12 Things to Let Go in 2022
—My One Word 2022

When the Losses Pile Up

The losses. They pile up through the years. Like a mountain of garbage stacked higher and higher.

Granted, the graces have also been plentiful. The blessings numerous. The joys bountiful.

But yet the disappointments. The sufferings. They sit here still. They weaken, but they don’t disappear altogether.

When a new loss arises, the others gather round again, in a return appearance, to say, yes. We were once here, too.

The temptation is to cut new losses off at the pass. To be the one to let go first. To preempt the pain.

Let me break up with you before you break up with me. I can’t take another blow to my heart.

But perhaps there is a gentler way than total break-off.

The way of release.

My New One Word 2022—RELEASE 

In release, we hold our hand open for the good to light on us in the moment, but we don’t squeeze it closed.

We enjoy it while it’s here, but not grow bitter when it’s gone.

In ways, we practice release unconsciously all our lives. We can’t keep things the same, no matter how hard we try. Change happens every day, voluntarily or otherwise. 

But this year I want to practice release more intentionally. My One Word for 2022 is RELEASE.

It follows a year of UNCERTAINTY (my 2021 Word). God showed me uncertainty in many areas last year—I disliked much of it—but this year God is leading me to RELEASE.

12 Things to Let Go in 2022

Here’s the list of 12 things I want to practice releasing this year. (Or at least loosen my grip on. I must also release perfection; I don’t expect complete success in any category.)

1. January – Explanations 
2. February – Past and Future
3. March – Complaints 
4. April – Labels
5. May – Expectations 
6. June – Safety 
7. July – Pride 
8. August – Overthinking 
9. September – Success 
10. October – Attachment
11. November – Control
12. December – Permanence 

Each of these needs further explanation. But to practice January’s goal, I’ll not elaborate; I’ll release my compulsion to explain each choice.

Release as a Spiritual Discipline

RELEASE frightens me a bit, I confess. RELEASE feels dangerous. I don’t want to let go of too much. Or let go of something I’ll need later.

Yet it also feels liberating. It smells of freedom.

RELEASE will be my spiritual discipline of trusting God.

RELEASE signals I’m not here to accumulate, but to blow through. The Spirit breezes in. And when I’m aware enough, I breathe Spirit in deeply. Each inhale comes with an exhale, releasing the futility of trying to capture the wind.

I can’t trap it. I can only harness it when it comes. Appreciate it. Enjoy it. Maximize its energy in its day with me.

Then rest.


* * *

We plan for Jeff’s retirement this spring. We’re excited about it. But we can’t predict all the changes it will bring. We look ahead with delight, yet also hold all plans loosely.

Is there anything you need to release in 2022? What’s your One Word, if you’ve chosen one? Share in the comments.

If you want more companionship as you practice your One Word this year, . You’ll receive a monthly email with more details and resources. You can unsubscribe any time. Our monthly linkup will be the 22nd of each month. 

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49 thoughts on “12 Things to Let Go in 2022
—My One Word 2022

  1. Pam Ecrement

    Great post today, Lisa! I have never done one word for a year, but as I read this one word of yours it seems that many of us could use that word given the last few years of turmoil, uncertainty, heightened anxiety and more. We have lots of reminders that WE are not in control and need God’s grace to handle what comes at us from every direction.

    Blessings on you and yours!

  2. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Lisa, a wonderful, personal post from you, and I’m so sorry for pain you carry, whether from past or present, and after a year of release, *NOT* into your future (easier said than done). My heart is with you.

    Release: The need to be right, and/or having the last word.

    I am reading Dane Ortlund’s wonderful book, Deeper, and he spoke of the doctrine of justification in a *deeper* way I’d not contemplated, and how that can affect our relationship with God and others. God has already justified me (a legal term) for all Christ did for me on the Cross. But how do I keep justifying myself, working again for my salvation and my standing, my worth? And one way that hit me as I read it, was having the last word, proving what I feel is right. I had an opportunity that very afternoon. I was actually writing a response to a friend online, because I felt there was a biblical concept she was missing. So I thought I was being helpful. But as the Holy Spirit nudged me to reconsider, I realized I was justifying myself and my view (which she didn’t even know) to prove I knew what was right. I simply thanked her for her insights.

    Release is not “my word,” finish is, but thank you for the reflection. Each of us needs to release more than we realize (always, spiritually, and for many Americans, materially). I need to FINISH releasing mental and physical clutter!

    Thank you for sharing. You remain in my prayers. Happy New year!
    Think of yourself as a trapeze flyer. You must release the bar, hang mid-air (hopefully, briefly! :)), until you can grab the next bar God has in mind. But remember, if you miss, GOD IS YOUR SAFETY NET!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thank you, Lynn. I always appreciate your encouragement and the angle that you share. I love how you draw in the Cross work with Release. I keep hearing of Dane Ortlund but haven’t read any of his books yet. Definitely on my list though.

