One Word

Posted on: January 16, 2013 Written by
One Word
      Photography by: Jennifer Stone from iStock    

The freshness of a new year promotes reflection as well as positive movement toward accomplishing goals both big and small. No matter where we live, it is exciting to begin anew with a clear calendar. Perhaps you have already considered implementing healthier eating, a workout schedule, writing that book, or adopting a different devotional plan. Whatever it is, we generally try to make our best effort to start over strong. Why is it then that just a few weeks or possibly days into the newly-devised agenda, we often find the enthusiasm dwindling and life reverting back to the same as before, instead of the grand personal changes we had envisioned?

As missionaries, we know first-hand that change is hard. Many of us have moved to different countries, changing cultures, languages, and lifestyles. This can mean that our personal goals sometimes seem even more difficult to pursue, as basic living and ministry takes so much effort. What if we look at our yearly resolutions from a different angle? What if, instead of making a list of goals which can sometimes be overwhelming, we just pick one word* that sums up our plans and focuses our attention?

A few years back, this “one-word” idea exploded across the blogosphere. Although its origin is unclear, it seems to be growing and could be an amazing tool for missionary women. It could encourage us to move forward with changes and challenges instead of being limited to personal goals started just in the first month of the year.

As a cross-cultural worker, I liked the idea of choosing one word. It helped me to better consider all the areas of my life, focusing not just on personal issues but also including my heart’s desire for family and ministry. Also, it did not need to start and end the first few days in January. I could think about new beginnings all year long as I looked to God for ideas to implement what He put in my heart for the year.

To choose a word for 2013, consider what has been happening in your life. What goals, desires, and projects have you been thinking about and desiring to accomplish? What needs are you seeing not only in yourself, but also in your spouse, children, vocation, and other ministries? What ideas will you be implementing in your ministry? How could this “one word” positively impact your life as a missionary? Perhaps it would help to write out a list of resolutions you would normally make and then find a word that will encompass and inspire your overall needs, desires, and dreams. You could also look at this more simply and just go for the word that you most want to cultivate in your life, like love, joy, serve, or give.

In 2011, my word was intentional. I wanted all aspects of my life to be lived for the glory of God in a meaningful way. It became a year of growth in missions, parenting, homeschooling, and in being a wife.

2012 was the year for rest, with Psalm 46:10 as my theme: Be still and know that I am God. I looked to God for what I needed to focus on, and I worked on things like sleep habits and stress as well. In the future, I may need to come back to this word, as I think it is an essential habit for all women serving God in a different culture.

As 2013 dawns, my word will be PRESENT. What I mean by that “one word” is being alive and fully there every moment of each day. In each home school moment, each meal around the table, every Bible study I teach, each ministry activity, I will seek to be completely engaged in the event—and most importantly, with the people. I will try not to allow my thoughts, my plans, the internet, my fears, or anything else to distract me from the goal of loving others in the present moment. I will start with my family, friends, church, and neighbors, and I will watch to see where God moves me in loving others for His glory. I am hoping this will allow changes in me as I care for my temple, disciple my children, respect my husband, serve my neighbors, and seek to share the gospel where God leads. I also hope that this attitude will spread to my children.

Will you join me this year? What will be your one word?

*The first time Amy remembers hearing the idea of picking “one word” was from Allie Edwards the scrapbooking guru

© 2013 Thrive.

Questions to Consider:   What will your word be for 2013?  Why?

About the author

Amy can be found homeschooling her kids, running a guest house while her husband fixes airplanes, teaching Bible study, feeding people, reading and blogging. You can read more of Amy's writing on her blog

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  • My one word is actually two words- inLove. I want to fall in love with God, to live in love with others and abide in Him who is Love incarnate.

    • Amy

      What a great goal! Blessings for your year!

  • My word for the year is healing.

    • Amy

      Just said a prayer for you!

  • Carleen

    BOND-SERVANT is my new word and I hope I keep it all of 2013. Paul says, “We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus, the Lord, and ourselves your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake.” Jesus emptied Himself and took upon Him the form of a bond-servant. — without rights, willing to be treated as the will of the Father and malice of men might decree, if only He might thereby serve men and bring them back to God.

    • Amy

      Wow! May God use you in mighty ways this year!

  • Joy

    Mine is love. I want to live each day focusing on how loved I am by God and on how I can love Him and others.

    • Amy

      Great word! I remember reading the NT quickly one year and noticing how often love comes up. It might be a good word study to consider doing this year, if you haven’t already!

  • TJ

    Mine would be surrender. Surrendering each day to what God has for me. Surrender my rights and plans to God’s will.

    • Amy

      May God work in huge ways through your life as you surrender to Him!

  • My word for 2013: Sent.
    Your post truly caused me to pause and consider how the Lord is working in my life recently. I believe that He is constantly reminding me that we are a “sent” people. Jesus sent the disciples and He continues to send us to be His witnesses…among family, friends, neighbors, vulnerable populations, those who have not yet heard, and to all the world. “Sent” will be on my mind as a constant reminder! Thank you, Amy, for your insightful words!

    Blessings, Sharon

    • Amy

      Wow! Great word and so true! I may need to do a little study on that sometime soon. Blessings!

  • I think mine would be EMBRACE. Embrace the future, embrace the day that God has for you today.

    I love the word PRESENT, by the way.

    • Amy

      Thanks! Embrace has a similar feel to it with a positive spin to make the most of each moment! Blessings!

  • Kayleen

    I love this idea and have been doing it for a few years now. My word for 2013 is DIRECTION. I’m praying that God would give me confidence to take steps toward glorifying Him with my life. I also want to trust the direction that He takes me in, whether it is easy or not.

    • Amy

      Amen to that! Stepping out in faith in the direction he leads us can be difficult! Blessings to you as you follow him, my friend!

  • Amy

    Amen to that! Stepping out in faith in the direction he leads us can be difficult! Blessings to you as you follow him, my friend!