Listening for My Word of the Year

There are many ways to “receive” or “get” a word of the year as a focus. For me, a word is often revealed through one of two ways. Usually it is found through listening and then waiting, and watching for a word to be highlighted to me over the next few weeks or months. By listening I mean getting in a quiet space, praying, asking for a word to be a focus and lived out the next year. By just asking, I am prompted to pay attention, to seek, and then find. As I go through my daily life, I notice words more and watch for which words stand out as a possible theme for the year, and/or are repeated in ways that catch my attention. If a word seems like a good candidate, I sit with it for a while and see if it feels “right.”


Once in awhile, a word will catch me by surprise and I just know, but that doesn’t happen very often. This year I thought I received my word early and was excited about it, but as I sat with it, it didn’t feel “right.” It felt like I was choosing a word I wanted instead of one that would be more meaningful and relevant to me in 2018. So I went back to asking, watching, praying, repeat …

Sometimes something other than a word will lead me to the word, such as an animal that keeps appearing in persistent or unusual ways.

Here is a link to the post: SURPRISE: An Animal of the Year? Yes

Sometimes a verse, phrase, or song keeps popping into my mind, and I find myself humming a song or phrase for an unusually long period of time.

This year it was a color that kept coming up and I found myself using it without thinking. It is so dark. I tend to choose bright colors, so it surprised me. It is not one of my usual colors and all of a sudden it seemed to go with everything I was painting. Then I realized I was picking it because it represented something to me, something I wanted to explore. That’s when I knew it would be my color for 2018. The color is indigo, or Paynes Gray in my paint box.

To be honest, I felt a little bit afraid of the dark color. It is totally different than any other color of the year I’ve had. I asked if there were other colors for the year. The first thing to come to mind was not colors but contrast, light against the dark. It was like God dropped the year’s theme through the revelation of color, flooding my imagination: Deep blue to nearly black representing darkness with the presence of the Spirit; light shining in the darkness. The cosmos. Stars and planets illuminating the night sky have always fascinated me. White light that holds all color, the warm colors and the shape of a flame came to mind.

In 2005 I was painting Cosmic paintings and still do sometimes. I love it! The painting over the mantle in the first photo shows my first one. This type of painting represents an overcoming, life-changing season of my life. I began to play around with painting papers with the theme of the night sky, much like I did with the paintings, only with a lot less risk.

I also played around with painting some Washi tape. It soaked up a lot of paint, so I think I need to experiment a bit more. I adapted the idea of painting Washi tape from Kiala Givehand. Here’s her YouTube video. She’s awesome!

Even without knowing my word at this point, I was getting downright enthusiastic.

A Bible verse kept coming to my mind, over and over for weeks, especially the last phrase (in bold below.)

“To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”    – Colossians 1:27 NIV

I asked what about the verse intrigues me? It is mysterious, full of possibility, almost sounding too good to be true. I want to know more about what it means. No, more than that, I want to experience the reality of it. And I want that in 2018! A bold statement I know.

I haven’t had a color and verse reveal the word before, but they definitely influenced what word would become my word for 2018. It feels like a treasure hunt, searching for my word to be well lived throughout the coming year.


The stencil is one I designed, produced by StencilGirl Products®: 
I bought the galaxy and space theme Washi tape online on Etsy by PasoKuma

Here is a link to another previous post about exploring a word of the year:

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  1. I love reading about your process. Mine comes differently each year too. My word for 2018 came to me a couple of weeks ago and I’m excited about it. Will blog about it soon.

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