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?