Jen's 2022 Word of the Year

by Jennifer Acker on January 13, 2022

I recently read a piece in a book called Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed that really struck me. She was talking about being a collector of quotes and words and why/how they had such an impact on her. She says, “I believe in the power of words to help us reset our intentions, clarify our thoughts, and create a counter narrative to the voice of doubt many of us have murmuring in our heads – the one that says You can’t, you won’t, you shouldn’t have. Quotes, at their core, almost always shout, Yes!”

I agree with her because during the last couple of December/Januarys, I have written my blog about reflecting on my past word of the year and announcing my new word of the year. Words mean a lot to me, they do help guide my intentions, and they absolutely help to counter some of my narratives and doubts that definitely need countering.

In case you have not read my past few December/January blogs, here is a recap of my past words of the year: 2018 NOW (practicing living in the present), 2019 NEW (making many things new), 2020 52 different words (I chose a new one each week, and it was pretty cool), 2021 EXPLORE. I certainly did EXPLORE in 2021 and I really enjoyed trying several new things in 2021 (although trying new foods was NOT on the list of things that I explored). I even went back and retried some things from 25 years ago (like dancing)! It was absolutely a wonderful and joyful year of exploring (in the midst of the NOT so wonderful things happening in the world). If you are looking for an adventurous year, this was a fun and exciting word to choose, and I highly recommend it.  

With all this being said, it is January, and I have been debating about my 2022 word for the past week. I have landed somewhere between TRUST and PEACE. So, we are going to work this all out right now so that I can pick my word (and maybe this will help YOU go through some steps to pick a word too)!

First, I wonder:

What images/thoughts come to mind when you hear the word Trust?
What images/thoughts come to mind when you hear the word Peace?
Each of these words have multiple meanings when you really sit with them.

Here are my images/thoughts on both words:

TRUST: Trusting yourself, Others, God, Honesty, Reliability, Dependability, No worry, No fear
PEACE: Internal vs. External, peace of mind and soul, tranquility, security, stability, serenity, harmony, relaxation,
freedom from fear and worry and war and oppression

For me, TRUST and PEACE are pretty entangled and therefore it is hard to decipher sometimes what I am needing/seeking in the moment. All I know is that my worries and my fears seem to be the things that really get to me on my roughest days. How do I choose the word that will be most helpful with that? How do I choose the word that will be most fitting for me in 2022?

As I sit with the two words, and all the possible definitions, I pray about which word to choose. I also look up scriptures about the two words to see if that helps guide me. No matter how many scriptures I read, I feel like I am being led back to John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” This scripture seems to encompass both words for me, and it seems quite helpful because there are certainly many days when it is difficult to trust (or even find) peace within me. I have talked with many of you throughout 2020 and 2021, and I know I am not alone in that feeling.

So, I guess this means I have a phrase this year and not a word. This year when I get stuck in a place of fear and/or worry, I’m going focus on TRUSTING in the PEACE that is given to us from God. The all-encompassing, incredible PEACE that surpasses all understanding. It looks like I ended up with both words after all, and I truly feel like they are the words I need to be reminded of this year and words that will help counter the narrative that goes on in my head on rough days.

Now the next step for me is to start looking into the strategies and spiritual practices that will help me focus on this phrase this year (prayer, art, music, additional Bible verses, conversation with others, books, journaling, etc.).

I wonder: Will you pick a word for 2022?
I wonder: What word/phrase/verse you will pick (or have already picked)?
I wonder: Why/How did you pick it (or how did IT pick YOU)?
I wonder: Will you share it with us or with someone close to you?

If you choose not to pick a word/phrase/verse, I am happy to share mine with you throughout 2022: TRUST in the PEACE given to us from God

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” -John 14:27 

Praying for TRUST and PEACE for each of us in 2022,


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