It figures, just as I was getting my plan together and some momentum in posting in this space, I went and got sick. I’m still not sure exactly what it was that happened but am grateful because y’all are sweet and yes, I will be going to the doctor real soon. Though I did not like the episode and how my body felt, it reaffirmed that I have readers in this space. And that those readers read my words. But mostly, it was clear that y’all love me. The texts, the calls, the comments and even the flowers – thank you so much for the encouragement.
I’m feeling better and have been anxious to get this post – drafted back at the start of the month – published so that my word could be known and to encourage others considering finding a word to do the same.
C h o o s i n g O n e W o r d
It really does work.
Choosing one word to focus on throughout one calendar year.
This is my fourth year choosing and living with a word (you can read about it and the other three here) for 365 days and it has been a true gift to me.
And I think it can be to you too.
If you haven’t already, I recommend you reflect on last year or even years past. When you consider that year, ask yourself what was wonderful, what could you have done more of and what was glaringly (or not so glaringly) absent. When I started choosing a word, I relied on some trusted friends to help me process this aloud. As I’m becoming more comfortable with the process – which changes every year – I’m realizing that quality time with God in prayer, writing in my journal and wrestling honestly with what I long for my life to be like is what helps me choose a word.
Or for my word to choose me.
R e f l e c t i n g O n 2 0 1 6
In 2016 – I focused on the word RECEIVE – and let me tell you. Did I e-v-a?!?
It wasn’t a bunch of material stuff or things and not even really a ton of invitations; what I received were far deeper things.
I received the friendship of a friend and single mom that makes me laugh out loud at myself and who also encourages and loves me deeply. She is truly a genuine cheerleader for me.
I had the opportunity to be prophesied over and heard promises from God that I had only thought I was whispering and uttering, but received confirmation that He had been listening, planning and planting all along. He had been hearing all of my most silent prayers.
I heard a whisper in my seat at church back in November of 2014 about going on a mission trip with my son. And we did. And all that I received. I can’t even begin to write about it without getting vechlemt (yep, I went there) and you can read about our trip and all of the gifts I received from responding to that whisper here, here and here.
I started a job at the church my son and I had been attending for a year. The only church we visited and attended and became members of. The church we were invited to shortly after moving into our apartment after just arriving in Texas from Wisconsin. A year and one month later, I received an invitation to join the staff and put my season of wilderness and rest to an end. It was time to get to back to work.
I was blessed to be in a development group for a lot of the year and receive new perspective on my life, gifts, parenting and hope in love. These women were just a fabulous gift to me.
And in that, I received affirmation and confirmation that God knew what was in my heart long before I did – that though I was good at and enjoyed many aspects of my education career, working in His house, for His glory would be the only right place for me to be.
There was confirmation among confirmation among confirmation that we were moved here for purposes I’m still not sure God has revealed to us yet. But, I grew at receiving it.
Because I was intentional. Because I’d taken the time to share with others what my word was, I made time to listen for it and pray boldly about it. I read books, stories and watched movies looking for my word. I was diligent about having experiences around the Word and I found them.
Though not every experience in receiving was picture perfect – there were definitely some less than lovely lessons – I was blessed abundantly in being able to focus on the one word and experience it fully.
O n e L i t t l e W o r d 2 0 1 7
So, here we are a few weeks into the new year and I’m ready to share this year’s word with my corner of the world.
I got stuck and felt funny about this year’s word – at least the getting to it part. It was rough. I think because the first time in four years of doing this that I was so conflicted and the word didn’t just slip into my lap, I was unsure about what that meant. To be honest, there was a moment where I was scared of what this new word would mean.
And then I remembered, it means the same thing that ever other word I’ve chosen meant…
That I would need to pick up some new things and put down and leave behind some others.
That I would need to consult God and godly people in areas that I’d kept close the chest or kept reserved and hidden out of fear or pride not ready to deal with them.
That I would need to be a bit vulnerable and quite possibly even more direct.
When choosing a new word, things have to change. And this year will be no different.
My word for this year is: W E L L
For as many reasons as this word has meanings, it is my word. The word that chose me.
The word that chose me because even at the end of receiving so many amazing blessings and gifts and encouragements last year, I didn’t feel like I’d left the year knowing I’d done it well. I mean, things got done. And I’d been complimented and encouraged and lauded, but in my soul space, I knew there were some things that had been just that – accomplished, checked off of a list.
And when I considered that more deeply and saw in my journal entries that I was saddened by this, all of the other words that seemed to be the right ones for me – heal, why, good, simple, release, authentic, light, dream, open, hear, true, bold, real, savor, soul, power, content, love, rise, adventure, care, legacy, home, grateful, gratitude, present, moment, trust, natural, purpose – dissipated because I knew that none of them would matter if I didn’t go after it with a heart to do it well.
Though I’m glad that people are pleased with what I produce or how I perform, I just knew that between me and God, He had more to do in me and with me and that continuing on in doing things “as usual” was going to endanger the blessings that would come with me doing things well. How I cared for my health, spent my time, used my phone, the people I engaged with and if I was holding back on/from them. It was evident in how I was managing His money and the way I was talking to myself. Over and over the message that I began to receive (ha, 2016 word!) reminded me that I was doing, being and living on my own strength and that it was…lacking, lame.
The very opposite of doing, being and living well.
His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” | Matthew 25:21 & 23 (NIV)
Other versions say, “let’s celebrate together!” and “enter into the joy of your master!”
And it is so much of how I want to live. Even if others can’t see it or don’t know all of what’s happening behind-the-scenes or within my soul, He will know and I will know. And then I will hear what matters most; that I have been and am pleasing to Him.
It will be a journey. Choosing one word and sticking with it for one whole year always is, but it’s the kind of journey that changes a person for the better.
What’s YOUR word?!?