Next!

My word for 2023

I have had the worst time trying to find a word to carry me through 2023. 2020 was the beginning of the great pandemic, but I didn’t know that when I chose “Grace” as my word for the year. I chose “Wait” for 2021 and found myself without a university contract by June. That wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. In 2022, I thought I had a brilliant idea when I settled on “Today.” As in, great things will happen today if I look for them. Again, not exactly prophetic, although I did do a better job living in the present moment. 

Is it any wonder a word for 2023 was elusive? I was so desperate I called on Facebook for ideas. However, it was my hairstylist of nearly 20 years who spoke the word that kept returning: Next.

From this vantage point, 2023 looks like it will be a year of change in ways that I’m not able to discuss yet. I know change is coming, but I don’t know exactly what it looks like. So the question is, what’s next?

As I consider what is next, I must also address how I will respond to whatever may be.  For that, I take my inspiration from Proverbs 4:

Keep your heart with all vigilance,

    for from it flow the springs of life.

Put away from you crooked speech,

    and put devious talk far from you.

Let your eyes look directly forward,

    and your gaze be straight before you.

Ponder the path of your feet;

    then all your ways will be sure.

Proverbs 4:23-26

Next requires an attitude of submission, knowing that the only way to thrive in uncertainty is to keep my eyes, ears, and heart on Jesus. Look ahead, not back. Eyes on the goal, no distractions. That will be a challenge, but what personal and spiritual growth will come!

Next. Bring it on. The past is done; there’s no going backward. Looking forward to what is coming, whatever it might be. It’s a new chapter. It may require new skills. It absolutely will require new commitments and flexibility. Whatever the case, the end of 2023 will not look like the beginning. So, with a little trepidation, I am calling out, “NEXT.”

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