Have a Happy One-Word Wonder-Ful New Year!

For 2015, I chose Release as my word for the year. I imagined myself releasing my life to God, releasing any anxiety, releasing any overfunctioning, and so leaving more room for God’s Spirit to work. I can’t say my one word worked perfectly–which didn’t matter since hey, I was releasing perfectionism too–but I kept coming back to Release throughout the year, and more importantly kept repeating it as a spiritual practice.

My one word for 2015 is Release.

I appreciated my one-word experiment last year so much that I’m at it again for 2016, this time with a new word: Wonder. For me, Wonder means:

  • being curious – as Alice said about her adventures in Wonderland: “Curiouser and curiouser!” Instead of being afraid of her fantastic experiences and the different beings she encountered, Alice understood her life as an adventure. She could explore and be curious. In our world today, where difference is often met with fear, I hope instead to be curious.

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.

  • being filled with awe–at the wonder of God’s creation, at God’s work in the world and in my own life. Lamentations 3:22-24 come close to being life verses for me in Scripture, and definitely from the old King James Version because of the way the verses begin:

It is of the Lord‘s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.

I’m looking forward to this new year – to wonder at God’s mercies in my life, to ask good questions, and to be curiouser and curiouser. May you also have a wonder-ful year!

Pollywog Creek
A Wonder-Ful Photo by Patricia Hunter, used with permission. It makes me wonder about what’s blurred in the distance, and wonder at God’s creative, live-giving power.

Writing/Reflection Prompt: Have you chosen a word for 2016? Why or why not?


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12 thoughts on “Have a Happy One-Word Wonder-Ful New Year!

  1. Thank you, April, for your awe-inspiring writings! I am going to use your word RELEASE as my 2016 Word of the Year!

    1. Oh Nancy, I hope that RELEASE will be as powerful a word for you as it has been for me in the last year. Although my word for 2016 is WONDER, I know that I will still practice releasing this year as well. One of the ways that I’ll continue to do that is by turning my rather haphazard but ongoing journaling into a more deliberate daily practice where both wonder and release will find a home.

  2. Thank you for this! I too had chosen a word and had blogged about it earlier this week! My word is Mercy. I love the word wonder. Looking forward to how God will meet us this year as we sit with these words. Bless you, and prayers for 2016. Grace Wulff

  3. I love both last year’s word and this year’s word. Awe and wonder are so vital to the spiritual life. The hymn “How Great Thou Art” reaches people across the theological spectrum because it stirs something universal within. You probably know of the research around awe also? https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-new-resilience/201509/sense-awe-and-life-purpose-increases-your-mental-health

    Have a WONDER-full 2016, April.

    I will blog about my word on Wednesday.

  4. The word God’s impressed upon me for this year is “trust”. Makes me excited and also wonder at what God’s got in store!

    1. What a great word, Travis–I often think of trust as leaning on God, so it’s a word of comfort and rest, and yet it’s also a word of challenge and action as we place our trust in God. May you discover the depths of its meaning in your life this year!

  5. April…thank you for your writings…my word for 2016 is mindfulness…it´s an invitation to be present to my life…to live in the NOW…to keep my eyes-ears-senses open!!…

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