Why I can’t tell you my One Word for 2014

Why I can’t tell you my One Word for 2014

Why I can't tell you my One Word for 2014 | Modern Mrs Darcy.

Forgive me for this bit of navel-gazing today? We’ll talk craftiness and decorating soon to make up for it. – a 

Last year I chose a word for the year for the first time. My word was “dwell,” and it was suitable in so many ways … even if I did kind of forget about it once summer rolled around.

After a whole lot of mulling it over, I’ve chosen a word for 2014.

I’m choosing it because it’s a word that I suspect is crucial to my calling, to who I am as a person and a writer, as a mother and a disciple, a wife and a friend. It’s a word for now. I’m choosing it because I absolutely must keep it top of mind in 2014, as I’m poised on the hinge of my thirty-something years.

This year I need to figure out what this word means for me and why it’s so crucial to my identity, to who I am and what I do.

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When I was in college, I had a professor I dearly loved. Her specialty was human development, and once–just speaking off the cuff in class–she answered a student’s question about her spiritual life.

I forget the question, but I’ll never forget her answer: she said that many of us have the impulse to share what we’re learning as we’re learning it: to talk through our epiphanies, to broadcast our insights as we receive them.

(Yep, I’m one of them.)

But she challenged us to be aware that there are times when we need to resist the impulse to share things as we’re learning them. Sometimes we need to sit with insights before we share them. We need to give those truths time to become ours before we give them away.

Even though I chose it, I don’t feel like my word is mine yet. It’s one I’m very much stepping into, and in 2014, I hope to do just that.

Many of you have chosen words for 2014, and I love hearing what they are, and why you chose them, and what you’re hoping and dreaming for the year ahead.

But this year, I’m keeping mine to myself … until it’s really mine to share.

Do you have One Word for 2014? This seems horribly unfair to ask … but tell us what it is in comments?

66 comments | Comment

66 comments

  1. Very wise advice. I think the same goes for learning experiences…troubles that we go through. Sometimes the time to share what we are going through is not while we are in it. It is too raw at that point in time. We need the distance and perspective.

  2. Amanda says:

    De-lurking to say: YES to this: “…there are times when we need to resist the impulse to share things as we’re learning them. Sometimes we need to sit with insights before we share them. We need to give those truths time to become ours before we give them away.”

  3. Leanne says:

    Interesting approach… I, too, have to digest things internally before I put them out into the world. I look forward to hearing your word after you’ve made it yours!
    My word for this year is “Accept,” as in “Accept the things you cannot change,” and also “Accept the gifts life is giving you.”

  4. Funny you should say all this…I wasn’t going to hop on the One Word train because at first no one word stood out to me. And then, out the blue, one did.

    But it feels like a funny word to me…and kind of risky. Like, what do I mean by ______ anyway? What will that to look like? Do I really want to hinge my whole year on it?

    And then I hop off the overly-introspective train 🙂 and realize that my life really isn’t hinging on whatever “One Word” I pick. But I’m still not ready to share either…

  5. Alyssa says:

    Simple– I’m a homeschooling mom of 4 kids, one adopted, all in different stages of life. Nothing feels simple, but I can make it that way when I focus on what’s important. Simple is a lot of saying no to others and myself.

  6. Great advice! I find myself doing that all too often, especially now that I’m blogging. Sometimes writing it out helps me process it better, but you’re right that sometimes it’s better to just keep it to myself until I’ve fully absorbed the lesson or whatever it may be 🙂

    I don’t have a word for the year…I need to think on that one.

  7. Good for you! I have such a hard time keeping things to myself. Other people’s secrets are 100% safe with me, but my own…well I just don’t have any secrets. That’s probably why I have a blog 😉 I don’t have a word for the year. Maybe I’ll pick one next year.

  8. DebRN says:

    My word is “Quiet.” So I am not first to speak, at work, for example. Quiet my heart before I attack the day’s activities, etc. And please no apologies for the navel gazing. Your blog makes me feel like there are other women out there who think, in many ways, like I do! You encourage depth and a love of learning, growing and contributing value.

    • Anne says:

      I love your word. “Light” has so many wonderful, happy, airy connotations. Looking forward to hearing any updates… 🙂

  9. Faigie says:

    I’m also one of those that has something like confession compulsion and I don’t think I could even have one word, it would have to be a whole paragraph.

  10. My word for 2014 is trust. This means so many things. It means remembering to trust God in all circumstances. It means to trust in His provision. It also means to trust that my children will learn without formal schoolish lessons by exploring things on their own. This last point is by far the hardest for me at this point.

