It’s a new year, and it’s time to pick a new word. What’s your word for the coming year?
“But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.
Psalm 39:7 – NIV
Do words have power? Can they shape our thoughts or alter our attitudes? If we fill our minds with good thoughts and positive words, will we find our hearts a bit lighter, our smiles a bit brighter?
I think so. Discouragement has been a frequent visitor in this difficult season of Covid, has it not? When my spirits sag, I find encouragement from focusing on a good word or recalling a comforting scripture.
The authors, Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olson, agree that words have the power to both encourage us and promote spiritual growth. In fact, they go so far as to say that one word can make a difference in our spiritual journeys. In their book, “My One Word,” they put forth a challenge. Select one 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.
This January marks the third year that I will accept this one word challenge. Each year, the word I selected has guided my prayer life and focused my scripture reading. Journaling about my word choice has afforded some interesting insights. These reflections have challenged my spiritual status quo, making me dig deeper into God’s Word. It has truly been a thought provoking process.
There are so many negative thoughts out there clamoring for our attention. There are countless sources of discouragement. Why not counter the constant stream of negativity with a word that bears witness to light and life?
My word for 2019 was abide. Last year’s word was rejoice. Both words challenged me, shaping my thoughts and strengthening my faith walk. So what word will I pick this year? “Hope.” My one word for 2021 is hope.
It’s “Hope” because I need it. It’s “Hope” because I have it in my heart, and I want more of it. I want hope to grow in me. I want hope to guide my actions this year. I want hope to shine a light through this present darkness. I want hope to ground me in God’s Word and strengthen me to stand on His promises.
I know the hope of heaven. I hold a confident hope in the grace of Jesus Christ. Yet, I find it easy to lose sight of hope when the tides of fear, bitterness and despair pound the shoreline of my soul. In 2021, I pray that my focus on the word “Hope” will become a sea wall of strength. Though the waves of adversity may come pounding, my hope will remain strong and secure in The Lord who is my Rock and Refuge.
So will you 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. Check out the “My One Word Project” (www.myoneword.com) for more information.
Just the thought of you choosing your word for 2021 brings me hope. As we journey through this new year together, may the Spirit guide us in our reflections, grow us in our faith, and build our trust in the One who holds our Hope!
You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.
Psalm 119:114 – NIV
O God of Hope and Light, Light the way 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. Go with us Lord, and give us hope!
In the Awesome Name of Jesus, we pray,
New Year’s Blessings,