My Word of the Year 2024: Small

Do you have a word for the year? 

I don’t know how long other people have been doing it but, for the past few years I’ve been focusing on one particular word for the year—  studying it through the Scriptures, listening for it in conversations, watching for it the world, sitting with it in prayer. In 2022, my word was “purge.” In 2023, it was “peace.” 

This year, I thought my word was “reconnect,” but then God REALLY impressed upon me that my word for the year is “small.” 

A few of my observations thus far on my word of the year…

I’m aspiring to become a small talker. Not small talk in the traditional sense but small talks with intimate groups of people. Bigger is not always better because you cannot address small concerns, small points of disagreement and small problems from a big stage. Small talk matters because small conversations are where hearts are opened and real life is shared. 

There are no small people to God. Everyone is precious to God and it is His heart’s desire that not one of them should be lost. 

Does the loss of one small sheep matter if you have a flock of 99? What about the loss of one small coin? If you’re the one experiencing the loss, nothing is small.  Jesus made a big deal of people the world considered small. Consider his treatment of women, children, the outcast and  marginalized, and  those who were suffering. 

I’m also concentrating on taking small steps. No more striding in a way that seeks to outpace everyone else. I want to walk at the pace of grace. In step with the Spirit. Not getting one step ahead nor falling one step behind the Spirit’s movement. 

How slow might you have to go to walk with a fragile person? Jesus not only slowed down, he stopped. I’m thinking about the story of the healing of a woman who had been suffering under the care of many physicians for 12 years. The Bible says, “he listened to her whole story.” Did he really have time for that? He made time. He took time. He spent time. That’s instructional for me. 

Jesus never treated anyone as an interruption. Every single person was a big deal to Jesus. And very rarely did Jesus make a big show of it. He resisted performing miracles, he dealt with people one on one, he didn’t set up a big organization and he didn’t seek the endorsements of the big name players of his day. When the crowds got too big, Jesus left under the cover of darkness to a solitary place. He even celebrated his last night with his disciples in a borrowed upper room where he made less of himself and much of them (think of the foot washing). 

Too often I sweat the small stuff that doesn’t matter and I fail to do the small stuff that makes a really big difference. This year I will listen more attentively for the still small voice, I will call people by name, get to know my neighbors, invest in my grandchildren, make the small changes in my schedule that I know will make big changes in my health and productivity. 

God has been helping me understand His perspective on small things through  I Kings 19,  Matthew 13:32, Matthew 17:20, Matthew 18:1-5, Matthew 25:31-46, John 6, John 12:24-26, James 3:5, Zechariah 4:5-10. 

It may seem like a small thing— a cup of cold water, a ride to town, a drop in visit, a pot of soup— but it is the small things that make life and I want a life worthy of the calling to which I have been called in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

What are the small things that come to mind for you? 

I’ll be focusing on the word small all year. What about you? Do you have a word for the year? If so, what is it? 

Sample words to inspire you:

  • Courage
  • Encouragement
  • Simplify
  • Charitable 
  • Truth 
  • Rest 
  • Whole 
  • Less 
  • Peace 
  • Blessed 
  • Gratitude 
  • Savor 
  • Love Well 
  • Hope 
  • Enough  
  • Beauty 
  • Walk  
  • Available 
  • Small 
  • Focus 
  • Abide 
  • Imagine 
  • Abundant 
  • Purge 
  • With; withing 
  • Thanksgiving 
  • Goodness 
  • Obedience 
  • Renewal 
  • Awaken 
  • Moment 
  • Refined 
  • Sifted 
  • Unshaken 
  • Remain 
  • Grace 
  • Joy 
  • Patience 
  • Kindness 
  • Gentleness 
  • Suffering 
  • Waiting 
  • Pleasing 
  • Holy 
  • Fervent 
  • Thrive 
  • Trust