top of page
Post: Blog2_Post
  • Writer's pictureRyne

Welcome to 2021!

Updated: Apr 28, 2022

It seems at the end of every year that most people are "so over" the year that is ending and excited for the year that is to come. So many people, when January 1st, 2020 hit were more than happy to leave 2019 in the past, excited for the 2020 Vision that was ahead of them. Little did any of us know that not only would 2020 be one of the most controversial election years in recent memory, but there would be a global pandemic as well. On top of all of that, race issues boiled over in ways not seen since the 1950s and 1960s. So for most Americans, and arguably most others around the world, 2021 is something to anticipate and look forward to.

I've always struggled with the idea of going into a new year. When I was younger, probably 8 or 9, I remember a time when my aunt & uncle, and three cousins were at our farmhouse celebrating New Year's Eve. There was the typical NYE spread of food and appetizers. We played games. I was introduced to the Jamaican bobsled team in the Hollywood classic, Cool Runnings. But when the ball started to drop in New York City, I went into the bathroom and spent the final countdown hiding from my family.

I was convinced that the ball drop was going to be a bomb that exploded on national TV.

However silly that is looking back, New Year's Eve still isn't a favorite day of the year for me. As an adult, I often spend New Year's Eve looking back on the year I lived, thinking back to the resolutions I made and didn't follow through on, and mostly, reflecting on the fact that I just lived another year on earth, making me one year older. And I get a little sad. I don't want to wish away my life, I don't want to get so caught up in what is coming next that I miss out on what is happening now.

One thing that has made starting a new year more meaningful for me has been choosing a Verse of the Year and Word of the Year. For me, the practice started about five years ago with the Friday morning Bible Study that I attend through FCA North Dakota. Sitting in the corner of the Cracker Barrel, our leader Harvey introduced me to the idea of choosing a Verse and a Word for the coming year. I can still hear Harvey's voice as he warned us, "Think carefully and prayerfully about your verse and word; if your word is patience, God will give you plenty of opportunities to practice it."

2018 was the first year where I really took my Verse and Word seriously. I had been struggling with being intentional about prayer and to inspire me to grow in that area, PRAY was the word I chose. My verse of 2018 was Philippians 4:6-7

6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV)

My 2019 verse was less typical than choosing from one of Paul's letters. A guest preacher to our church shared a message in October of 2018 in which he said, "If you're looking for a verse of the year for next year, you should check out 2 Chronicles 20:12." I was looking, and spending more time focusing on my verse and word was drawing me closer to Jesus in 2018, so I wrote it down in my sermon notes.

For weeks I thought about that 2 Chronicles 20:12 verse. And the next thought always was, "no one chooses a verse from 2 Chronicles as their verse of the year, do they?" But nothing filled the void, no other verse really stuck out to me. So, 2 Chronicles 20:12 was my verse of 2019.

"O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” - 2 Chronicles 20:12 (ESV)

But then everything with Anders happened just a few days into 2019...and my verse and word (Speak-Life) could not have been more relevant. In the darkest days of my life, I didn't know what to do, except to fix my eyes on Jesus.

So, this year, as we flip the calendar to a new year, I want to invite you on this journey with me with a Word of the Year and Verse of the Year. My verse for 2021 is Habakkuk 1:5 and my Word of the Year is 'parabolani.'

“Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told." - Habakkuk 1:5

Parabolani is a Greek word that Paul uses to describe Epaphroditus in Philippians 2. Parabolani means, "the reckless ones" or "the gamblers" and it was used to describe Christians that were putting themselves in danger for the spread of the Gospel. Later on, that term was used to describe people that would serve the most contagious and sick patients during the plague, literally putting their life in jeopardy.

The year 2020 has really been an opportunity for me to deepen my trust that God works in and through all situations. The verse from Habakkuk really confirms it for me. Habakkuk was praying to God as the land was soon to be overrun by the Babylonians and he was complaining to God about the wickedness he was seeing. Verse 5 is the beginning of God's answer to Habakkuk.

My prayer is that my faith would continue to be strengthened to trust God at work no matter the circumstances on earth. I have hope that God is working through our current situation to such perfection that I wouldn't believe it even if He told me.

Now, I am not entering 2021 seeking out becoming a martyr for Jesus or to be reckless with my life, but I do desire to live the life that God desires me to live, and that will often look different than what the world expects from me. I pray that I would be a gambler for Christ, willing to lay down anything that stands in the way of sharing the love of Jesus and the hope of the Gospel with others. In 2021, I want to dive deeper into the Word than I ever have, invest more intentional time with my family than ever and spread the Gospel in ways I have never done by showing people that I love them, just because they too are a child of God.

If you have a desire to learn more about choosing a Word and Verse for the year, check out the resource linked here, and check out this quick clip from Jon Gordon about the importance of having a Word of the Year, along with a podcast episode about the same thing. If you are not yet a subscriber but would like to receive my semi-regular newsletter, enter your email address at the bottom of this page.

Have a great start to 2021!


Just One Word
Download DOCX • 14KB


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page