A few years ago, my friend Gennie* challenged our Ladies Bible Study group to do something different than make resolutions for the New Year. She suggested we focus on a single word for the year, a word that would guide us; a word God would lay on our hearts. Within moments God gave me that word – perspective. I prayed and worked on having God’s perspective in all matters, and I think the challenge made a positive difference that year. I also selected a verse to focus on.
I repeated that challenge again last year, and selected the word persevere and Hebrews 12:1 was my guiding verse for 2015. When I selected the word persevere I did not know what challenges 2015 would bring to my family. We had to persevere through many difficulties, including a move that took us more than 1000 miles away from dear family and friends.
This week I’ve been reflecting on 2015 and have also been planning for 2016. I’ve prayed that God would lay a word and verse on my heart to prepare me for the coming year. That word is “roots.” We’re in a new city, and it’s time to make that city home. We need to set down new roots so we can flourish, and contribute. My verse for the year is Jeremiah 17:7-8:
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
Whatever 2016 brings my way, I will trust in the Lord and remain confident that he will work to help me bring glory and honor to Him.
A personal word for the year is not a unique concept. Several bloggers have used the same technique and their posts further explain the value of this exercise:
Focusing on a theme, or word, is important and helpful because it gives us a clear purpose and direction. If we remain focused on what God has in mind for us we remember our work and trails are for God’s glory, and we don’t spin our wheels focusing on something that doesn’t matter. It also puts the focus of our life back on God and reminds us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Focusing on what God has planned for us reminds us that we are not alone in the journey; He is constantly by our side.
Finally, focusing on a word affects your thoughts. Frank Outlaw wrote:
“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
If this exercise interests you, I’ve listed a few suggestions below. However, I believe God will give you your word, if you only ask Him.
Personal Word Ideas
*Gennie’s blog is “journey to the hills.com.” I highly recommend it.
May your 2016 be productive and richly blessed.
Image: Google Images