In lieu of New Years resolutions or three words for the year, a Psalm for 2018

A half-decade or so ago, I swapped out three words for the usual (and useless) annual exercise in futility known as resolution making. No more big promises and grandiose aspirations for me, just simple, short, and sketchy — broad-stroke descriptors of the kind of person I want to be versus boldly stated declarations of intended change.

My word choices in the five years (I skipped 2016) offer a window into my emotional and spiritual state at the time.

Be, still, know (2012). Restraint, focus, adaptability (2013). Contentment, patience, fun (2014).

Prayer, sabbath, celebration (2015). Curiosity, courage, grace (2017).

The pattern in the word triads is obvious, at least to me. Too much work and not enough play has kept me a dull woman.

To be sure, I can point to short-term changes and a modicum of improvement overall. Yet despite prayerfully selecting words that could/should have taken me in healthier directions, my self-diagnosis is much the same in 2018 as in 2012.

So this year I’ve gone even more simple, choosing to orient my life over the coming months around a single passage of scripture. The idea came to me during the New Year’s Sunday sermon based on Psalm 65. The joyful, exuberant tone of the passage was (and is) balm to my soul.

Borrowing a phrase from the movie Jerry Maguire, the ancient hymn had me at verse 11:

“You crown the year with bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance” (NIV).

Interestingly, since making my choice I’ve learned that number 65 is what Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann refers to as a “psalm of reorientation” or “new orientation.” In other words, just what I need following a year in which I let my mind be dominated by the daily craziness coming out of Washington, D.C.

I’m ready to hitch my hopes, actions, and interactions in 2018 to God’s overflowing wagons. Come year-end, I’ll report back on the journey.

Should you decide to give the scripture-based approach to framing the new year a try, let me (and others) know by posting the passage you select in the comment section below. We can encourage one another to faithful reading and living.

For the reasoning behind my word choices in years past, see:

My three words for the New Year

My three words for 2013

My three words for 2014

My three words for 2015

My three words for 2017


  1. I usually pray for a single word of phrase, both for the ministry I lead, and my personal life. In 2016, our word was “abundance.” So we looked up many scriptures on abundance and prayed into them throughout the year. We also began to catalog every time we saw God’s abundance at work. By the end of 2016, we were amazed at what He had done. A 70% increase in clients served, an abundance of financial support; an abundance of volunteers; an abundance of new opportunities with supporters. Much better than New Years’ resolutions!

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