How Did I Do?–My 2018 Word for the Year

At the beginning of the year, I asked the folks in my writers group to join me in choosing a focus word for 2018. They were more than willing to do so, and I spent time making cards illustrating each focus word as gifts for them.

There are plenty of Word of the Year articles on the internet, but this idea first came to my attention through by Andy Wood (one of the best bloggers ever!). Ever since, I’ve tried to choose a word that would focus my efforts for the year. Let’s clarify that: I’ve tried to choose a word that would focus my writing efforts for the year.

I’ll admit to being a little frustrated when some of my writing friends didn’t seem to get it. Some, in my opinion, chose well:


I could clearly see how each of these could easily be applied to writing goals and the writing life in general. Good going, writers.

But others threw words at me like

Really? Okay, guys, you just don’t get it. These words seem to be more like life words or, more specifically, spiritual life words. I meant for you to choose a writing word—a word to encourage you and spur you a little further down the road literarily.

I wanted to say, “Try again,” but—of course—I didn’t. This isn’t my word. If this is the word that came after thought and introspection, then fine. Fine. Do it your way.

I chose PURSUE as my 2018 Word for the Year. Now that’s a great word, isn’t it?

  • To seek to attain or accomplish (a goal), especially over a long period.
  • To continue to investigate, explore, or discuss (a topic, idea, or argument)

With its many applications—and with synonyms like follow, chase, run after, go after—pursue was the perfect word for me this year … when it comes to writing.

I was content. And maybe a bit smug. I chose wisely.

And then a verse popped into my head:
“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:” Hebrews 12:14 (NKJV)

Oh. Yeah. Peace and holiness. Those are important. Maybe I should pursue those, too. Like the writer who actually chose that word.

I couldn’t help but dig a little deeper to see what else the Word has to say about “pursue.” In addition to other verses urging the pursuit of peace and holiness, I found:

“He who pursues righteousness and loyalty finds life, righteousness and honor.” Proverbs 21:21

I’d like to have those things … life, righteousness, and honor.

“Pursue love … “ 1 Corinthians 14:1a

Oh, yeah, love is good. Love covers a multitude of sins. I need a lot of love in my life.

… and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. 1 Timothy 6:11b

So maybe I should add faith, perseverance, and gentleness to the growing list …

Hmm. I think I owe a few people an apology. While I had initially focused on writing as being the priority for the year and as the essence of the word I chose, some of my fellow writers chose words that meant so much more.

Yes, my goals for the year still included chasing my dreams of publication, improving my writing, entering (and hopefully winning) contests, and encouraging other writers in the pursuit of their dreams. But suddenly there were other pursuits as well. Pursuing the will of God for my entire life is the real dream, the real goal, the real reason for being on this earth.

And God pursues me right back, chasing after me with goodness and mercy (Psalm 23) and going before me and behind me wherever I go (Psalm 139:7-8).

While I did make strides this year in my writerly pursuits—obtaining my first book contract, winning second place in a poetry contest, continuing to facilitate our wonderful writers group, and attending workshops to improve my writing, I’m reminded that the word “pursue” not only suggests diligence and effort, it also implies lifelong effort.

It seems to me that, as we begin trying to conform our lives to the will of God in any area, He points out our need to change in another area. And that’s where the lifelong effort comes in. We’ll always be pursuing—chasing after—holiness and other things rather than fully attaining them in this life.

Oh, let’s go with that line from the Westminster Confession:
The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

Yes, let’s pursue that—and not just this year but every year.

Stay tuned for my 2019 Word for the Year. What word will you choose and why? Let me know!



How Did I Do?–My 2018 Word for the Year — 4 Comments

  1. Thank you Evelyn for reminding me of this wise and practical way to press in to God and His plan for me, and for reminding me to choose wisely. ????