Usually, when a new year rolls around, I find it invigorating to look at the calendar and begin making plans, to choose a word and scripture for the year, to anticipate the goals we need to set for the next twelve months.
This year, however, I didn’t feel that way. I was a bit intimidated by our upcoming plans, a bit overwhelmed by all the media discussions about words and goals, a bit sad about some separations and changes that happened near the end of the year, and a bit indecisive about the new calendar. Yes, there were plenty of how to articles and blogs to read, webinars to watch, podcasts to listen to, and planners to purchase. All of it helpful tools, but this year it felt like everyone else was ready for the new year, and I wasn’t.
Did you feel that way? If so, you weren’t alone the past few
Then, one night after Christmas, I was standing in the shower (where all my lightbulb moments like to arrive) and recalling a scene from the Disney movie Beauty and the Beast, which I had just watched on Netflix while folding my umpteenth load of laundry. I was envisioning the
mansion castle fortress that the Beast (and his servants) lived in with tall towers and turrets, winding stairways and passages. I envisioned how it would be to live there, to be surrounded on all sides by such a sturdy and strong structure.
And, then it was like a pinball game started in my thoughts. Each new word, new idea pinging like a steel ball bouncing around my head with increasing speed. I had to hurry and finish, so I could grab a pad of paper and begin scribbling a host of short phrases and bullet points down. By the time I arrived at my desk the next morning, I knew what my Word of the Year and how it would impact our goals for the year.
You see, we don’t have to look around wondering who will save us. We are not abandoned and alone. We don’t have to be afraid of being outcasts
We are surrounded on all sides by the strongest and sturdiest of structures. Jesus.
Our faith is built on the most solid of foundations. Jesus.
As believers, we a fortress to reside in, a tower of strength and a refuge in times of trouble. Jesus.
Now more than ever, we need to reinforce our faith through time spent in the Word, time spent in prayer, and time in interaction with others. We live in a world being overrun with evil, violence, and doubt. The news reminds us daily that there is sadness and destruction, dishonesty and greed at every turn. Satan wants us to live in fear, in self-loathing, in anxiety and confusion.
But Paul reminds us, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand (Ephesians 6:10-13 NIV).”
Which leads me to reveal our Word of the Year for 2018…
I love this word, and it so completely encompasses all my desires for 2018. FORTIFY is a verb and it means to protect, invigorate, or strengthen against attack; to surround or provide with defensive military works; to furnish with a means of resisting force or standing strain or wear mentally or physically. It isn’t a passive word; it takes action, moves forward, builds upward.
I hope we are able to FORTIFY our authors by affirming them and emboldening them to reach their audience with messages of hope, love, kindness, thankfulness, and joy.
I pray we FORTIFY families by invigorating their love of reading for through entertaining and inspiring stories.
I desire to FORTIFY our company by strengthening our network, building strong partnerships, and creating a lasting legacy of faith and faithful fiction for generations to come.
I’m praying that this year we can all find a variety of ways to FORTIFY our relationships, our finances, our health, and our faith. There will be highs and lows, to be sure, but if we lean on The Rock, He will guide and protect us, surround and support us, and we will be victorious.
What’s your 2018 Word of the Year?