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What’s Your Word For This Year?

Image: David Castillo Dominici

A few weeks ago we went to a church service where the speaker was talking about the New Year.  I loved what he was sharing and it really helped me as I looked into this coming year.

Usually this is the time of year when people start resolutions. I’m not against resolutions, but it is busy time of the year and most people’s immediate focus right after Christmas is diet and finance.  Health and money are important parts of life, but often these resolutions are focused on the negative and the craziness of the holidays paired with trying to get back into schedules make these hard to keep.

I think any day of the year is a good day to make a change in your life for the better.  Many times changes don’t happen as easily or as quickly as planned, this is just life.  The idea is to keep moving in the right direction.

But the speaker wasn’t talking about resolutions.

Instead, the speaker asked people to think about what ‘word’ God was giving them for the year.

Usually resolutions are self-focused.  They have to do with changing ourselves or making our life better.  The question was “What is the idea God is giving you this year?” instead of “Where do you think you should do better in your life?” or “How can you become a better person?”

This really clicked for me.  As I look back through my walk with God I can see word ideas that He has shown me at different times.  It can take weeks or months (or longer) to understand the concept, but it seems like God works with these ideas to teach bigger concepts.

Some words I have worked through in the past few years include:

  • Grace
  • Love
  • Sin
  • Faith
  • Fear
  • Trust
  • Purpose
  • Simple
  • Forgiveness

I can look back and remember times when I was struggling with these concepts and how God has taught me more about them.  What is so different about this idea is that it is God who initiates and teaches these ideas.

I can decide to try and be healthier but I can’t decide to figure out faith.

If I can manage to be disciplined enough I can figure out home organization or budgeting but these don’t make the big changes in my life.  I am searching for a personal growth that goes further than these external things.

My words:

I don’t think God is confined to our calendar, or to teaching us a concept for the whole year, but the New Year is a good time to take some time to figure out where you are, where you have come from, and where you are going.

As I sat there I could come up with words very quickly.  Right now I am working through a better understanding of the words:

  • Follow
  • Obedience

These are both difficult for me because I don’t always handle change well and I like logical reasons for everything.  However, I am starting to understand them better 🙂

What about you?

What words have you learned more about in the past year?

What words are you words or ideas are you working with now?


  1. It seems that my word right now is ‘alignment’… aligning myself with God’s will. I’m always amazed how often a concept seems to be coming at you from many different sources at the same time. It is one way that we know God is teaching us.

    I can see from your reports on where you and your family are headed that your words are big ones in your life! I look forward to hearing more of what God is doing in your ministry as you follow and obey.

  2. CW CW

    FOCUS — I read about this “one word concept” in December and had already been getting that word in many different ways. It’s amazing how God puts together these weird pieces.

  3. Raye Cage Raye Cage

    Since 2013 I can’t seem to let go of four words (yes, four!): celebrate, fun, abundance, & rest. They are not words I would normally choose, but my spirit & soul seem to crave them. So this year I’m planning goals that incorporate them into my lifestyle.

  4. This past year I tried to understand grace and love. I wrote a post called Which Came First: Loving-Kindness or Grace?
    More often than not my posts are about concepts I am struggling with!

    This coming year I am trying to understand “hunger” “poverty” “education” – especially as they relate to children.

    Take care! Cheers!

  5. My word for 2014 is MEANING. I happen to find regular resolutions helpful (I know, I’m weird) so I’m combining them with the One Word concept. All my resolutions have the focus of finding meaning.

  6. Legacy, Intentional, Fun, Friends, Journey – just off the top of my head these seem important. I love the concept of living your legacy – rather than living to leave a legacy. I really want to be more intentional in my life – spiritual, social, ethical, financial etc. In order to live these principles, I need to remind myself (cos I can be happy being solo) to stay in touch with friends, have fun and live the journey (experience the moment)…. I’m enjoying your encouragements along the way! Thanks

  7. Wow. What a great post. This really got me to thinking. The past year or so has been extremely life-changing for me, causing me to feel unsettled and confused. I’m ashamed to say that sometimes I have even found it difficult to trust the Lord. So one of my words is “trust.” I also struggle with knowing what God is guiding me to do or where He is guiding me to go in my life. So “guidance” is another word for me to work on.

    Thank you for this post. I know this concept will help me to focus better on what’s important in my life and what will make the most difference not only for me but for my family as well. May God bless you in your journey this year.

  8. Nancy Nancy

    Humility and trust is God’s message to me.

  9. Enough.
    My word for 2014 😉

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