My three words for 2013

January 2012 marks the spot on the calendar of my life where I threw in the towel on resolution making, going instead with blogger Chris Brogan’s three-word solution to my annual exercise in failed intentions.  After careful thought and overdue attention to the Holy Spirit’s nudging, for 2012 I selected “be,” “still,” and “know” as my guide words for the year (read this).

I can’t claim to have lived fully into/ up to the three words. “Be” and “still” proved particularly challenging for me, as I’ve confessed here at Generous Matters (read this and this).  Yet carrying the word-trio with me did make a difference in my year. Enough so that I’m back at it again, choosing words in lieu of resolutions for 2013.

My three words for the coming year are

Restraint. Focus. Adaptability.

Restraint. I beamed when an admired colleague labeled me a skilled diagnostician, able to name what ails an organization and propose a cure, lickedity split. As a consultant, this serves me and my clients well. In other areas of my life, however, not so much. My husband is quick to remind, no one likes a know it all. Yet despite best intentions, I can’t help myself. I spot a problem, and like a bull seeing red, I charge.

In 2013, I want to listen more, speak less, and curb my enthusiasm for
making everything right — in other words, to give restraint a try.
Best case scenario? Twelve months hence, I’ll be wiser for the times I’m silent and more discerning because of holding my tongue .

Focus. I love that I wear a lot of “hats” – wife, mother, nana, friend (in person and virtual), consultant, blogger, board member, adjunct professor, etc. etc. etc. But it’s a tenuous balancing act, keeping all that head wear in place. I start my day with a short list of projects. By noon, I’m darting every which way. Come evening, I’m physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted, but with little to show for the wear. Too often, holding on to all my hats is the focus.

In 2013, I want to keep my head in things that advance Kingdom causes – those that are “ true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable — excellent and worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8).

Adaptability. Frequent flyer that I am, this one should be easy. For all the delays and cancelled flights I endure, I always make it home. Yet I continue to fret over the interruptions, the unexpected, the unplanned. In other words, over life. At first blush, “adaptability” seems in tension with “focus.” However, if I remain centered on God’s grand goals and not my own, rolling with life’s punches should be easier.

In 2013, I want to be open to God’s surprises. To quote a tweet that flashed by this week, “No matter what I face this year, God will be doing 10,000 things in my life I cannot see. Trust God. Love God.”  Adapt.


Last year, I invited Generous Matters readers to share their three words for the year, and a few did. I extend the invitation again, eager to hear what God is whispering in hearts at the beginning of 2013. While you think and listen, here are my three words to you.

Happy.  New.  Year.


  1. Kristie Rush says:

    Hi Rebekah… Thanks for your transparency in writing this. I couldn’t help but notice that your three words, rearranged, spell FAR. Perhaps that’s a good reminder as you begin your process of living out these three words…By choosing to live by them, God will take you FAR. I’m back in action after having a houseful of guests for 10 days and will be focusing on MOPS later this afternoon… Talk to you soon, K.


    • Wow, Kristie, you get the prize for finding FAR in my three words. What a blessing to know that as I pursue my word trio with my whole heart and for God’s glory, God will take me far. It’s a joy to have great traveling companions like you along for the journey. Please call me to account when you see me straying from the path to which I’ve declared my intention to follow in 2013.

      Ah, yes, MOPS and policy work.


  2. Ann Steel says:

    You’ve inspired me, Rebekah. The words I have chosen are restraint (not being so quick to speak, making better food choices), renew (being more intentional about the time I spend with the Lord), and relax (being in-the-moment). The first letters of my three words do not reveal an additional word…I’m more into alliteration!

    • Alliteration is good, Ann, and especially your three words. We can check in on each others’ progress in staying on track with our three-part commitments when we get together quarterly.

  3. From my devotion time this morning, Close, Clean, Committed.
    Reading Deuteronomy has again reminded me to stay close to the Lord (dont run ahead) stay confessed which means clean, and stay committed.

  4. Kirsten Grubb says:

    Your three words reminded me of a friends’ blog about four words. 🙂 Thought I would share . . .

    From: Katherine Hedlund [] Sent: Wednesday, January 02, 2013 3:25 AM Subject: “RESOLUTION SOLUTION” blog post

    “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.’ Philippians 3:7,8

    As we launch into 2013.a brand-new, sparkling-clean year.let’s have one simple resolution for the next 365 know Jesus more!

    That’s it. Just one. But what a wonderful, challenging, all-encompassing one it is! Somehow it seems to me that this four word statement of determination would give strength and momentum to all the rest of our resolutions.

    If my resolution is to be more patient, then knowing Jesus more.observing how He interacted with people.would give me clear direction.

    If my resolution is to be more self-controlled, then knowing Jesus He was without sin in this sin-laden world.will strengthen my prayer life as I come to Jesus for help when temptations threaten to drag me down.

    If my resolution is to love the not-so-easy-to-love, then knowing Jesus more.looking in the mirror and seeing who HE loves every single day.will soften my heart toward those around me.

    I just read through what I’ve written and I’m here to tell you that this is not easy.

    It doesn’t happen overnight, in fact, it might take 364 days to see any progress at all! But that doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile. I want to press forward to knowing Jesus more. I want to know the surpassing greatness the apostle Paul speaks of in this verse. I want to live out the solution to all my previously broken resolutions. How ’bout you?


    • Thanks, Kirsten, for adding a four-word resolution solution to my three-word approach. It’s great to hear from you. May 2013 be another great year for you, your family, and Pacific Lifeline.

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