      I love the trapeze imagery. It’s definitely nothing I would EVER attempt in real life! lol. But I’ll take it as a metaphor for this journey. 🙂

  3. Lynn Severance

    Lisa – blessed new year! I loved reading through this post with your reasons for the word God has placed on your heart to be a focus this year. You are so organized to have each part of ‘release’ parsed off for each month.

    I have kept the same word for three years (MIRACLE) and was wanting to keep it again! So much has happened that reflects the outcome of that word. But another has come to replace it for 2022 – it is the word, ACCEPTANCE. In some ways it partners with ‘release’. As I become more aware of limitations that have come into my life, I want to be ‘accepting’ of them, all the while knowing God has his plans for my life all mapped out and they will be accomplished through His ways, in spite of what I see as limitations: both in daily living and in relationships. I am also in a whole new living situation which is wonderful – though new – and am watching what is unfolding. Yes. ACCEPTANCE is the right word for me at this time.

    xo Lynn ( I see my friend Lynn Morrissey is here! )

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Happy New Year to you, too, Lynn! I can understand you wanting to keep MIRACLE again and again. And yes, I totally agree that ACCEPTANCE is a great partner with RELEASE. I actually wrote on my Release notes this morning “Accept it fully.” I hope you’re doing well in your new living situation. So good to hear from you! I still think of you often; you’ve always been an inspiration to me with how you’ve handled your limitations with such grace and faith.

      I’m glad to have both of you Lynns in my life! 🙂

  4. Lesley

    This is a great word for the year, and I look forward to reading more about how it’s working out for you as we go through 2022. In 2016 I had the word “surrender” which felt similarly challenging, but it was a year of real growth, so I’m sure God will teach you a lot as you work on releasing things to him.

  5. David

    The death of my mother early in 2013 was a huge loss, and knocked me sideways for the rest of the year. I am changed permanently — not into a constant state of grief, but into a new life, intellectually and spiritually — after a few brief final conversations and reflections.

    We breathe in the loss. The temptation is to hold it, to hold on to that experience of loss, but perhaps that is not the best way to honour what has gone. I breathe out the grief a changed person, and in a way Mam is still with me on my new journey (she was quietly religious and we touched on the subject the last few times we met).

    1. David

      Wow sorry didn’t mean to write all that

      I am doing “Face”, both the verb and the noun. The verb will be challenging work, and I really want to succeed. The noun was an afterthought, but will help the verb work and might be fun — find the face of God in the world around me, be creative in adoration of Christ.

      1. LisaNotes Post author

        I love words that can work as both noun and verb (Release works that way too, yay!). 🙂 Face is such a thoughtful word. You definitely came up with a winner word! Of course I was fond of Harmony, too.

    2. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m currently reading “Grieving Mindfully” and the thoughts there are similar to what you’re saying here, David. Beautiful. Grief definitely has immense power to change us. Letting it all flow through instead of jamming it up can be a challenge, but one worth fighting through. I’m glad you feel that your Mam is still with you. I feel similarly about my own mother who died in 2010.

  6. Tea With Jennifer

    Release was my word in 2020 & it was such a blessing in so many ways.
    One being that two dear loved ones prayed the prayer of salvation, an answer to my four decades of praying! They were finally “Released” from the grip of the enemy ?
    I’m clarifying my word for this year at the moment as I keep getting two! ?
    Bless you,

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Oh, I’m glad to hear that Release was a blessing to you in 2020 (of all years!). Thanks for sharing this, Jennifer. It encourages me. Praying you get clarity between the two words.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Barb. I’m looking forward to what God will do. I like to make broad plans for each month, but also leave lots of open space for God to do God’s thing. I know I can’t predict how God will want to move. I just want to be open to it!

  7. Donna B Reidland

    “Release” what a great word on which to focus! My husband and I both retired a few years ago and things haven’t gone the way we had planned. But we have learned to trust God in greater ways while praying that some of those plans may yet come to pass. But as you have said so well, we need to hold them loosely.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m expecting our experience with retirement to be similar to yours, Donna: not going exactly as planned. 🙂 But I hope we also do like you and learn to trust God more through it.

  8. Lisa Jordan

    Release is a powerful word that offers so many opportunities for continued healing and acceptance of God’s grace. Release requires action from your heart and your hands. You said release feels dangerous to you. I love Craig Groeschel’s book Dangerous Prayers. I look forward to seeing how God uses this word to strengthen your faith and your relationship with Him.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’ll have to look up Craig G’s book. I did a lesson for a girls’ retreat a few years ago on Scary Prayers; maybe I need to revisit that as well. Thanks for the idea, Lisa!

