I've also seen many Christians announcing their word for the year. These words are typically encouraging, words like grace, peace, strong, challenge, balance, flourish. In fact, the “one word” movement is so popular it has its own website: www.myoneword.org. Their tagline: Change Your Life with Just One Word.
The My One Word movement comes from Pastor Mike Ashcraft, who uses the process in his church, both at an organizational and individual level. The idea is resolutions often centre on the negative: things we don’t like about ourselves, things we’d like to change. A long list of negatives that makes us feel bad about ourselves before we’ve even started. A long list that reduces our ability to focus.
My first thought in looking at the My One Word website was skepticism. I wasn’t convinced that one word can change a life. One person can: Jesus. But one word?
But then I got thinking . . .
Too many people have grown up with a wrong image of themselves, an image based on the words other people have used to describe them. Us. Words like stupid, fat, slow. Or twisting positive words so they come out sounding like a negative. Pretty. Intelligent. Sporty.
Sometimes we speak the negative words to ourselves. I’m too busy. I’m too sick. I’m too poor. I could never do that. Is that the truth? Or is it the lie we tell ourselves so we can avoid trying, avoid failing?
Words have power.
The words we think, the words we say, the words we write. The words we read. The words we hear.
Too many of us have spent our lives listening to the negative words from ourselves and others, allowing those negative words to rule in our lives. Instead, we should be listening to God. Some of us are simply too busy, too sick, too poor, to take time to listen to God.
Too busy is certainly one of my problems—when I first started thinking about this One Word idea, the word which came to me was overwhelmed. Hardly the stuff of inspiration.
But it made me step back, think about all I’d like to achieve this year, and how I’m going to do it. Feeling overwhelmed isn’t going to help. That’s the feeling that keeps me awake at night, wondering if I’ll be able to cram an extra few hours into the next day.
But then a verse popped into my mind. As they do.
Be still, and know that I am God (Ps 46:10, NIV)
Be still. Be still, and allow God to work in me, to plan for me, prepare the way ahead of me.
It’s more aspirational than any list of resolutions I could have dreamed up. And more challenging. Yet there is a peace in the word that confirms God is in it.
Be still, and know that I am God.
Do you have a word for 2016?
Iola is a reader, reviewer and freelance editor who is currently writing her first novel, contemporary Christian romance with a Kiwi twist, and her first non-fiction book, which aims to help first-time authors navigate the changing world of Christian publishing.
Connect with Iola at www.iolagoulton.com (a work in progress she’s trying not to be overwhelmed by!) and www.christianreads.blogspot.com.