A new year means one new word. This is my fifth year of choosing just one word that will be my focus—and my challenge—for the year. My reflection of past words is much more uplifting than my reflection in the mirror lately. Though face and skin can weaken with accumulated years, my heart seems to gain vibrancy and resolve as each new word unfolds throughout the year. The mirror reveals a progression of age, but my words…they reveal a progression of the soul.
In my eagerness to select my first word five years ago, my first word was more of a romanticized goal. Embolden…even the word sounded captivating and melodic. I recall several decisions that year where I forged ahead to be emboldened, rather than allowing God’s plan for me. It is not unusual for one word to stretch beyond its definition. My embolden also included several lessons in humility.
My subsequent words have revealed a shift from the word being my idea to realizing that God has an idea for me. Already I have noticed that God’s plan for me has been to move me away from that place of needing to keep myself protected behind walls and from needing to ‘fix’ others. My words have opened wide the door to receive God’s grace and then to extend grace to others.
The one word challenge is very different from making resolutions to achieve or setting goals to be met. A focus word is simply an invitation for God to work out His unique plan for you. This one word serves as a reference point for the next 12 months. Without obsessing about the word or His plan, you simply allow the word to creatively surface. And pretty soon, you naturally begin to notice how God is intimately working in and through your life.
If you want a year infused with focus, unconditional love and life-changing power of a Master Designer, I challenge you to begin this new year with hope…and with one focus word. Should choosing a focus word be new to you, here are some helpful suggestions in selecting your unique word for the year:
Step 1: First and foremost, pray for God’s revelation of a word for you. Be honest about where you are currently in your journey of faith. Consider where God may be guiding you to move forward in faith while taking into account the desires God may have cultivated within you.
Step 2: Keep a running list of words as they come to mind. When you add a new word, see if there are any others you can eliminate.
Step 3: Pick a word and reflect on it for a few days, until you work through all the words on your list. Be sensitive to how God might be highlighting one word over another…just for you. Then choose a word!
Step 4: Share your word with others. They will want to hear what your word means to you, and how you landed on its selection. (I am always blessed by hearing which word others have chosen!!)
Step 5: Be alert to how your word will unfold throughout the weeks…and how it spreads through your life.
This year I am also encouraging those who choose a word to adopt an anchor verse to accompany your word. You can utilize the same method of finding a word to land on your verse as well.
My word for the year? I’ll let you know next time…
Some previous words from others…
I have my word, actually I have had it for quite some time, but as always, I just wanted to be sure. My word is EXCELLENCE. I've been constantly reminded that God is a God of excellence and of order. He doesn't just do things halfway and expects the same from us no matter if that means leading a bible study or folding laundry. We should do everything we do with excellence and glorify Him in even the most mundane tasks. Excellence also refers to doing things in love as Paul reminds us in 1 Cor 12:31 in his introduction to his beautiful description of love in chapter 13. ~ Diana
It just came to me, my word for 2011 is…FAITH. ~Lisa
Well, I have been praying and reflecting and though I considered several words, today I have made my selection. The first word that was given to me was THANKSGIVING but it just didn't feel right. I moved onto GRATITUDE and stayed with that word for a few weeks but again, it didn't feel like my word. I tried on several other words, THANKFULNESS, PRAISE and even HALLELUJAH but nothing seemed to stick. Last night as I prepared for my small group study, I heard the story of the Prodigal Son told again. As I listened to the story, a voice inside my head kept telling me, "Neither son was content with what they had." Maybe the word I am looking for was CONTENTMENT. The next morning I clicked on a random issue of a digital magazine—November 2010—and blam, there was my focus word, GRATEFUL, staring me in the face. I am still waiting for an anchor verse but that too will be revealed in its own time. ~Lee-Ann
Here is my word – STILL! It was revealed to me on 12/29 so I have been living with it for a little while and I STILL love it. It inspires me and helps me prioritize and gives me peace (well really the peace is from God but the focus word helps me tap into it). God’s timing is perfect and I am learning to be STILL, wait and trust! ~Karla
I'll spare you the background on my word for 2011, but it is ENOUGH. I'm so eager to see where this year will take me, what my word will come to mean, and how the Lord will transform my heart over the next year... maybe He'll even let my choice for a word (something I always struggle to decide on) be ENOUGH. ~Jamie
I’m not totally set because the word sometimes implies inaction, like just resigning yourself —ACCEPTING—a crappy situation and that’s not what I want. So looking for a more positive spin on the same idea. I’m thinking that I need to be more ACCEPTING of things that I cannot change (my relationship status, my genes, my ex-husband, etc.) Closely related to gaining more patience. Also more ACCEPTING of people as they are, ACCEPTING my children as the individuals that they are and focus on working with their personalities rather than wishing they were different. Also goes with allowing others to do things for me without feeling guilty. It doesn’t seem exactly right so I’m still searching. ~Carol
I am actually having trouble with my word this year. You know I usually have more than one but so far HUMBLE has been the only one that keeps reappearing. How is that for a tough word?! I kept trying to give it back, does not seem to have worked. Will let you know how it goes. ~Tami
This year is full of POSSIBILITIES. ~Kristie