2018 Word for the Year

I’ve been procrastinating on sharing my Word for the Year because it’s really not glamorous and has some connotations that readers might think it odd.

But, I suppose you’re mostly used to me.

The word I chose for last year – }pacify{ was a struggle in writing but not thinking nor in making attempts at action. I am not sure there was much advancement in pacification of hearts or minds around here, but I’m certain I will continue to make a good attempt.

Actually, all of my previous Words for the Year – *revel*, Attend!, and }pacify{ have stuck around well after their year of emphasis, and so I truly desire to choose a word – idea, action – that has staying power.

The word I’ve chosen for 2018 is, as I said, a bit unusual. While I’m a rule-follower in many ways – my husband calls me a hall monitor – I am not afraid to buck trends to go my own way when I think I’m right. I never had big hair in high school (when it was all the rage). I did have a perm just after college (when it wasn’t). I decided to homeschool my future family when it was unpopular; I blogged when only a handful did so. Generally, I listen respectfully and if unpersuaded, do my own thing.  I’ve been called the “independent” one by a family member.

I do want to do things “right,” though. I want to be a good Christian, wife and mom, fellow Presbyterian congregation member, family member, internet person. I want to be liked despite – or maybe because of – any independent notions I have.

So, I chose a weird word. Again.

Not Joy – must choose *revel.* Attend! ?!?! What are you showing up for? Not peace – }pacify{.

I like to choose a verb. It’s active. I makes me think if I’m acting rightly or if I need to change course.

I’m taking Mystie Winckler’s Humble Habits course and in doing her Personal Habit Audit, she prompts: “Do you take control of your thoughts in the morning? How?”

Wow. No. Not really. But I’m thinking I should. (Which was actually my response to the whole Audit – ack!) But this one, in particular, stuck with me.

My pastor has been preaching through Philippians for a while now. It’s fantastic – he’s so very thorough. It’s convicting and encouraging in equal measure. Last spring and summer, he preached a lot about Jesus’ character and how we are to become like him, that our lives are to be as his. Not in particulars, obviously, but in the main.

That and Mystie’s question converged in my mind, and I thought of Jesus going off to pray by Himself; to know the will of the Father that he may do it. And Jesus saying “I and my Father are one.” and “if you know me you know the Father” and how He knew what the Father was about and did it.

The other weird thing about my word for 2018 is that it is used in the scripture in both a positive and negative light. Positive concerning our new identity in Christ, negative concerning our old sinful identity or the world that is being remade.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2)


As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:14-16)


For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:29)

By now you probably have a good idea of the direction for my word:

In 2018, I want to [conform] to Christ …

I want to discipline my thoughts. To govern them rightly, as Jesus did. In a recent Ask Andrew podcast, Mr. Kern discussed education in the paradigm of freedom – in particular based on the passage where Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Our ability to perceive truth, which is a skill we learn, which helps us to govern ourselves so we can be free. When we govern ourselves to do our duty in joy and love, we [conform] to Christ.

I want to do the work set before me with the same mind as Christ Jesus, who, though in the form of God, did not count equality a thing to be grasped but made himself nothing. Philippians 2. In Romans 12, it says that we are a to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. I don’t have the same work as Jesus. I am not Jesus (understatement) but I am to be like Him. I am to imitate Him, rest in Him, love Him, strive to be like Him. That is, [conform] to Christ. Again, not in the particulars, but the main.

For years, Mystie has used the tag line “learning to love what must be done.” I think I’ve heard “learning to kinda-sorta-like what must be done. If you must.” Certainly the emphasis was on the “learning” and “must be done” parts. Anyway, my phrase for this effort to [conform] is “love what must be done.” I’m not being asked to do nearly what Jesus was (obviously, nor could I); I can love the work – serving my family, church, and community I have been given. I can do the work out of love and not drudgery and without dragging my feet.

I want to de-conform from the world and it’s attitudes and selfishness and pride. I want to humble myself, not sighing in that guilt inducing, “I guess I’ll do it since no one else will,” but in true service to others. I want to love what is lovely and seek out what is good, true, and beautiful.

If you look closely at the passage in Romans 8 it says we are “predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.” which, in the passive, indicates that it will be done to us, not necessarily by us. The Romans 12 passage says we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. And in 1 Peter, it says to “be Holy because I am Holy.” It may not say conform there, but I think both of these passages could infer that we transform ourselves and imitate holiness. This act of transformation and seeking to be holy is what it means to [conform].

I hope to post more regularly on my word this year. I want to look at [conform] from both the positive and negative light. I want to look at it’s root meaning. I want to think through what it is to [conform] to Christ in 2018.

I hope you’ll join me.


  1. I am so glad you decided to share, I've been waiting to see what word you would choose this year and what a thought provoking word you have chosen! -maeve

  2. ~love~

    The both positive and negative side of the word intrigue me. I think that will make it a particularly meaningful meditation for 2018.

  3. This is the first year I have intentionally chosen a word-for-the-year. My word for 2018 is {Abide}. So when I saw the comment you shared from Andrew Kern it made me think about how transformation begins with "right thinking" which is the fruit of God's word working in us to conform us to the likeness of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. In tandem, "taking captive every thought and making it obedient to Christ: "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled." Other scriptures that come to mind include: "We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us" (Phil); In Him we live and move and have our being. (Acts)" and (Romans) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Joining you in the journey of intentionally contemplating and dwelling on God's thoughts…..truth……Word through the power of Holy Spirit. Abiding, Marie

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