Are you ready for a new way to begin the new year? Are you up for a challenge? I’m hoping you will join me. Read on and get ready!
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
Philippians 4:4-5 – NIV
What’s in a word? Can a word promote spiritual growth? Can focusing on one word help you strengthen your relationship with God?
The authors, Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olson, think so. In their book, “My One Word,” they put forth a challenge. Select a word for the year, and meditate on it. This word will become a focal point as you journey through the ups and downs of life. The word should have meaning for you, targeting an area of your spiritual life where you have an opportunity for growth.
Last January, my pastor mentioned the “My One Word Project” (www.myoneword.com) in a sermon, issuing a challenge to the congregation to prayerfully consider a word that might deepen our spiritual walk in the coming year. Intrigued, I bought a copy of the book and began praying over what word I would select. After a bit of soul searching, I settled on the word “Abide.”
I began the year journaling about the insights I gained from scripture and incorporated the word into my daily prayers. I meditated regularly on the scriptures that used my one word. The search for “abide” led me to Max Lucado’s book, “Anxious For Nothing,” which offered powerful insights into the verses of Philippians 4:4-8.
What did I learn from this challenge? I found that it was easier to recognize when I was under attack by fear and anxiety. Focusing on the word “Abide” allowed me to pause during challenging situations and remind myself to choose to trust. Abide made me practice the habit of pulling my eyes off my circumstances and lifting my gaze up to our Lord. My trust muscles have grown stronger, though I still have a long way to go. While I am a work in progress, I feel more at peace.
My one word made a difference in my perspective, and so I choose to do it again for 2020. So what’s my word? Take a look at the opening scripture above to find a clue.
Yep…you guessed it, “Rejoice!”
Why did I pick that word? Because the word rejoice calls me to choose joy regardless of my circumstances. To rejoice is to be thankful. To rejoice is to have hope. I can think of no better way to start a new year than with joy, thankfulness and hope.
So are you ready? Join me in this challenge.
Begin by praying about your word and seek God’s guidance. Take time to make a list of potential words and consider their meaning. Find scriptures that include these words and ponder their significance in your life. Some common examples include: focus, discipline, grow, wisdom, knowledge.
Give some real soul searching thought to this word. You will reflect on it all year long.
Once you select your one word, incorporate it into your prayers. Journal any insights you gain from scriptures or your life experiences. Keep your word front and center, making it a focal point for the year.
I am excited about the insights we will gain from this process. Praying that 2020 will be a year of spiritual growth for both you and me. That will be a wonderful reason to rejoice!
Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
2 Corinthians 13:11 – NIV
O Lord God, lead us into this new year. Help us find the right word, the one word that will spur our spiritual growth in the coming year. May we open our hearts and minds to what You would have us learn in the months ahead. Thank You, Lord, for Your guiding Hand upon our lives.