What if there was a word that could totally change the way you live your life?
What if allowing that word to influence your daily decisions in big and small ways could leave deep and profound impact on the rest of your life?
Do you think you know what that word is?
Go ahead, make a guess. There’ll be a quiz later.
In the book, One Word That Will Change Your Life, the authors suggest just so. I read this book on New Years’ Day with my husband. It’s a short and sweet little book (you can read it tonight in less time than you’d spend watching Netflix). We downloaded the Kindle Version to our iPad for instant access. One hour later, we were ready to consider what our word would be.
That’s right, it’s not one word for everyone. It’s one word for YOU. For one year, you keep this one word at the forefront of your mind and sort of filter all your thinking through it.
I’ll be honest, it sounds a little woo-woo to me. In fact, it made me wonder if the concept is biblically sound. As Christians, we already have a guide through which we are to filter all our thinking. “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). The authors assert that God knows what word would be good for you and that He will reveal it to you as you spend time in the Word and in prayer. If the authors acknowledge God’s hand in this, we can be sure that they are not trying suggest that you are your own god, the master of your destiny, or any such mumbo-jumbo.
Selecting your word should definitely be between you and God, and the word should lead you to biblical thinking. Perhaps your word is a character trait endorsed in the Bible that you need to give more priority to in your life. Perhaps it is the key word in a verse that has been calling out to you.
Proverbs 16:3 tells us to “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” If you commit your thinking (and your one-word focus) to the Lord, he will use even this small human gesture for his purpose.
Why One Word?
The book explains it in greater detail, but the general idea is this: one word is simple. People forget resolutions. They forget impassioned speeches and well-crafted sentences. In two months, you won’t remember this blog post. But you will remember your word. You may even remember my word! One word is sticky. The simplicity of it makes it impossible to forget, and easier to think about.
I find one word is effective because a single word is versatile. Since one word has more than one meaning, more than one connotation or application, it can impact your life in several ways.
So, What’s My One Word?
Well, I thought a lot about what things I wanted to change in my life. I was tired of living moment to moment, striving to accomplish the next goal and cross of my to-do list. I was tired of having to tell my kids every moment of the day what they should do next. Shouldn’t they know that after a meal, it’s meal cleanup time? So I thought, we need to create rhythms.
I was about ready to choose Rhythm as my word, but I knew I needed to take it before the Lord before I settle on it. My conversation with God went something like this.
“Lord, I want a word to focus on this year. Will you help me over the next few days to decide my one w…”
“What? Prepare?… Yes! That’s a great word, God! I do need to be more prepared. I need to prepare for supper early in the day. I need to prepare my kids’ lessons before we sit down for school. I need to prepare my blog posts before I write them! Oh wait. This is you I’m talking to. Your ways are higher than my ways. Your thoughts are higher than my thoughts. You ALWAYS have more in mind than I can imagine. Lord! What do you want me to prepare for?!!!” Suddenly, I was excited and terrified.
I think that’s how we know we’re in God’s will: when He leaves you feeling excited and terrified at the same time.
For a moment, I tried to avoid it. “Ok, Lord. I’ll think on it for a few days just to be sure. You might change your mind. Maybe I mis-heard you.” Please, dear reader, tell me I am not the only one who “obeys” God in this way.
The next morning, I woke up thinking “oh, God, Prepare? This is gonna be so hard.” I realized how it would challenge my fleshly patterns. I’m rather spontaneous in nature. I’m passion-driven. I focus on the next step. Just do the next thing. Tomorrow will worry about itself. Sufficient to the day is its own trouble! My husband, bless his heart, balances this with his steadfastness, his dependability, his routines. He laughed when I told him my word. “Oh Sweetie, that is your word.”
My husband has a word too. His word is Joy. In one week, he has overcome some long-term frustrations by focusing on this word. He is already letting-go of the things that bring him down and looking for ways to glorify God with his praise, his Joy.
It’s amazing how once you know your word, you begin to see and hear it everywhere. Songs will pop into my head. Scriptures and quotes jump off the page.
The Lord has been whispering to me, “I am preparing your heart. I want to grow you in to something more.” Am I equal to His calling? No. But He’s working on that. By focusing on this one word, I’m allowing God to work in my heart.
It’s not too late to get your own word for 2016. We are only a week in! Imagine all that God could do in your life with the right focus.
Remember at the beginning of the post when I told you to make a guess about the word that could change your life? Maybe that’s your word. Your gut instinct is often right. Of course, you might hear something different as you pray, like I did.
I suggest you read the book. Pray about it. Give yourself some time and see what word finds its way to your heart this year!
I’m completely terrified of what my word might mean, but don’t let that put you off of selecting your word.
Maybe you’ll end up with an easy one like Joy. 😉