How to Thrive This Year

Alicia Searl

Contributing Writer
Updated Jan 06, 2024
How to Thrive This Year

Don’t you just wish there was something that could easily fix this problem of downward spiral thinking and lead you back to hope and the firm foundation of God’s promises? Well, my friend, there is! It’s called pause and pray, then just say "Jesus"!

We spent New Year’s Eve with some dear friends that we do life with regularly. We have known this sweet family for quite some time. Our children are about the same age, we’ve got similar interests, we live relatively close by, and just know how to have fun together. Not only that, but this couple holds us accountable and helps us grow in many areas of our lives. While they may be beach lovers and we tend to gravitate towards the mountains, it has made for some pretty incredible trips and lasting memories. The truth is that these people get us (quirks and all) and love us anyway, as we do them. Their friendship is such a blessing, and we are so grateful! 

So, as we celebrated the new year together a question came up that I was unsure how to answer. The weird thing is that I generally always know how to answer this question, which is probably why my friend asked it. The question was simple and harmless enough, but sheesh, it sure did trigger some major emotions. The question was, "What’s your word for the year?" That was it. That was the question. 

Now, being a planner and praying about God’s direction for each new year, I usually have something (a word generally) to cling to by mid-December. But, sadly this year, I did not. I’ve come up blank. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. There was no word. No verse even. And, honestly, there were no words for the way I felt at that exact moment when she hurled that (now dreadful) question my way. 

My sweet friend must have recognized the complete awkwardness (and the bead of sweat that slowly formed on my forehead because it got really hot all of a sudden), so she added, “It’s okay if you don’t have a word. I didn’t have one either this year.”

Phew! Relief washed over me in an instant. Then a smile spread across her face as she mentioned a quiz to help determine “your word for the year.” She meekly asked if I wanted to take it. Umm, yes! So, she took it first and got the word “Truth,” which is so fitting for her. Then, I took it and got the word…


That was my word? In all honestly, I felt let down and disappointed. These past two years, in all transparency, have been some of the roughest years of my life. Between the loss of my mom and raising a teen that has caused so much emotional turmoil in our family, I'm not sure the word "celebrate" is really fitting. I was thinking more like holding on and persevering. You know, a keep-putting-one-foot-in-front-of-the-other-type of word.

Don’t get me wrong—there are always reasons to celebrate and rejoice in God’s goodness and faithfulness. So as I stewed on that word, and tried to pull myself out of the miniature pity party I was secretly having, I forced myself to change my perspective a bit. Then I thought of two questions I often ask myself when heading into a new year. Maybe you can ask yourself these questions as well if you’ve faced some challenges this past year:

1. How is God currently moving in my life?

2. What are areas in your life in which you can change to grow your faith and deepen your relationship with God?

While the word "perseverance" continued to plague my thoughts, I kept thinking about that word, celebrate. Then my thoughts went to how that word could be combined with my wounded heart that is yearning to heal. So, I took the quiz again. And, God placed this word in front of me…


Whoa! Friend, do you know what the meaning of thrive is? It means to grow, develop, and flourish. It was simply perfect and a happy merger of both perseverance and celebration.

So, maybe like me, you need to go into this new year thriving! Maybe you need a year of growth. Maybe you are searching for a safe place to flourish after a rough year (or two). Maybe you see God moving in your life and are so grateful for His mercy and grace, but you need a year to get back on track and stop merely surviving—but thriving! Well, my friend, if this is you, then let’s get right to it and discover how this year will be your year to thrive!

Pick Your Go-to Verse

If we want to really thrive and grow spiritually this year, we must feast on Truth. However, oftentimes, we are searching for a good routine and just need a place to start. ‘Tis the season for new beginnings and creating those Bible study plans! While it can be overwhelming and a bit intimidating, start simple and small, picking out a verse (or two) to memorize and try to live by this year, then go from there. By becoming intentional and making room in your day to dig into His Word, tucking those precious words into the depths of your heart, you will be able to seize the day no matter what may come your way.

Still not sure where to start? Still unclear where to find verses on thriving? Check out the book of Proverbs or Psalms. Both of those books are full of wisdom and bring to light so many ways to grow and flourish! There are so many go-to verses that you can proclaim over your life to thrive!

