For years I watched people choose words to set an intention for their new year with curiosity, but since I had such a track record of failing and resolutions I never gave it a shot.

Until 2018.

The end of 2017 was one of the most tumultuous times of my personal life and invited me to do a lot of evaluation. Lots of hard introspection and re-understanding. Lots of acknowledgement of who I actually am and what I actually want.

So when January 2018 came along, I decided that it was the year to see if setting a word to characterize my next year made a difference in how it turned out.

I still made some resolutions and failed at them, but surprisingly the word that I chose for 2018 dramatically changed my life.

Why do I think that is?

Honestly, I think it is because instead of telling myself I wasn’t good enough at what I was doing, I cast a vision of who I wanted to be. Of the value I wanted to embody in that year.

And that has been the whole difference.

Resolutions made me feel locked in a prison of success vs. failure.

The word cast a vision that I could walk out with freedom. It could course correct and adjust as it needed to without negating what had been accomplished (or not) already.

So what was my word in 2018?

My word in 2018 was “meaningful”. Here’s what I wrote about it at the time:

Why meaningful?

I’m in a season where I am downsizing, prioritizing, and taking a hard look at the things in my life. There’s just only time for the most important and meaningful things.

If 2017 taught me anything it is that the time is short. I only have a few precious years with my children. Loved ones do not always live as long as we hope. Things that once seemed important now seem, well, unimportant by comparison. Life grows, changes, develops.

So 2018, I hope it is meaningful.
*filled with meaningful relationships
*filled with meaningful experiences
*filled with meaningful opportunities
*filled with meaningful choices
*filled with meaningful outcomes
*filled with meaningful growth

Meaningful means difficult choices. It means choosing only the things that will, at the end of the year, make me glad that I did them. It means choosing to dig deep into difficult things and figure out how to find the meaning. It means saying no to things that may feed the short term and not the long term. It means choosing better.

And it was meaningful. Meaningful beyond anything I could have ever imagined in that moment.

2018 brought me deeper friendships with people who had been a part of my life for a while and completely new friendships.

It brought me meaningful experiences like my trip to the Holyland. This trip in and of itself quite literally changed my life. (Look for a post on it some time in 2019.)

I found meaningful breakthrough in my spiritual life. I had massive acceleration in understanding, gifting, and maturity. This, by far, was the most meaningful change of this year.

2018 brought me meaningful opportunities to serve. Meaningful opportunities to lay down old burdens. Opportunities to make meaningful, purposeful choices.

So did 2018 bring me:

  • meaningful relationships? (Yes! So many!)
  • meaningful experiences? (In ways that I never could have envisioned, it absolutely did. I will never be the same as a result of them.)
  • meaningful opportunities? (Yes, this year handed me many opportunities, and I would say that I believe I chose well.)
  • meaningful choices? (I absolutely had many, and even though many of them were some of the most difficult choices I have ever made, I saw some of the biggest blessings come from them.)
  • meaningful outcomes? (It absolutely did. I could have never anticipated what they would be, but I am so thankful for them.)
  • meaningful growth? (I am so thankful for this part, because I am so much more the better version of myself this year for it. Personally, physically, spiritually, and relationally.)

The funny thing is, I had no clue when I set the word that this would be such a powerful agent of change.

But the values embodied by “meaningful” subconsciously permeated the way I approached the year, and made me certain that I should choose another word for 2019.

So what is it? What is my 2019 word of the year?

It took me a while to decide on my 2019 word of the year because there were so many things that I wanted to speak over my life in this season.

But one theme has been so constant in my life over the last month or two and I knew at last that it was the right one.

So 2019 will be my year of “Overflow.”

2019 word of the year

A mentor shared a story with me that inspires the meaning behind this word and I’d love to share it with you.

Imagine that you are a cup on a saucer. Inside your cup you have everything that you pour into it and everything that others pour into it.

In your daily life you may choose to offer what is in your cup to others. But what happens when your cup is dry?

Well, you have to fill it up again.

It becomes a cycle of fill up, pour out, fill up, pour out, but you never quite remain full yourself. You are always reacting to the lack of fullness and filling up just enough to then pour out.

What if, instead of offering your cup to others to drink from, you filled your cup so full that it ran out onto your saucer. Then when others need what you carry, they can drink from your saucer, and your cup remains full and overflowing.

They receive the life you carry, you keep your cup full to overflowing.

So in my life I plan to make 2019 the year of overflow.

  • Overflow in my walk with the Lord.
  • Overflow in my self care. “Put on my oxygen mask first” so to speak.
  • Overflow in my finances.
  • Overflow in my relationships with friends and family.
  • Overflow in my creativity and business ventures.
  • Overflow in my ministry.

When I reach December 31, 2019 I am certain that the stories of overflow will be tremendous. I can’t wait to first live them, and second share them with you then.

But to be able to live a life that overflows, I have to be filled to overflowing first. And that will take intentional choice and action.

The year of Meaningful set me up of beautifully for that. And I am so very thankful.

It’s time to overflow.

How about you? Do you set words as intentions for your year? Have you chosen one for this year? Would you share that in the comments! I’d love it!