  11. Kimberly says:

    Excellent advice. My word for 2014 is “Intentional” which frankly, is the broccoli of one words. Good for me, necessary, but not the most exciting item on my plate;)

  12. Tim says:

    My one word for the year, Anne, is going to be “perspicuity” … no, “strontium” … wait, perhaps “bloviate” … hmm, this appears to be a work in progress.

    • Anne says:

      I love the word “perspicuity.” Although I do get it confused with “perspicacity.” 🙂 And I also love the related “peripatetic,” which seems like a perfect “one word” for me, not just for 2014, but for always. 🙂

  13. Breanne says:

    So many things to think about here. I appreciate the words you shared from your college professor both on keeping quiet for a time and also processing with others. I go back and forth between the two on my blog, never sure just how much to share so I under-share if anything. =)

    I stumbled onto my words “big” and “freedom” and wrote about them because I needed to unpack freedom a little. Mostly for myself but also to refer back to the post.

    • Anne says:

      And I enjoyed reading the unpacking of said words. 🙂 And something I really like about blogging is that you can write about your one word for other people, but also so much for yourself, too.

  14. MK says:

    Good for you to keep your one word secret…but the busybody inside me is going nuts! 😉

    The words I kept mulling over in December were Foundations and Joy…our family was more than ready to say hasta luego to 2013, and we need a little help in the happy department. And I think focusing on getting foundational routines and habits down will help us toward that goal…or at least that’s what I keep hearing from a wise blogger I follow. 😀

    • Anne says:

      Those are good ones and they’re so intertwingled! At least for me. If ever there was a time to pick two One Words, I’d make an allowance for “foundations” and “joy” to serve together.

  15. Ticee says:

    Embrace
    Embrace what God is doing. The risks he is calling me to take. The Communion he desires to have with me.
    And His perfect plan for my life.

  16. Jeannie says:

    This is a really interesting post, Anne! I have heard a lot about the One Word idea in the last while and had been pondering what my word might be. I think my word for 2014 is “daily.” I chose it because it expresses a prayer for day-to-day strength (“Give us this day our daily bread”); it reminds me to focus on the small, everyday joys of life; it encourages slow, steady progress, which seems to be how I work best; etc.

    I admire you for holding off on sharing your word until you really feel comfortable with it.

    • Anne says:

      I love “daily.” A word like that would NEVER have crossed my mind–and I think that’s one of the reasons I like it so much.

  17. Charyse says:

    Yes! I’ve picked a word and I have some goals. I’ve not even shared with my hubby but I am journaling to stay accountable to myself. They’re too important and precious to share just yet!

  18. Rebecca says:

    So true. I’m the same way. When one of my grandparents passed away we were all sharing with our pastor special memories. I’ll never forget him saying that there may be some things that we may not want to share and just “ponder them in our heart” like Mary. I’ve never forgotten that statement and I try to apply it to other areas.

    • Anne says:

      I love how you say your word chose YOU–and that it did it back in August. I hope you’ll be updating us on your One Word progress (is that the right word?) over the course of the year.

  19. Ana says:

    I definitely need to take in and internalize an idea before I can even express my thoughts and feelings around it. Drives my husband crazy because he asks what I’m thinking when I get that introspective look in my eyes, and I have to say “nothing” because I am not ready to discuss it yet…

  20. Trish says:

    I’m so glad you posted this! 2014 is the first year I’ve picked a word and I’m keeping it under wraps for a little while as I work through what it means for me.

  21. I really, really like what your professor had to say. It’s something I’ve been thinking about lately and reading this clarified it, as well. Similarly, I’m reading Hamlet’s Blackberry right now and just read a section on how we often don’t give ourselves space to simply let our minds wander, which is often when we do our real processing and where creativity can emerge. We move on to the next task, the next screen, the next email and so on. What your professor said goes hand in hand with this book. Good things to mull over. But rest assured, next time we chat, I’m going to ask you what your word is. 😉

    • Jeannie says:

      Hi Leigh, I read your comment and noted that you are reading Hamlet’s Blackberry. I loved that book — his examples were so fascinating.

  22. Anne, I have heard this suggested- the idea of holding onto something- before. I have begin to implement it in several areas. It helps me slow down and a really work through things. Sometimes I share later. Sometimes I don’t. I have a blog post series I want to do about me being a feminist. But i have yet to write the first post about it bc God and I are still working through what that means for me. Anyways, keep it I front of you and your Father and family if you chose to tell them. We are hear whether or not you ever utter the word or not.

