For a number of years I have been practicing the discipline of One Word. One Word is the simple act of selecting a single word (not a phrase, not even two words – One. Word.) on which to focus throughout your entire year. This has never failed to both dramatically challenge me as well as improve my life in many unexpected ways.
Your word can be a fruit of the Spirit, a discipline, an attribute of God, or even a character trait that you wish to develop.
For me, the annual selection of this word is done prayerfully and with much meditation. I have come upon my word in various ways over the years. Sometimes it is something that weighs heavily on my heart, and I don’t want it (Fearless). But, in the same instance, cannot deny it. Other times it is something I am sorely lacking and know that I need much of to make an extensive change in my life (Joy). And still other times it is revealed to me by God through scripture, a feeling that will not go away, or repetition of a subject coming up in my life in many areas that resonates with what I have been struggling with, or seeking (Journey).
This year my word was revealed to me early on and with little effort… Clean. Excuse me, what God? Did you mean something else?
No, Barbara, CLEAN.
Ok. I know what you’re thinking, because I was thinking it too. Oh, this can’t be right. I am focused on simplifying, decluttering, letting go… cleaning! This must be a self imposed word.
So I spent a little more time in prayer. And it was swiftly revealed to me that I need to focus, not only on cleaning my house, but in having a clean heart, a clean spirit, a clean mind. My body needs to be cared for, as His temple, through clean eating, and that there are many other ways in which I need to “clean” up my act. Well, ok then. Clean it shall be!
So, what do we do with this One Word once we have it? There are numerous ways that you can choose to focus on your word throughout the coming year. Do a word study and journal everything about your word that resonates with you. Questions about an aspect of your word? Write it down and do a little research into that, too. Do a scripture search and memorize some verses that feel right with what is being revealed to you. Pray and meditate often on how your word is moving in your life, and how you can live it out. Share your word with a group of trusted family or friends (or blog readers!)and discuss how this word is coming up in your life often, and what changes are occurring in you because of it. Jot your word down in different places so you won’t forget about it. I plan to post mine in my planner to come across unexpectedly throughout the year, just penciling it in, as well as getting creative with fancy lettering, color and stickers to remind me how vital this simple word will be to me each time I stumble across it. Remember it. Ruminate on it. Allow it to follow you throughout your days and make a conscious effort to have it at top of mind each time you are challenged. (And you will be!)
There are books that can be found on this subject if you want to know more – simply search your favorite online retailer. One Word can also easily be found and read about on the internet, through blogposts, etc. and there are even free devotionals on the YouVersion Bible app (which is always free of charge). But, if you are not a person of Christian faith, no worries! This awesome annual discipline can still be an amazing tool to focus your priorities and goals for the coming year!
Best to you all! Blessings in your One Word selection, and have a happy and healthy New Year!