Just One Word

I don’t make New Year Resolutions anymore. I like the idea behind it. Setting a goal. Resolving yourself to a specific course of action. Which can be great. However, most people set some sort of high lofty goal that they can’t realistically keep resulting in failure of the resolution. What a way to start a year, setting yourself up to fail.

A few years ago I started doing something else, and I’ve seen others do it too. Just one word. A simple word that you set in your life to give purpose of meaning behind the direction you want your life to go for the year. Most of the ones I have seen people choose are positive, encouraging, and uplifting. That already sounds so much better and simpler than a list of firm commitments to fail at.

I actually don’t start mine at the new year though. Mine start in September around my birthday. It wasn’t a conscious choice, but was founded in the idea of wondering what the next year of my life would bring. (I also usually choose a song for the year, but that’s another story for another day!)

My first word was Intentional. I wanted to be intentional about the choices in my life, how I spent my time, and the direction I wanted my life to go. I didn’t want to wander aimlessly through life becoming either reactionary to chaos around me or a victim of circumstances. I chose to make intentional changes in how I related to others, how I spent my time, and how I achieved goals in my life.

Of course, I didn’t do this completely on my own. I do believe God is the one who set the intention in my heart. I prayed continually through the changes, like taking a different job, selling my home, and moving my family to another state. I was intentional in prayer and listening to the Holy Spirit. And He was intentional in guiding me to where He wanted me.

The fall of 2014 brought a new word forward, Joy. Again, I didn’t want life to idly pass me by, nor did I want to live for some future “what if”. That can be a deficit if you’re always looking forward, not enjoying the now. I wanted to continue to look forward with intention, AND I also wanted to live in the moment. I wanted to experience the complete joy all around me. I wanted to laugh and adventure and be so full of joy that others around couldn’t deny it’s presence in my life.


There were moments that I had to look for the joy, for sure! There were hard days, like helping my children recognize their father had been gone for a year. Hard moments of raising them on my own without my family and support system around me. Yet God revealed a bigger support system in my faith community. He showed me His glory in a sunset, hiking a trail, helping families in my ministry, and just laughing with my children. Sometimes laughing so hard they fell to the floor. Those memories and commitment to joy make me smile and continually soften my heart, even today.

This year, the word that keeps washing over me is Confidence. I was listening to a speaker and he challenged everyone to pick one word from a list of five to focus on over the next year. (I actually wrote about it here: Growing In Confidence ) I struggled with it for a bit, because it’s not something I’ve always had. I tried to deny it for a bit, but it’s there.

Confidence has become a firm and quiet part of me. I am confident in who I am and whose I am. I am confident in the direction He is leading me. Knowing, with great confidence, the direction I am being taken is amazing. I am not feeling the unhealthy amount of anxiety or fear as I may have in the past. And I’m doing scary, overwhelming things! Well, no, let me rephrase. I am confident in the gifting and abilities that I have, which makes these days full and manageable.

I have tried to carry the words forward with me each year, letting them soak into who I am. What I do. How I relate to others. Here’s the thing I’ve realized the past few days. I don’t think I have specifically chosen those words. Rather, they have chosen me. They have defined me. They have set my heart and mind past my current circumstances, where I can tend to only see the negative of my situation. Even as I write and recognize these words and how they all fit together, I am amazed at how God is working them out in my life.

Intentional joy that leads to a deep confidence.


Just one word.

One word to another and to another and another.

Words that are building my life.

Words that are giving me life.

I’m happy where I am today.

I’m blessed where I am today.

I am filled with confident joy today.

How about you?


Do you have

just one word?




One thought on “Just One Word

  1. Pingback: One Word for 2017 | Nancy Thompson

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