About this time last year, I had a theme all picked out for the shiny new year of 2016. It was going to be my “Year Without Fear.” And then I found out about One Word 365, which presents the challenge to eschew New Year’s Resolutions and goal setting and instead, in their words, choose “One word you can focus on every day, all year long… One word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live.”
Of course if I already had my theme figured out my word was a no-brainer: Fearless! Or maybe Brave. Or should it be Courage? Hmm. I figured I’d better pray about it before committing to a definitive word. So I did. And the word God gave me instead?
This made me wrinkle up my brow in confusion at first. “Lean? What does that mean? How is that a guide word? What does that have to do with not letting fear control my actions?” I thought of the old hymn, “Leaning On the Everlasting Arms” and decided that God was telling me I needed to spend 2016 learning to be more reliant on Him.
And boy howdy, was 2016 filled with reasons to lean on God. My husband’s health battles alone gave us both ample opportunities to lean on Him for strength, for provision, for wisdom, for courage, and I’m sure for many other things. There also seemed to be a bit more than our fair share of things breaking or falling apart and we had to completely rely on God’s provision to take care of it.
But as the year wore on, it became clear that I wasn’t only going to be challenged to lean on God, but also to lean into what He was doing inside me. This included a major work of spiritual healing that involved confronting some things in my past, allowing myself to grieve and process all of the negative emotions, forgiving those who hurt me and finally rejecting all of the negative words spoken over me throughout my life. I realized that the Lord wanted me to lean into becoming the woman He always meant for me to be, but first I had to deal with identity confusion caused by trying to either live up to or prove wrong the labels that had been placed on me both by people who meant well and by people who wanted to hurt me.
2016 became the year that I was released from the bondage of trying to please people and win their approval and discovered the freedom of being true to who God made me to be. And all because of that one little, unexpected word, hallelujah and amen.
This One Word thing worked out so well that I’ll be doing it again in 2017. Based on last year’s experience, I spent quite a bit of time praying about what my new word should be, and again, it wasn’t something I would’ve chosen for myself, but after studying it and mulling it over I can see why God thinks it’s something I need to focus on. I’ll reveal my One Word for 2017 in the next post.
Did you have One Word for 2016? Leave a comment letting us know what it was and how it worked out for you.
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