What a Wonderful Word: Kairos

Instead of New Year’s Resolutions, many people have switched to a word.

You’ve probably seen it — the people who decide on a word to be their focus for the new year. Words like love, inspire, trust, create, and focus are just a few of many, many words that people choose. Some people branch out and choose two words like be still, explore more, or be healthy. Two word Overachievers. 🙂

I think this is a great way to give focus to the next twelve months. I applaud you people who can make this a thing.


However, as my numerous unused kitchen gadgets can attest, I’m not good at staying with one thing for very long. I’m here then there and then I’ll come back to here. It’s a thing that I’ve learned to love! It used to bother me but with age (and gray hair) come wisdom and contentment. This constant exploration is what’s created my eclectic home, my life full of miscellaneous adventures, and countless varieties of creative projects.

Picking just one word (or two) to last me the entire year feels a bit much for me. So I’m not gonna do it.

Instead, I’m going to share some of my favorite words with you throughout the year.

Starting with the one I’ve literally tattooed on my body!


Yes, you’re right. That is not English. In fact, it’s Greek.

The Greek language is huge! The numbers of words that they have is amazingly tremendous. Exactness is important so there are many words. When my husband was learning Greek, he learned a word for black, white, and black and white together. Whether or not modern Greeks use all these precise words, I don’t know. But still, it’s fascinating!

Anyway, time is no different.

The word chronos (χρόνος) is the word most commonly used. It’s the one that Greeks use in their modern language. It’s a word with several definitions but generally speaking — it means time.

On the other hand, there’s the word kairos (καιρός). Kairos isn’t used anymore. In fact, when we stepped into the studio to get our tattoos and told the artist what we wanted, he tried to talk us out of it. He said it was wrong.

But it’s not. It’s just old.



Kairos is also a word for time or season but it’s more specific. It speaks to an opportune time, a right moment, a favorable moment, or an appointed time.

Sometimes I wish the English language was a precise as ancient Greek. Other times I remember how many exceptions I already have to teach my little Chinese students and I’m glad that we’re not that exact. 🙂

Kairos is a difficult word not because it’s difficult to say (kahee-ros’ / key – ros’) but because it’s difficult to wait.

Waiting means that we can’t have it NOW!

We like to think that if we wish, work, and strive hard enough for something that it’s going to come to us. And it might. But if it’s the wrong timing then it’s just not gonna turn out like we planned.


For me, that rushed time led to a foreclosure, wrecked finances, and a lot of frustration. We knew we wanted a house and we knew that we could get the loan for it. But we jumped before it was time. The results were disastrous.

In a less dramatic account, I can’t tell you how many painting I’ve ruined because I tried to rush the process.

Rushing through the current kairos (appointed) time, may make the next kairos time come faster but it also makes us miserable in the present season.

I don’t know what moment your in. I don’t know if your kids are small or if you’re an empty-nester. I don’t know if you’re single, married, separated, or widowed. I don’t know if this the time you’ve been waiting for, if this is the time you hoped for but it’s not as you expected, or if this a time of the seemingly eternal wait.

I do know that everything has a season. Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” He didn’t say it was always going to be fun, successful, easy, or any other word we want to hear. He just said it is what it is.

We can choose to follow this sign…

Make today...

Or we can choose to embrace the season we’re in. Recognize it as the appointed season and learn from it. Glean all that you can from the season you’re in. It may be many small, almost insignificant lessons or it may be a life altering moment that will take a lot of adjustment.

Kairos isn’t just about time passing. It’s about a specific time. It’s about understanding that time comes not just to change things but to change us, to grow us, to teach us.

Kairos isn’t my word of the year. It’s the word of my life. I don’t want to spend my life wishing away the hard, waiting season I’m in. I want to embrace it.


Here are three things I’ve found helpful for embracing Kairos:

1.Write down the things you love and hate about the current season.

It’s important to acknowledge the good and the bad. The good gives us silver linings when the season is hard. The bad things are part of the process too! So, while you’re at it, write down some of lessons you can learn from those no good, miserable things.

2.Recall past seasons & dream of the future.

Thinking back to past seasons helps you remember what things you’ve already overcome. Let those past lessons invigorate you! Let them remind you that you can overcome the hardships. Let the good seasons dance through your mind but don’t live in them. Recognize them and then take another look at now. Better yet, let you mind wander to the future — what shining moments will you have to point to in the future? Really examine, what good moments are hiding in the shadows?

3.Thank the Lord!

This is my absolute favorite! Praise God for the lessons He’s teaching you and for His faithfulness in this season. If you’re having a hard time seeing the lessons, ask for help seeing the teaching. Let God speak in the good times to shore up areas where arrogance is leaking in and let God sooth your weary soul when times are are struggle.

I should mention, there are times when kairos is waiting for you to move! It’s waiting for you to make better choices, stand up for something, or set better habits. If you’re making terrible choices or living in an un-healthy situation, then kairos is waiting for you on the other side!

The choice is always yours. Will you embrace your kairos or will you fight it?

what a wonderful word

4 thoughts on “What a Wonderful Word: Kairos

  1. Hello,
    Thank you so much 😊
    I stumbled onto this word ten years ago !! Ha ha
    time Chronos flys…. well I read the word ten times , once each year and loved it ! I thought of everything I could do with it pairing, naming my future Labor doodle !! I shared each year about the word with a confused look of no interest and your wired …. Well, it’s my time after 10 years and I finally get the whole meaning and everything is coming into clear
    Gut vision !!! Meaning I am steadfast on a mission that has been holding out in the depths of my soul waiting for Kairos…
    This is just magical your article and so well thought out and arranged for my eyes, today ! I just am blown away and so Happy 😁I am finally seeing what God has intended for me, I am so thankful and will be sharing your article in my book , if I may ?? I’ll share it now to a few friends in need of HOPE,


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