It’s a new year! It’s time to reset our focus. It’s time to pick your one word!
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.
Psalm 143:8 – NIVUK
Over the years, I have had a million eye exams. Well, maybe not, but it sure feels that way. Given the nature of my eye disease, frequent visual field tests are necessary, requiring me to stick my head inside a brightly lit white circular dome. With my chin propped on a chin rest and a buzzer in my hand, I must stare at a small black dot at the rear of the dome while the technician slowly moves a white light from the center of the dome out into the far periphery. As the technician moves the light up and down, and side-to-side, I press the buzzer each time I see the little light.
For this test to be accurate, I must keep my eye steady on the black dot. If I stray from this focal point, I run the risk of ruining the test. My focus on that black dot is critical for determining the right results.
Focus is not only important in eye exams, but it is also critical to the growth of our spiritual life. I don’t know about you, but I find that the month of January is an important time of spiritual reflection. For me, it is a time to ponder how well I am keeping my spiritual disciplines, and what changes I need to make in the coming year.
It occurs to me this morning that we need a black dot to focus our spiritual growth. As we begin a new year, we need a spiritual focal point, and that focal point could be a word, just one word to focus on, one word to guide our spiritual reflections and promote positive change.
For those of you who have followed my blog for several years, you are familiar with my one word challenge. For me, this process began in January of 2019 when my pastor described the concept in a sermon message, citing the work of the authors Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olson. In their book, “My One Word,” the authors suggest that words have the power to both encourage us and promote spiritual growth. They even go so far as to say that focusing on one word can make a difference in our spiritual journeys. With this concept in mind, 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.
Sitting in that 2019 worship service, I found this idea intriguing and decided to select a word for the new year. That was four years ago, and each subsequent year, I have picked a new word. 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.
It all began with just one word, and now I can claim a whole list, including: abide, rejoice,hope, and adore. Each of these words challenged me, shaping my thoughts and strengthening my faith walk. So what word will I pick this year? “Entrust.” My one word for 2023 is entrust.
I have chosen the word entrust to continually remind myself that I not only trust God with my cares and concerns, but I have placed my trust in Him. As I have shared before in previous posts, the words of Psalm 143:8 have become a morning prayer for me. These powerful words remind me each morning that I have placed my trust in God , and I can leave it safely there. God is in control, and He will not be surprised at anything the day brings. I may not know how to handle the situation, but He does. This I believe: God is good, and His steadfast love endures forever. Because He is good, I can trust that He will work all things together for my good. God can, and He will, make the rough places smooth.
Certainly, I trust God, but growing in my spiritual walk means going beyond simple trust. I have to take action. I have to surrender my concerns to Him. I have to entrust my life to His provision and protection. That’s why “entrust” is my one word this year. I think that is a good focal point for the year, don’t you agree?
So what about you? Are you ready to pick a word as your focal point for this new year? 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. 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.
Friends, I hope you join me in this one word challenge. I would love to hear what word you select. Leave me a comment on the blog site or simply reply to your email notification. It’s a new year! Let’s get it off to a great start!
You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.
Psalm 119:114 – NIV
O Precious Lord, how great is Your Love for us, how good are Your plans for us. Teach us to trust You more and more with each passing day. Guide us into this new year, showing us the way we should go. Let word of Your unfailing love reach us every morning and every evening, and all the moments in between.
In the Good and Gracious Name of Jesus, we pray,
New Year’s Blessings,