From Margin to HOPE: Words of the Years

My word of the year for 2013 was “Margin.”  I had read the book of that title and also was working through the devotional version. The idea of focusing on margin was to incorporate more space into life, give myself margin for error, etc. Did it happen? Yes and no.

Margin did occur in my life, in part unexpectedly due to a vocational change that occurred in late summer. For the past few months, I’ve been in a season that has fewer appointments and responsibilities, and it’s been both welcome and challenging. It’s giving me time to think about things related to life and career, and has also, to be honest, been an opportunity to get a little discouraged and yet think about what my perspective really should be.

As for margin for error, I did not do well allowing myself this grace. I spent several anxious moments this year emotionally, over-evaluating certain scenarios and living in unreasonable fears, taking far too much responsibility for some things.  In the last few weeks, I am feeling the shackles of guilt diminishing, and I want to go into 2014 with hope and a more joyful outlook that looks to God for my complete satisfaction first before any relationship or vocation.

So my word for 2014 is HOPE.

[callout]May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 NIV [/callout]

There are several reasons for this:

  •  My small business of writing, speaking and consulting is officially named H.O.P.E. Unlimited. Since I re-launched this blog officially on January 1, 2014, it seems appropriate to use the word “HOPE” for this year.
  • In my business, H.O.P.E. stands for “helping other people excel.” This year, I want to develop more of a sincere desire to be helpful and encouraging to others no matter what tangible results may come to me.
  • On a personal note, the word HOPE is bright, cheerful and expectant. That’s the kind of person I want to be. Some may think I already am like that, but I know that internally I have often fallen short of feeling that demeanor. This year, I’d like to BE it inside more.

HOPE is also going to be a map of focus on four areas in my life:

H – Habits –  What habits needs to be solidified this year? Are there any new habits to form? How can I be intentional and realistic about what habits I need to add or change and how would these decisions move me toward positive outcomes?

O – Opinion – Are my opinions based on a biblical perspective? How do I appropriately form them? When should I share them? When should I refrain? (I’m very active on social media, a hotbed of opinions, and need to navigate it sensibly and graciously.)

P – Perspective  – Am I looking at things in a godly, biblical way? Do I keep a positive, grateful outlook? Can I gracefully help others do so, too?

E – Engagement – Can I be more intentional in how I engage with others, being more interested in serving them than myself? What healthy boundaries should I have in relationships? Who should I introduce into my circle of friends and how should I use social media?

The transition from margin to hope is a sensible, and practical one. I don’t plan to give up one in favor of the other, but let hope grow in part from the margin in my life.


Question: Do you have a word for 2014? Share it in the comments!

My thanks to Melanie at Only a Breath for providing the “one word” graphics in 2013 and 2014. 

Recommendation: Either of the first two books would be a good study on incorporating margin into your life. I am also currently working through the Whispers of Hope book.  hope leaves

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