My Word for 2021


Resolution-making has never been my thing. Too much potential to fail, fall short, and land in a pile of shame. I also rarely choose a word of the year. They’re trendy, and I like trends as much as I like failure. ⁣


Despite the lack of invitation, a word popped into my head the other day while I was out walking (or more like waddling at this point in the pregnancy). It rattled around like a loose penny in the dryer, pestering me until I stopped to think about it more. A few walks and prayers later, I finally made the call. I have a word for 2021:⁣


Lower.⁣

Not very sexy, is it. Doesn’t sound all that spiritual. Not a word you see embossed on a day planner or framed as wall art.⁣

Why choose such an ordinary word, and what does it even mean?⁣

After the giant bellyflop of last year, when the pandemic sank my overfull load of to-dos and side gigs, I want to lower the expectations I set for myself. I simply can’t do everything I think I can do.⁣

This realization didn’t come quickly or softly. It goes against my diligent (meaning, perfectionist) nature to accept limitations. Yet perhaps the brightest silver lining of 2020’s disappointment was how God shocked me into reality. He forced me to lower the bar on the amount of work I could do, the types of tasks I could handle, and the ridiculously high standards I apply to my vocations.⁣

Lowering expectations sounds suspiciously like quitting. That could be what the Lord was getting at when he gave me this word.⁣

I need to quit thinking so highly of myself and think more highly of God. Less of me and what I want; more of him and what He wants.⁣

What does he want for me in 2021? I have no idea. The specifics are fuzzy, too shapeless to be listed in a bullet journal. But my hopes are high. Because confidence doesn’t come from my ability to crush goals or juggle tasks. It’s grounded in the expectation-exceeding power and faithfulness of God.⁣

Maybe that should’ve been my word. Confidence. Except that’s not what stuck in my brain.⁣

Lower is better.

Published January 19, 2020

@jennmhesse

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