2017 Word for the Year

In 2014 I decided to choose a word for 2015.  I chose *revel* because I wanted to focus on enjoying and really sinking into the enjoyment of life.  I wanted to learn what it was to *revel* in God, family, vocation and then to do so.  It’s still a struggle for me in the day to day to see the work that has been done and enjoy it deeply, but at least I have a diagnosis and some ways to think about it.

A year ago, I knew that *revel* was something that had been sinking in, and that I was ready to consider another aspect of life that I struggle with, so I chose Attend! because 1) it’s very easy for me to be inattentive, to not notice, to not be present, to not do the work I need to do and 2) If I’m not doing those things, I can’t enjoy or *revel* in them.  Attend! and *revel* are inextricably linked in my mind.

I know I haven’t written as consistently or extensively about Attend! as I did *revel* but to some extent that’s because I’ve been about the work – I’ve been Attend!ing.  We worked out a better school planning and accomplishing routine, I spent more time being present with my kids, husband, and God.  Not perfectly, not completely attained, but improved. Which is what I’m looking for.

This year I hope to tie the two together even more firmly. I’ve known the main theme I’ve wanted to think about for a couple of months, but I’ve struggled a little with the exact word.

You see *revel* and Attend! are very much verbs. They’re actions, active, things I can do.  I can work on.

And the word that kept coming to mind was Peace. Or, really, Shalom.

I really wanted to think about that sense of well-being, wholeness, completion, lack of strife that those words connote. But I really want to think about building my household and relationships more peaceful.  I love the idea of shalom, but using that word seemed a little too … much. And “peace” just seemed a little too ungraspable (yet common) for me. And I really want to make my word for the year a verb.  Because I really need it to be something done.

So, I struggled with how do you make peace a verb? Peace maker? Make Peace? Multiple words that weren’t quite right. The thesaurus wasn’t much help.  I was surprised that I wasn’t finding verbs about making peace that were quite right – they were either very specific like propitiate or too general like allay.

Last night – in the nick of time – I landed on the right word, though:

I want to establish peace as a defining characteristic in our home. Yes, the definitions of }pacify{ do lean heavily on the sense of peace that means lack of aggression or war (and, frankly, that is a need here in our home!), but I’m going to stretch it. I included the brackets to say }pacify{ to remind myself that the peace is not from me, but from outside – from the Holy Spirit.  That doesn’t mean I can’t enculturate peace in our home, simply that I’m relying on something beyond myself to work with and through me.

Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27 ESV)” He gives us peace, he sends a Helper, but we need to do the work.

I think peace ties *revel* and Attend! together.  I see *revel* as that deep sense of joy and rest that come out of our work well done and Attend! is that active work of paying attention to and doing the work before us. }Pacify{ means that a state exists that allows me to Attend! – gives space to notice and do but it also is the result of *revel* of being whole of being right with God.

In 2017, I hope to begin to }pacify{ ruffled feathers, soothe aching relationships, trust God more and more to make me whole.

I hope you enjoy the journey with me.


  1. Looking forward to seeing your journey. Peace is something that is often sorely lacking here. 🙁 I think I like verbs better than nouns too, although mine can be used as both. And I might change my mind another year. 😉

  2. I really like using pacify like that as your word. Peace in my home is something I've been contemplating a lot this fall, as I've realized that a lot of the discord in my home is led by me. A habit of yelling to get heard over the noise level turns into a general habit of yelling in all of us… and then the home becomes far less peaceful and respectful.

  3. What a journey God has bringing you through- thanks for sharing it with us! Reveling, attending, & being at peace. Yes!!!!

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