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Jennifer Thomas concludes her series on how she came to realize her word of the year for 2023.

One of the first things I notice each time I discern a word of the year is how randomly I suddenly see that word or hear it said. It's like those moments when you are made aware of something that you immediately notice more. For example, I decided long before I could drive that my dream car was a Volkswagen Beetle. I saw one nearly every time I was in a car and still notice them, especially if it happens to be a metallic blue Super Beetle, to be exact. But this year for 2023, instead of a car, it is a word. And, ironically enough, I feel like God has been using my love language (which is "words of affirmation") to continue to solidify where He is guiding me. 

I honestly don't remember the exact moment in time when it hit me but I knew it was my word. Or, rather, several variations of this word. Once again while driving, I heard it—just as I had heard my first word.  

Humility: freedom from pride or arrogance: the quality or state of being humble. (Merriam-Webster.com)


Now, technically, I did literally hear it several times before I realized this was my word. During an October mass, the homily was about humility. Our priest spoke about the 15 phrases Mother Teresa wrote about this very concept and stressed the importance of it as one of our virtues. As the priest went through the main points of each of the 15, it felt as though he were speaking directly to me, guiding me to being able to see why this was, in fact, my word for the upcoming year. “Humility is a supernatural gift that is attained over time,” he said.

A few days later, one of my favorite podcasts focused an entire episode on "Ways to Grow in Humility" and included the Litany of Humility. My heart began to stir once more that this, perhaps, was God letting me know what my word should be for 2023. But I thought maybe it was too soon to already know what my word should be because it was still October.

A few weeks later, yet another podcast focused a portion of the episode on humility. Yes, it seems God was continuing to affirm this as my new word and I had to literally abide by being humble enough to admit He was right. I need more work in this virtue.




I have already begun researching the varying iterations of the word and meanings and realize there is so much information out there about the virtue of humility. I am already seeing it play out in my everyday life, even though we are only in the month of January. For example, during a recent conversation, when I felt compelled to correct a simple miscommunication that would have given me credit for something I had suggested, I heard God's voice in the back of my mind ever so softly say, "Be humble, Jennifer." And I'm grateful I am now in a place where I can hear His voice and know to listen.

I'm also learning that I can't do some of the things I'm being called to do without God. I need to accept His help and the help of others, including my husband. I need to humbly submit to allowing others into some pretty intense parts of my life to make me a better mother to my children, a better wife to my husband, a better friend to those dear to me, and a better daughter of Christ.

I am realizing that part of what God is asking of me for this year is that part of being humble is being vulnerable enough to admit I can’t do it all alone and seek Him to grow in this virtue. 


Click to tweet:
I can't do some of the things I'm being called to do without God. #CatholicMom

Prayer for humility

Most humble Jesus, give me a share of your humility.
Take from my heart everything that displeases you;
convert it totally to you,
so that I may no longer will or desire anything other than what you will.



Copyright 2023 Jennifer Thomas
Images: Canva