  23. asheritah says:

    Thanks for daring to go against the grain and NOT share your one word. I agree–it’s important to let things marinate in everyday experiences before sharing them with others. Too often I feel the impulse to post something groundbreaking on my blog that I don’t give myself time to fully enter the learning experience.

    My one word for 2014 is INTENTIONAL. I’ve given up on resolutions and hope to simply become intentional in what I eat, what I read, how much time I spend in the Word, making time to play with my baby girl, helping my husband, and using my blog as a ministry avenue.

    Thanks for the chance to share!

  24. Love this post. I’ve vacillated between not having a word, having a word but not telling anyone (like this), or just keeping the same word I feel like I’ve picked for the past few years, b/c it’s STILL the word that comes to mind first–CREATE. I too, look forward to hearing how your year evolves, and how your word speaks to that. Can I also just say, you are my blogging inspiration? You write so often, and your content is always fantastic. Know you are inspiring me in my own blogging journey! Happy Saturday, Anne! 🙂

  25. Heather says:

    My word is ‘Happy’. I actually told my immediate family what it is so they could understand why I may not do everything I used to do (which sometimes definitely didn’t make me happy).

  26. I have never really had a “word” for the year. One year I randomly chose “intentional” as my word and I was anything but.

    I wasn’t planning on choosing a word for this year. I wasn’t looking for one. But starting in early December, I felt like God just kept impressing one word over and over and over and over on my heart.

    The same word found itself in front of me repeatedly in January. And so I am embracing it. JOY.

    As you said, I’m not there yet. I need God to teach me how to find Joy in the mundane and the hard and how to really live it out.

  27. Tracy S. says:

    I have never really wanted to choose “one word” or “one verse” because I just didn’t know what God had in store for me. This year is different. I think is is going to be my “Trust” year–as in trust in God to take care of me, trust my friends to hold me up during the bad times and trust myself as I make real changes in my life.

  28. Just a few days ago, I commented here that my word is ”trust”, and it was the first time I ”said it out loud.” Interestingly, today my pastor gave me my 2014 verse in his message. ”Commit your way to the Lord, Trust in Him, For He will act.” I thought that was God’s way of solidifying my choice. Pretty cool.

  29. Lucinda says:

    Appreciate your professor’s comments….I, too, tend to want to share what I’m learning because it’s so exciting and I generally think everyone needs to learn what I’m learning. I’m learning that’s not always the case! My word this year is ‘courage’. I’m in midlife (hope it’s still okay I follow you!) and I’ve used up all my excuses and reasons and now it’s time to do all those things I’ve been preparing for and dreaming about. Courage.

  30. XYZ says:

    How can you find a word for the year?

    I find that your comments are fascinating, and that having a theme, a small mindfulness space to focus on instead of all the (too many) ideas we usually have, probably helps actually thinking, pondering and evolving in that area. And I think I would like to do that.

    But how do you listen for that word?

    • Anne says:

      I’d be interested in hearing other people’s thoughts on this. As for me, it’s something I’ll have on my mental “back burner” for weeks, and just about the time I’m sure I’ll never be able to come up with anything decent, the right word comes to me.

      It’s only January: there’s still time to come up with one if you want to. 🙂

  31. Asheritah says:

    XYZ–
    My word is usually a summation of what I feel God has been teaching me recently. Oftentimes, I find that the same theme lifts off the pages of books I read, comes up in conversations with friends, and occurs in sermons on Sundays.

    For me, it was all about being intentional in the changes I want to see happen in my life (health, relationships, spiritual growth, personal development), so I chose INTENTIONAL as my word.

    I hope that helps!

    • XYZ says:

      Thanks for your answer (and Anne, thanks too).

      I think the problem is that I’ve never been good at listening to God, but lately it’s been harder. I know I need to listen, but somehow I feel that’s not the word. My intuition, or something, tells me that there’s something else that should be getting prioritary attention, but I don’t know what.

  32. Carolyn says:

    My word is cheerful, and already my teenager and my two year old will say it… This year it’s for me, yes, but also a prayer for my whole family. You can read why I picked it here: http://rhyminggame.blogspot.ca/2014/01/one-little-word-verse-prayer.html .

    XYZ – I have heard it said that picking one word frees you up from making lots of other resolutions or goals. Think about all the different things you want for your life, or want to see in your life – is there a common thread or underlying theme? If there is, then that’s your word.

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