Sometimes our worlds crash into each other. Epiphany played chicken with the calendar in my head. Both vied for my time and attention. I decided to ignore the calendar in my head knowing that to really turn this heart of mine towards The Church Calendar will mean small sacrifices.

I make it sound so dramatic.

It’s not that dramatic. It is just that even if I think I can live on multiple plains at one time, it creates a too full inbox for us all. And instead of being on this journey together I risk being the annoying passenger in the back. So, while I would normally share my word for the year near the beginning of the year, I decided the only reason this year I’d share it in early January was to avoid looking out of sync with the world.

That is not a very compelling reason, is it?!

I’ve shared before my four-year journey with choosing a word and why you should choose one.

I’ve gone from Renewed Joy

To cour_ge

To trust

To practice celebration

I love each one of them. They are like children to me, ask me to pick who is my favorite, and I can’t. I smile remembering how God brought them into my life.  I also smile, because like children, they have surprised me. Almost without fail I thought I knew why God would, say have a year of trust after I left a well-known life in China after two decades. I thought He was going to show me how, if I would trust like Abraham and pick up and move, a new plan for my life would come about.

And then not one blooming month into that year, my dad died and I still had no clear life plan. The month of May came and the job I thought I’d get, I didn’t. Trust was “supposed” to be a reward for being a loyal servant and instead it was a yearlong reminder that trust is just that. Trust. Not a guarantee. I can look back now and say I’m better for that year and that word. But it was not what I thought it would be.

The word for 2015 was “practice celebration” and I again thought I knew what it would be – the cherry on the top, coming out of a longish, dark season. Instead, guess what I called the summer of 2015? The summer of resentment.

Though my personal stories about my one word journeys might sound a bit scary, I don’t want to scare you away from choosing a word, or have a word choose you. Please still do it. As I look over the words that have chosen me—renewed joy, cour_ge, trust, and practice celebration—they have become the simplest way for me to recall what the last four years have been about. For the lessons God has been teaching me, and the ways I see myself continue to grow as a person.

This fall, once again, at an unexpected time, when I wasn’t looking for it, God shared my word for 2016.  In September I wrote about mid-story endings and how Brene’ Brown’ says that most of us finish stories with some version of “not enough.” As I reflected how I finish stories, I found I’m more of  “I’m too much.”

When I told my friend, “If I had just been less” she saw the danger I was flirting with and lovingly said, “You are not too much, you are abundant. That is the truth about you. There is so much in you, so I don’t want any less of you, so don’t start doing that please.” She is British and this was in a Voxer message, so I re-listened to it multiple times.

To be told you are abundant in a soothing British voice is like having the Holy Spirit as a life GPS. When I told my friend how powerful it was to hear that spoken over me, she said, she remembered being overcome by what she was saying and sensed it was a holy moment.


If you look at my other words, they all have elements for something to do, but this year, this word, it about who I am.

I’ve been struck lately by how much scarcity thinking there is in the world. And how much there may be in me. I’m on full-time support. Will there be enough money? I’m publishing a book. Will enough people buy it? Our church is going through a rough time. Will it survive? The list could go on.

While this year will have disappointments, I look at “abundant” and see that if I really, deeply believe I am abundant because I am an image-bearer of the Most High God—if I really believe it—it changes everything. No longer is scarcity my default position.

Abundance is.

A year of this and it just might change my life.


Have you picked a word? What was it? Do you believe you are abundant?

A version of this first appeared at Self Talk the Gospel.

Leave A Comment

  1. Martha Lester January 21, 2016 at 7:34 am - Reply

    Amy, this phrase of yours…”I’ve been struck lately by how much scarcity thinking there is in the world. And how much there may be in me. ” hit me square between the eyes and right in my gut. Is that what I have been thinking, believing over the past few months? I see it in me and my thoughts which translate into emotions like fear, lack of trust and other things. As I make a transition back to this side of the pond, while still being on full-support and attempting to “do member care remotely”, yet with my husband transitioning into a new field that also does not have a definite salary per month, I find that often I am operating out of a scarcity mentality. All that long-windedness to say, thank you for this post and a reversal of thinking from scarcity to abundance. My word for the year (the first year I have done this) is FREE. And while I think I know some of the reasons for FREE for this year, I anticipate and expect to be grace surprised by new facets of meaning shown by the Spirit.

  2. Jody Collins January 21, 2016 at 8:04 am - Reply

    Amy, the word I hear is the same one as last year, ‘surrender’….but it is wrapped up in ‘tarry, linger, abide, dwell’–as in, TAKE YOUR TIME….give it up–give up your precious time to listen.
    Sit with peoples’ words–like here on the page or over coffee at Starbuck’s or in the kitchen with my husband. (Surrender was also my word for last year :-)
    I think ‘abundant’ fits you perfectly and is a perfect picture of the life that Jesus has for us and who He is.
    I just read this this morning in Andrew Murray’s ‘Abiding in Christ’–I think it speaks to the scarcity mindset that can creep in, it sure spoke to me!
    “…the capacity for receiving is only kept up and enlarged by continual giving up and giving out. For it is only in the emptiness that comes from parting with what we have that divine fullness can flow in.”
    When I think of ‘abundant’ and Amy Young, I think–overflowing with Christ, effervescent, full of faith.
    Thanks for asking :-)

  3. Tanya Marlow January 21, 2016 at 12:42 pm - Reply

    I have spiritual goosebumps reading this.

    Love you a whole lot, dear friend.

    P.S. I love that the Holy Spirit has a British accent, at least occasionally… :-)

  4. Kimberlee Conway Ireton January 24, 2016 at 3:03 pm - Reply

    “Abundant” is such a wonderful word! At my wedding, our pastor preached on the miracle of the loaves and the fishes. I thought it was an odd passage for a wedding, but his refrain was “Jesus is more than enough.” And he charged us, if we remembered nothing else from our wedding day, to remember that. Jesus is more than enough. Those words have been on my mind all fall and into the new year, for various reasons. We live in a world of seeming scarcity. But in God’s economy there is always enough and more than enough. There is abundance. I pray we both live into that Reality more deeply in the coming months.

Related Posts