In a leap of faith, I've decided on my 2023 word of the year
BY MAJOR BELINDA DAVIS
I have found it quite challenging to write recently – for most of last year if I am being honest. I like to tell myself that it’s due to time pressures and not finding the right routine in my new surroundings, but it almost always boils down to one thing. Fear.
Pushing through fear often shows that things are not as bad or difficult as one might initially think.
Feeling fear is what stops me from doing so many things. Fear of what other people will think. Fear of doing damage. Fear of what I will look like. Fear of not doing it quite right. Fear of failure.
When I push through that fear, I usually discover it is nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be or as difficult.
Despite knowing this, the next time I face the fear blockage, I don’t choose to focus on the previous positive outcomes but imagine the disastrous possibilities instead – and I have an outstanding imagination!
At the start of each year, I choose a word that will be my ‘focus word’ for that year. Last year my word was ‘inspire’; the year before, it was ‘wholehearted’. I was really struggling to land on a word for 2023.
When I choose a word, invariably, my experiences during that year give me the opportunity to live out my focus. When I started this exercise many years ago, I chose the word ‘grace’. I was hoping that God would magically imbue me with this admirable characteristic, but instead, he sent me situations that required me to build that particular character muscle and demonstrate grace repeatedly.
I felt God wanted me to focus on the word ‘fearless’ this year, but knowing what I know, I didn’t want to do it. I don’t want to be inundated with opportunities to show fearlessness.
As is always the case in my arguments with God, he won. My word for 2023 is ‘fearless’, although I can’t imagine life without any fear. It is a response given to us for our safety and wellbeing.
Fearing less is about lessening fear’s impact than never experiencing it.
I have been playing with the idea of being fear-less – allowing fear to have less of a hold over me.
In searches to find images for and definitions of fearless, I found this: “Don’t be afraid to fail, be afraid not to try.” I am going to embrace this concept this year as I endeavour to live with less fear in my life.
A quick search tells me that there are 365 verses in the Bible based on the theme of ‘Do not fear’ – enough for one a day all year. One of my favourites is Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
As I launch into this new year of fearlessness, I encourage you to consider a focus word as well. Wish me well!