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Word of the Year 2017

Are you a New Years resolutioner? Do you love starting the New Year with a new list of possibilities? Perhaps you’re far more ambitious than I. Five years ago I did away with resolutions and adopted a single word instead. You can read about that process and journey here. Every year, the last days of December I do the same thing: reflect. I read the post I wrote one year ago as I looked forward into the now finishing year; remember what my word was, and how it manifested itself in my life. Last year my word was peace, and wow has it changed me.

The path of my words has been interesting. In 2013 my word was renew. 2014 brought intention. 2015 trust, and 2016 peace.

As I reflect on those words and the progression of them I see something so much bigger and wiser than me. As I wrote here, the process isn’t about choosing a word, as much as it is allowing a word to choose you. Every year it never fails that at some point, I forget my word entirely. It, however, does not forget me.

I guess maybe it’s something like what Elizabeth Gilbert talks about in her book Big Magic. There’s magic in it. Wonder. There’s some kind of miracle that happens when we allow God to lead and direct us to a single word and, as we commit wholeheartedly to it, even on a subconscious level, it transforms us. It becomes us.

I can honestly say 2013 brought renewal. In 2014 my life and relationships became a matter of intention. 2015 demanded trust and taught me the power of surrendering to it; and 2016 has brought a peace I never knew existed. I couldn’t have imagined to even dream for the amount of peace I have in my heart. Right now, the word that keeps rising up in me is pursue.


It’s not a word I even think about. It’s how I know that it’s not me. It’s not what I want. It’s not what I think is right or best or even safe. The word He often chooses, and the timing of it, is certainly not easy. When you trust God’s leading, it is likely His words will not come lightly on a life. They usually come with trial and testing and hardship, which, somehow by only His divine magic, bring healing and light and so much joy.

But because I’m a word girl by heart, I have to find out what it means. Why might that word – pursue – be the word He is laying on my heart for this year? What stood out the most to me are these definitions:

  1. To carry further; advance;
  2. To take action, especially with the intention of sustained effort;
  3. To engage in; practice.

What gives me comfort with a challenging word like this is there is no end point. No destination. To pursue means merely to carry further. To practice, with sustained effort and intention, to end 2017 in a place further down the road than where I started. Somewhere deep in my soul I hear Him say: Pursue the path I have set before you. Pursue the desires of your heart. Pursue me. Pursue peace. Pursue love, generosity, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Pursue life. Dreams. Increase. Fruit. All these things He has given unto me, unto you. Will I pursue them? Will I pursue Him?

Will you?

My word for 2017 is interesting to me for certain. It’s so active. Compared with the words of the last four years, this word feels entirely different. And yet, for the first time, maybe a little bit exciting too. I look back on the last five years and the work God has done not only in my life, and relationships, but in my heart. Who He is creating me to be.

Renew, intention, trust and peace had to come before pursue. They were deeply restorative words. Deeply restorative works. Even a year ago, I wouldn’t have been ready for a word like pursue. I was still afraid. Unsure. I felt broken in so many ways. But I don’t feel broken anymore.

Isn’t that simple truth a beautiful, glorious work of magic in itself?

It certainly feels so to me. These days, I feel led. Driven. Pushed from behind by a powerful force so much bigger and more beautiful than me. I can’t help but wonder what 2017 has in store with a word like pursue. I’m so excited to see the ways God grows and changes me from the inside out as He brings me challenges and opportunities to teach me more about who He is, and who He made me to be, as He teaches me to pursue the path He has laid before me. What a cool God we serve.

What’s your word?

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{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Ashley Bourgeois December 30, 2016, 12:26 pm

    After the hustle and bustle of Christmas had settled and I lay exhausted in bed I received a text message from Jess. I was at first surprised/worried to hear from her on a holiday. It was not long into the conversation though, that I recognized the Holy Spirit at work. Besides we tired mommas exchanging pleasantries, Jess almost immediately began speaking to my heart.

    She was holding me accountable. She asked about my word for the coming year. You see, last year Jess and I co-led a women’s’ Bible study and instead of doing New Year’s resolutions we challenged everyone to prayerfully choose a word to focus on in the new year. At this point I had not even thought about a new word, in fact, I had not thought about my 2016 word in a long while. Suddenly, my eyes were open.

    In 2016 my word was HONOR. At the forefront I would honor God, my marriage, my role as parent, etc. Now that I sit at the end of 2016 I look back and see that I had to make some really difficult decisions in the course of the year. One big one was a health decision about whether or not to have a hysterectomy at 34 years old. I know I made the right decision (prayerfully) because I have peace about it, but also because I can see that I honored myself, specifically my body and hopefully my healthy future.

    So, after our conversation, I had recovered a bit of energy and opened my Bible to where I had left off the day before. Colossians 3:12 “…you are holy, chosen, and dearly loved.” It was like a hug from the Holy Spirit. As I read on I literally saw a list as directing the way in which I can walk with the one who dearly loves me.

    Yes, I am enduring the holidays post-op, but as always, my God has provided more than I need. Now I can look forward to the New Year. As Jess checked in on me again today, I thought I would post this and let you all know that my word for 2017 is WAIT. I will wait upon the Lord and see what the year will bring.

    • admin January 3, 2017, 10:41 pm

      Oh my gosh Ashley I love this so much. Isn’t amazing when you look back and SEE all that He has done? Wow. And how blessed are we to have friends like Jess who remind us when we forget? What beautiful, life-transforming words He has given you. xo

  • Leslie M. December 30, 2016, 4:55 pm

    My word for 2017 is Balance…I recently started a counseling job and am now out of the house 36 hours/week – I haven’t done an outside the home job for 22 years. It is hard to find time for everything and I know the key is BALANCE. So that is definitely the word God is giving me for 2017………….and there will be trial, testing and hardship to find it.

    • admin January 3, 2017, 10:22 pm

      Oh goodness, yes! And Leslie I pray He helps you define that word in your own personal way. The perfect “balance” for you; for your life. Blessings! xo

  • Kim January 3, 2017, 7:52 am

    Hi Tammy,
    I was reading a post you made (picture post) on another site & the words literally jumped out at me….he sure wanted me to find you…way at the bottom of the page your Web address was listed & oh Tammy I am so glad he led me to you & your site. I keep saying & telling people I have healed from that & I have moved on from that pain & the loss of my entire immediate (growing up family….not by choice!) Family. I have done so much counselling & talking & listening & so much talking & truly feel or thought I felt at peace with it…..and maybe I have healed a lot or enough. However I am stuck in all aspects of my life, from relationships, including friendships, I feel stuck emotionally……I truly believe I am stuck or at least feel stuck because God wants me to learn more, or learn something I have missed on my journey of healing….& after reading just 3 pages from your site & especially the Word for the year story…..after, no during reading this a word came to me Renew…..huh…I thought & then thought some more…..Hmmm renew ok & I feel that Hope (& hope has always been a very close word/feeling to me-always) and I am excited about this word for me and my life for the first time in a long time!!! You are indeed a vessel as the lady above said. Thank-you Tammy for sharing you & your journey & all that comes with it. I will be back…..oh boy will I ever be back!!
    May God Bless you with all that you need and pray for, Tammy.
    Yours in light

    • admin January 3, 2017, 10:21 pm

      Oh Kim, I’m so glad you’re here! I love how God connects us with people and places at exactly the right time. He is so faithful. Praying for your journey ahead, I am certain He has a beautiful plan in mind. xo

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