If you had to choose a word for this new year, what would you choose? Or better yet, what would God choose for you?

There is a ‘movement’ (for lack of a better word) among Christians to pray about and choose a word for the year. This word replaces new year resolutions and serves as  focus, a challenge, or support for the year. 

In 2014, I decided to try this new trend. I prayed for several weeks to be lead toward a word that God would use during the year, and I kept being pulled toward the word discernment.

At first, I thought it was a strange word. I didn’t know what would be the significance of it. But of course, God was faithful and had a purpose for giving me this particular word.

This summer, I went on a 2 month mission trip with Adventures in Missions to Guatemala. I could write a million blogs about that trip, how God changed me and my perspective. One of the most important things about the summer is that my team spent a lot of time actively listening to the Holy Spirit, something I had never really done before. We would ask for words, visions, etc., so naturally, those times required A LOT of discernment. My word related to an aspect of the summer that will forevermore affect my life.

So, because that ‘word thing’ turned out to be really cool, I decided to pray about a word for 2015. And something funny happened- God gave me a very simple but broad word.

growth – [ɡrōTH/] the act or process of becoming greater

I am so so excited to spend 2015 focused on growth, as if I needed another reason to dream bigger. I have so many ideas for this year, everything from creating this new blog to studying abroad. You could definitely call me a dreamer.

So the point of this blog is to: 1) encourage you to pray about a word for the year. God may surprise you and do something really awesome. (Actually, that’s not surprising; it’s rather normal.) Your word may be similar to one of mine, it may be a trait you need to work on (truth, humility, etc.), or it may be symbolic (water, rock, etc.). Just be open to what God wants to show you.     2) Whether you pick a word or not, I want to encourage you to dream bigger dreams.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope.” {Jeremiah 29:11}

Almost all of us have heard that verse a million times, but what a wonderful promise. Our God is sovereign; He knows everything that will happen. And because of this, we can rest assured knowing that He has wonderful plans for us.

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,  may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. {Ephesians 3:16-21}

When we realize we are loved with an overwhelming love, are daily walking with grace, and that we have a faithful God who cares about us and our future, why would we ever limit ourselves? God is going to do immeasurably more than we could even imagine!!

It’s obviously important to live in the present moment instead of always looking toward the future (Psalm 144:4). It’s equally important to seek God in all of our future endeavors because ultimately His plan will prevail (Proverbs 16:9).

But at the same time, let’s not put God in a box. This year, let’s promise to not limit Him or how He works in our life. Let’s give Him plenty of elbow room and be open and obedient to the wonderful plans he has for us. Let’s leave the mundane in 2014 and start dreaming bigger dreams.