Anything But Quiet
Every year I choose a “word of the year.” I started doing this several years ago after reading an article in the Guidepost Magazine by author Debbie Macomber. I wanted to be an author so I paid attention to what she said.
I chose a word for that year and one ever since. I generally spend time in December thinking it over. I pray for the word God wants to reveal to me. In January, I often share my word with others. In fact, the last couple of years, I have shared my word for the year on my blog.
Then I wait. I watch. I listen.
Over the course of the year, I generally see unexpected ways the word plays out. Sometimes I am challenged to do more. Other times, my choices and actions are affirmed by that one simple word. My ears perk up when I hear that word or read it in a book or article. As a writer, the significance of one single word is not lost on me.
Then there was the year 2020.
I chose the word Quiet. I based it largely on a verse in the Bible found in 1 Thessalonians. Chapter 4, verses 11 & 12 read “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your own hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” (New International Version)
That verse inspired my book, The Edge of Quiet. It is the book I intended to write in 2014-2015 but only completed this past October.
Seriously. Quiet. I kept bumping into the word. For example, in the New Testament, Peter speaks of a quiet spirit and in 1Timothy, Paul writes to Timothy about living peaceful and quiet lives. There was this sense of peacefulness and stillness to the word.
As I said...then there was the year 2020.
The year started out quiet enough. Until March. The COVID-19 pandemic brought words like isolation and quarantine into my vocabulary, disrupting my sense of “peaceful quiet.” Suddenly, the word quiet sounded lonely and hopeless.
There was nothing quiet when, in the summer of 2020, the ever-present, systemic social and racial injustices in our country erupted into not-so-quiet protests. And the political scene? The election season was louder than I’ve ever experienced in my life. No, the stillness I expected did not seem evident.
Yet, as I look back, when God brought this word to me, He didn’t promise it would meet my expectations. The word helped me grow and think and change.
Choosing the word Quiet for the year 2020…
... Helped me prepare for living alone. Truly alone.
...Gave me an appreciation for what quiet really means…to discover the word quiet isn’t simply “absence of noise."
...Offered unequaled times of solitude and reflection.
Though I’ve grown personally through this experience, I’ve promised my family I won’t choose the word Quiet again. They’ve told me they like it when I choose words like hospitality and generosity. I get it.
No, I won’t be choosing Quiet as a word for the year again, but I know I will choose quiet now and again as a way to be still and know God, because no matter what difficulties I may have faced this year, God is in control of my life.
By the way, I’ve been considering next year’s word. One keeps coming back to me. I’ll announce it and the story behind it in my first blog for 2021.
Have you selected a word for next year?
Think about it.
Choose one and stick with it.
Let the adventure begin.