The new year always brings a flurry of thoughts about how this year will be different from all the ones in the past. It causes us to analyze how we can be more effective and make resolutions to change habits as a result. I struggled to harness these strong feelings of resolve and to fine tune them, and I have found success in doing this for the past five years.
My secret? Choose a word! Just one word. A word that you want to aspire to learn more about and one that you will come to resemble more and more as the year goes by.
I read a great book on the topic, One Perfect Word, by Debbie Macomber, at the end of 2013, and I was inspired. On January 1, 2014, I dared to write down my word for the year and pray it each day for myself. The word terrified me; my word for the year 2014 was Surrender. I wanted to surrender my plans, hopes, dreams, and agenda to God, who had an even better plan for my life. I had no idea how strongly this word would play out until I found myself in ICU not able to breathe on my own in June of that year.
By the end of 2014, I had not only gained my strength back but had also learned far more about surrender than I ever imagined possible. I was hooked on choosing a word, now not only for myself but for each member of my immediate family. My word for the year 2015 was Rejoicing. I wanted to learn to rejoice not only when circumstances were going my way but also in the deepest disappointments. It was a worthwhile journey. The words I chose for my family were endurance, maturity, and trust.
When 2016 rolled around, I couldn’t wait to do this exercise again. My word for the year 2016 was Renewal, as I looked at my new life with children moving away and going on the international mission field. My words for my husband and children were balance, faith, and courage, as they all were learning huge lessons of their own.
By December of 2016, I even took myself on a one-woman, one-afternoon retreat to evaluate my life, set priorities, and, most importantly, determine my word. My word for the year 2017 was Freedom as I sought to be released my own self-doubt, others’ expectations and opinions of me, and the limits I had placed on myself due to fear. I experienced my best year yet, achieving more than ever and daring to do activities I never expected that I would. My words for my family were fortitude, security, and maturity.
This year is no different. I have chosen my word. It’s another scary one because I know that there are many lessons I need to learn about this subject. My word for this year is Humility. True freedom only comes when I choose to humble myself before God and trust Him completely for my future. The words I have selected for those closest to me are direction, leadership, and abiding.
I have found a great website that has also helped me in this journey: www.oneword365.com. It’s a wonderful community of people who have also chosen one word for the year so we can support one another as we live out our word for the year.
What will be your word for the year?
Stay tuned to my blog for posts about one-woman retreats and vision boards!