thing, it helps you focus. It helps you make decisions. It helps you evaluate whether each thing adds or detracts from what you should be doing. We ask “why?” a lot in our family. And having the answer definitely creates intentionality.

I don’t want my life to be defined by happenstance and circumstance. I don’t want life to happen to me. Even when I get tossed curveballs (and 2020 had a few of them!), I want to step forward to meet them, knowing that they might be able to make me pause and regroup and even change up some of my actions, but they can’t change my reason for things.

Do you have a word for 2021? I’d love to hear it, and what it means to you!