When you find some verses that speak to your heart, write them on a sticky note or get crafty and write them on a plaque or wooden heart. Then hang it up in an area that you will see every day to be reminded to take each day as a gift and a reminder to keep going and growing.

Here are some verses to look into: Psalm 90:17, 119:11 or Proverbs 3:5-6, 4:23, 11:28, 16:3

Reframe Your Thoughts

As a deep thinker and even deeper “feeler,” I can assure you of one thing…I am the girl who often goes down a negative trail of thought fast. Ugh! It doesn’t take much either. It could all begin with just a short conversation with my sister or a quick swipe of social media landing me on a post that spurs that flutter in my heart, quickly leading to anxiety and worry. Sigh.

Maybe you can relate? 

Don’t you just wish there was something that could easily fix this problem of downward spiral thinking and lead you back to hope and the firm foundation of God’s promises? Well, my friend, there is! It’s called pause and pray, then just say "Jesus"!

Okay, maybe it sounds a little cheesy, but when my thoughts get the best of me, I pause, seek God through prayer (often out loud), and ask Him to reframe my thoughts. Then I proclaim Jesus' name out loud and invite Him into the presence of the liar who is so desperately trying to sabotage my heart and mind. 

Next time you go down that trail of thought, seek God for help to reframe your thoughts and place them back on what is true, honorable, lovely, noble, and right (Philippians 4:8-9).

Find Your Tribe

I get how finding a good group of friends can be challenging. After all, seasons change, leading friends to move in different directions or part ways. Other times it’s the busyness of life that spurs family activities to take precedence and priority, leading friendships to sort of take a backseat or begin to melt away. Unfortunately, this can leave us with a deep sense of loneliness.

Friendships, as beautiful as they are, can be so hard to form and keep. But, if we want to grow and thrive this year, we need to have a tribe (even if it is a tribe of one or two friends) to hold us accountable and lead us back to truth and grace when we want to cower to lies and fear.

God created us to have this desire for fellowship and community (1 John 1:3). So do a little self-reflection and ask what you are looking for in a friend, then start being that friend to others. Then, get out of your comfort zone a little bit and put yourself out there. Start by getting more involved in your church and the women’s ministry. Even if you connect with just one other lovely lady, make it a point to try to meet up regularly to mature in your spiritual walk. The blessings that come from a sweet friendship are endless (Proverbs 29:7).

Befriend the Savior

The most significant way we will be able to thrive this year is by befriending our Lord (Psalm 25:14). But it may not look the way we often think. Sure, being best friends with Jesus is pretty amazing and will surely help us thrive, but what about those times we encounter a drought in our faith or feel distant from God? Better yet, what about the time we are close to Jesus, but the relationship feels stagnant or stale? Ever felt that way? I know I have. So, what then?

Just like any other relationship, we must choose to make it a priority. Not only that, but it must be our utmost priority. It’s not just waking up and having fifteen minutes in the Word and then going about our day; it is a continual ongoing discussion throughout our day. It’s opening your heart to Him on everyday issues, praying for guidance, opening His Word for wisdom, heeding His instruction, and loving Him by loving others with a fierce passion to share His light. 

Celebrate Jesus by rejoicing in His truth and promises. Seek Him with a pure heart and hand over your hurt, pain, grief, and sorrow, and let Him give you a way to persevere. Lastly, listen and obey Him—and thrive! 

Friend, will you thrive with me this year and strive to grow spiritually by celebrating all the blessings God has given and respond with a soft heart, reclaiming the goodness of His faithfulness? If you wholeheartedly answer a resounding, "Yes!," place that Bible somewhere handy, pick out your verse, ask God to reframe your thoughts, seek discernment on finding your people to do this life with, and befriend the Savior because I have a pretty good feeling that God will give us many opportunities to thrive this year—just as He always does! 

Photo Credit: ©©Unsplash/MyriamZilles

Alicia SearlAlicia Searl is a devotional author, blogger, and speaker that is passionate about pouring out her heart and pointing ladies of all ages back to Jesus. She has an education background and master’s in literacy.  Her favorite people call her Mom, which is why much of her time is spent cheering them on at a softball game or dance class. She is married to her heartthrob (a tall, spiky-haired blond) who can whip up a mean latte. She sips that goodness while writing her heart on a page while her puppy licks her feet. Visit her website at and connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.