Word of the Year 2022: Face

Using ‘face (v.)’ as a gloss for “turn to” (ἐπιστρέφω epistrephó) in these two verses:

1 Thessalonians 1:9 “… you turned to God from idols …”

Acts 26:20 “… repent and turn to God …”

The emphasis being my effort to turn towards good things (& celebrate successes, however minor) rather than my efforts to turn away from bad things (& beat myself up for failures).

‘face (v.)’ brings ‘face (n.)’ for free. In my prayers and in my approach to Christ that is something I neglect — simple adoration of His face (meanwhile my attachment to porn is a kind of adoration, worship of faces, surfaces). I’d like to address that neglect, and spend time somehow in adoration of Christ and the face of God.

My vague plan is to alternate — v, n, v, n, — month by month, with a more specific theme for each month. January’s theme is …

Casting my net wide / Clutching at straws

… finding easy things to turn to, in moments of boredom or rest — “downtime” — that are wholesome and nutritious (eg not porn, not doomscrolling twitter). More on this later, but some examples I am using so far:

  • a puzzle
  • a game of chess.com
  • a lesson on duolingo
  • a set prayer or scripture reading [lectionary]
  • a poem
  • a short chapter of easy reading
Leave a comment


  1. There are so many reasons why I love face as a word choice! And I think it will be an amazing practice to alternate between verb and noun each month. The word geek in me finds that fascinating, but the spiritual nature in me also finds it invigorating. Having a list of downtime activities is so smart in its specificity.

    • Dear Lisa, I didn’t realise until after reading your comment, but I think the noun work will help the verb work, if you know what I mean. We tend to think about — turn towards, dwell on — what we find attractive, so spending a month adoring the face of Christ should help me spend the next month facing Christ.

      And yes! those activities are S.M.A.R.T.! — quantised and quantifiable — one puzzle/game/lesson/chapter rather than scrolling & surfing till I have to move on.

      Thank you very much your comment!


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