A word for 2013

Tonight I sat in a circle of community, the men and women who are here in my day to day life, following Jesus with me. And Ben posed the annual question: If you were to imagine one word God has for your 2013, what would that word be? In what area do you believe God is ready for you to blossom?

After splitting our group into two smaller ones, it was a rich gift to sit with women face to face and hear them speak heart into single words.





Such good words for such good women. I love them more to hear their words.

Rest was my word for 2012. Eager for physical rest, the word came easy to me. But still lacking rest in the physical sense, I can attest that the rest of being given the gospel, of having open palms to receive goodness from God is much more sustaining than a specific ration of sleep. Yes, He is more than enough. I can take real Sabbath rest because of how He gives.

Could I just pick Jesus for my word next year? He is the right answer to everything. Light Himself, Life Himself. Or gospel — what Jesus came for? It is so precious to me, and it is the driving force behind humility.

Ah, humility. That would be a natural choice. But still it flits about mysteriously, shyly, as if it would rather not have a slot on the word-of-the-year list.

I think I am settling on hospitality.

Three years ago I read a little book called Radical Hospitality: Benedict’s Way of LoveIt was beautiful, opening up the word hospitality to carry the weight of much more than a warm dinner for obligated guests. No, hospitality, as the book demonstrated, is an opening of the heart more than an opening of the home. Hospitality says, “Welcome. There is space for you here, inside of my life.”

I like hospitality for my 2013 word because of how warmly it handles all the other big words God has been pressing into my life: gospel, humility, gratitude, community, grace, surrender.

  1. Gospel: The gospel is what has already been done for me. I cannot function with an open heart unless Christ has already opened His for me.
  2. Humility: In serving the needs of others with intent listening or acts of recipient-minded service, self-focus must, as a prerequisite, be lain down. My accomplishments or embarrassments fade in light of Christ-focus (i.e. humility).
  3. Gratitude: Only when I am conscious of my own riches can I recognize the wide space within me for others. Only open hands can receive; only open hands can reveal all that is already in them.
  4. Community: Our perception of God’s glory is heightened when we worship Him in community. Hospitality — an open heart toward my community — gives me more reason to worship.
  5. Grace: To handle the differences of others with a heart of acceptance is the constant climate of hospitality.
  6. Surrender: To others, I give in to their agenda and their benefit. I release my freedoms for the sake of the gospel. To God, I put up my hands and say, “I give in. You’ve got this one.”

Do you have a word of the year, for this year or next? I’d be honored to have you share it here, so we share in our journey together.

    • Shelley Chapman
    • January 13th, 2013

    My word for this year…FAITH. I’m stepping out of the boat, and I need to keep my eyes on Jesus!
    Thanks for a great blog!

  1. Yes, Shelley, what a beautiful word! I’d love to hear updates on how you grow in faith this year. It’s a treat to hear from you here.

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