Years ago at the church I attended, our pastor would always encourage us to adopt a specific word for the year. I thought this was a great idea in theory, but I never took the time to actually implement it. Boy, was I missing out on a simple joy that this life has to offer!
Speaking of joy, fast forward several years to 2015 where my friend Lesli adopted the word Joy for the year. You may remember her post JOY: A Choice, Not a Feeling. I watched her take this word and run with it. And guess what? Joy permeated her entire year. And not just hers but also those she came in contact with. It was truly a joy to be around her.
Another good friend of mine chose the word Love to focus on for the year and she noted how crazy it was that she would see the word everywhere around her…in her news feed, on her favorite brand of clothing, and in verses of Scripture that she had read a hundred times before but never really noticed the word love. It got to where so many others knew her word was Love and they would send her text messages or post to her Facebook wall whenever they saw the word. How nice to be known to others as love!
So how does one go about picking a word for the new year? Well, there are several ways.
- Think of something that you’d like to work on in the new year. Not just as a new year’s resolution, but something that you will carry with you throughout the year. One great idea I heard was from a friend who wants to improve her self-discipline (i.e. putting limits on entertainment; doing the hard things first instead of procrastinating). Now, that’s a word!
- Choose something you want more of in your life: Gratitude, Peace, Patience. The list is endless.
- Let the Holy Spirit lead you to a specific word. Now, of course I know that He will be at work in the above two ways as well, but this approach is just strictly having Him lead you to a random word. Such was the case with the selection of my personal word for 2016: Hope. A precious friend of mine gave me a stack of cards on HOPE. At first, I was thinking, “I’m digging it. Hope for the future, and all that.” But when I really sat down to think about it, there IS so much for me to be hopeful about in 2016. Hope for my mom’s total healing from breast cancer. Hope for my girls and their continued spiritual growth. Hope for this new Bible study that has formed that I have the honor to teach. And such an expectant hope of where God wants to take Reflecting Light as a ministry after my graduation in May. The Holy Spirit whispered to my soul, “Take it, April. Pick up the word Hope.” So I did and I am loving what He is teaching me through this “not-so little” word.
Once you have your word selected (or in #3’s case, given to you), take some time to look it up. You can go to Blue Letter Bible and plug your specific word in and voilà…every verse containing that word will be listed and you can study it in-depth with their study tools. It’s so easy and you don’t ever have to be intimidated by an old-school concordance again.
Lastly, let the word take up residence in your heart and in your actions. If your word is gentleness, let it be evident to all (Philippians 4:5). If it is self-discipline, memorize 2 Timothy 1:7. If it is hope, then study the book of Jeremiah and learn exactly what God meant when He said He will give us a “hope and a future.” The point is simply to carry the word with you throughout the year and let God teach you about it through His Word. Nothing could be more fantastic.
I told you, Dear Reader, that our future is bright for 2016 and it can be richer with a simple word. So, tell me, what’s your “WORD” for 2016?