  9. Lynn

    Although I came in late last year, I was encouraged and inspired by your intentionality with your word “uncertainty” last year. God is working through you! And He is doing His wonderful work in you of healing, teaching, and letting-go with your word “release” for 2022, I am certain! There is so much freedom when we release all to Him. I know I have to release my security in finances (as I take on a new venture) in 2022. So intentionally I am learning to let go, too!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thank you so much for your encouraging words, Lynn. I always need that. We’ll be practicing release in finances this year too when my husband retires (and I didn’t even think to add finances to the list!). I know God will surprise me throughout the year. My best-laid plans have yet to pan out, thus my need for release. 🙂

  10. Jerralea Winn Miller

    Lisa, your word is similar to mine. I have chosen “purge,” not just with material stuff but thoughts and anxieties holding me back. I pray both of us will find true rest this year and grow in confidence in Him as we learn to let go.

  11. Trudy

    I’m looking forward to reading the lessons you learn this year from “release,” Lisa. Love this and need more of it, too – “In release, we hold our hand open for the good to light on us in the moment, but we don’t squeeze it closed.” Thank you! Love and blessings to you!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Trudy. I know God is already at work in me through this word; there are many areas that I need to find freedom in, and I look forward to what God is going to show me on how to do it.

  12. Donna

    Truly fabulous post Lisa. I love your word “release” for this year. I learned much when traveling with your friendly companion. It wasn’t all about letting go either. And at the time my penchant for control played into it all big time, like “scheduling” how and when I would “release” things I had chosen.

    A big lesson about release for me was learning to trust God with not only what I released, but when. Like the mama bird “releasing” her babies from the nest, too soon and they perish, too late, they may never go.

    I’m truly excited to walk with you on this new journey!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, Donna. That “when” factor and the “how” factor aren’t really things I can force. I have my monthly guidelines, but I want to be flexible enough to let God lead the way and change things up as needed every step of the way. Me at the helm of this ship is too perilous on my own. 🙂

  13. Lois Flowers

    Oh Lisa, I just read the posts you linked at the beginning of this post and am so thankful for these glimpses into your story. My heart aches for your losses, my friend. What a treasure to have those letters from your mom. ❤️ I appreciate the thought that you’ve already put into your word for this year and look forward to seeing how God uses it in your life.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thank you, sweet Lois. I appreciate you reading these parts of my stories. I know we all have losses that accumulate in our lives. I’ve learned so much about life and love through the losses, but I still never want the next loss. I’m looking forward too to how God is going to work through each of our One Words this year.

  14. JeanWise

    What a challenging word. Frightening, Yes ! but that is its strength too. Love how you identified something each month too. I will have to think about that. I love the image of holding things lightly. Maybe that phrase will help you too. Thanks for leading our One Word group! You are a blessing,

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Jean. The word is already challenging me. 🙂 But it’s okay because I need it. There’s a lot to unpack with Release. I’m looking forward to your All, to see what directions you go with it. So glad you’re part of our One Word group!

  15. Richella J Parham

    What a good idea–release as a spiritual discipline! There’s so much that each of us needs to let go; I like your schedule of working on one thing per month.

    Thanks so much for joining the Grace at Home party at Imparting Grace. I’ll be featuring you this week!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      And as I started making the list of things to let go, I needed a lot more than 12 months! lol. Thanks for featuring my post on the linkup. I appreciate you hosting so faithfully.

  16. Tammy Kennington

    Oh, Lisa–thank you for your transparency. I am so sorry for the losses you’ve endured. Your list made me ache for you.

    Release. What a lovely, challenging word. I look forward to reading more about it.


    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Tammy. I know each person has their own list of losses they’ve accumulated through the years, no two lists looking exactly the same. I expect Release will be a challenge for me this year, but if God’s got me on this journey, I want to be all in with it.

  17. Lisa Blair

    I want to give you a big empathetic hug for all the losses you have experienced, Lisa. {Big Hug} Pause. And I stand back in amazement at your 12 guidelines. The Lord has amazing (and probably stretching) things in store for you this year. Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’ll take that hug! 🙂 Thanks. The Lord is definitely stretching me in very uncomfortable ways the past few months. I need all the help from God that I can understand.

  18. April Harris

    I found this post so moving and encouraging, Lisa. I am sorry for your losses, but I’m grateful for you sharing your experience, and your conscious intention to release things in such a meaningful and positive way. Thank you so much for sharing with the Hearth and Soul Link Party. I know this post will help so many people as much as it has helped me! I’ll be sharing it in the H&S community group on FB as well as elsewhere.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thank you for your kind words, April. I know everybody has their own set of losses. None of them are easy. We all need each other’s grace and compassion. Thank you for sharing my post. I appreciate you!

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