On hearing a word for the first time

by arianne

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I think I was about 26 when I first heard the word Intention used in a way that rocked me out of my everyday mundane. The idea that anything I was intentional about – for better or worse – would equal some kind of a result.

word of the year is intention

If I was intentional about my day, I would have a much better chance of getting the result I wanted. If I was intentional about resisting that pile of laundry, well, we know what that result would be, too. Seeing these things as a result of my own intentions freed me up to figure out how I wanted things to go (or so I thought).

I used this philosophy to sweep me out of feeling like a victim to my life (which was very hard at that time, with a newborn and the recent Autism diagnosis of my two year old), and implemented the philosophy whenever I could. It was helpful, it was actually really life changing. But I thought it could give me control of my life. I still had so much to learn.

Over the (nearly 10) years since then, I’ve noticed something through my experiences and my own heart softening.

Sometimes it is impossible to be intentional.

I discovered that sometimes life swirled and swirled around me and got so wild that I forgot about being intentional. I dug in my heels and fought so hard to not be a victim and I learned how to suffer well. I learned how to be a survivor, how to get through the darkest of trials. These life lessons are hard won, and precious to me. They helped me be here to even type this sentence today.

word of the year-intention

But that’s not all there is to this life.

Surviving, even though it sounds funny to say, isn’t sustainable. We were not created to just survive, to just sustain life. But to give life. To bring life to others and ourselves. To breathe in life completely and wholly.

But when life got so completely difficult, the only intention I could muster was to just keep going. To wake up, keep people clothed and fed, and do it all again the next day.

word of the year-intention

As we are in this new season, this Mabel & Riv season, we’re finally allowing our brains to be re-wired.

We are shedding the cynicism for hope and shedding the small goals for big dreams.

We are learning how to thrive.

But in this season of thriving, slowly but surely I am sensing an old theme returning in a completely new way. God is cultivating a deep stillness inside me. A calm I have never in my life known before. That stillness is the source from which a new kind of intention is coming from, because this time intention isn’t about getting control of my life for the best results.

This time, intention is about surrendering and allowing myself to thrive.

I remember a few years ago when it started becoming trendy to choose a “word of the year”. I saw people emblazoning their words on jewelry, canvas or even in a new tattoo. All the cool people had a word.

And honestly? I really didn’t get it. I felt completely at a loss as to how someone could commit to one word for an entire year – how did they choose? Why did it matter? Why did these words seem so general and uninspired? Have I mentioned I clearly didn’t get it?

This year it was a few days before January 1st when I was telling friends I had no word, had never chosen a word, and hadn’t really thought about this whole word of the year business. To my surprise, I went away from that conversation feeling my spirit churn. Was this the year I’d hear a word?

It took about 2 minutes of focus and prayer on the matter and I immediately heard a word. My spirit rumbled and there was absolutely no doubt about what my word would be.

word of the year is intention


Of course God would be bringing me, in this season of learning to thrive, back around to the word that had meant so much to me (for such different reasons) so many years ago before life hit and got so hard. It’s so much less hard now. Which is crazy for me to say, since we have lots of difficulties still. But it’s different. We are different. And it’s time to be intentional again.

What this means to me is that I can be intentional about my day, get things done, be productive, etc etc etc – BUT, that intention will come from such a calm place. It will be slower.

The intention will sit and have a warm drink and take a minute. It won’t just survive and go to sleep. It will thrive and be awake and take it all in.

word of the year-6

I know it’s nearly March and I’m just now sharing my word of the year with you – but honestly, I was busy living it out first. Mabel & Riv is the first big leap of intention I’ve done in 2013, and I feel my heart groan a littleĀ (in that way you groan waiting for a really awesome piece of chocolate to be unwrapped) and I call it good.

Let the sands of time drop slower and quieter, let me be grateful and let me smile in anticipation of what is yet to come.

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