My 2019 One Word The Power of One Simple Word

For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory. (2 Corinthians 1:20 NLT)


Naí, the Greek word translated here as yes, is a primary particle of strong affirmation, meaning yes, even so, surely and truth. My yes equates to confidence in trusting God’s true promises! Glorifying God in all I do is the overarching filter through which I am called to live my life. In turn, all my yeses should glorify God, being confirmed by Him. In other words, I should only agree to things I know God has called me to do. When I start adding things that seem like a good idea, without seeking God’s leading through prayer and searching His Word, I am not stewarding well the time with which God has blessed me, and I will be overwhelmed and burn out. I should know, I’ve been there. In our culture there are many more opportunities to do good things than time allows. So throughout 2019 I will focus on saying YES to God. Being aware and careful to what I agree, seeking God’s direction and confirmation first.

My History with One Word

At the end of 2013 I read about the One Word idea. I was immediately sold. I grabbed the book My One Word by Mike Ashcroft & Rachel Olsen, which takes a Christian view, and picked my word for 2014. Bold.
Since then I have continued to choose one word each year. Here’s a summary of the words I have chosen:

2014: Bold
2015: Intentional …Action (yes, there is a story behind the morphing of one word into the other…)
2016: Action (continued from 2015)
2017: Observe
2018: No

(Disclaimer: If you are interested in the book mentioned above and use the link below to purchase from Amazon I will receive a small commission.)

Why I pick one word

Minimal. Simple. I’m being won over by minimalists. They dangle the uncluttered carrot. I reach for it. I can’t help myself. I watch with refreshment as their lives are defined by focused accomplishments. And I decide I want the simplicity of life they have. But why? What is it in me that seeks such simplicity?

Order. The need to create order from the inevitable daily chaos. An internal desire placed in my soul by my Creator God. This is the appeal of minimalism. Cutting away the unnecessary to discover the important. Finding what truly matters. In order to make an eternal impact through the years I’ve been entrusted with on this planet. This is my drive behind one word.

Focus. The practice of choosing a single word as the lens through which to view my world during the next twelve months. The filter through which decisions are made, commitments are kept, and goals are reached. And just as the process of choosing just one single word can be a difficult, even more so is the daily commitment to stick with that one word for an entire year. We have become accustomed to quick fixes and easy changes. Living out of a simplified focus leaves no room for frequent changes. Instead it takes determination, commitment and perseverance. There are no quick fixes. Minimalist living simply requires hard work and follow through. It is simple, but not easy.

Visual. I am a visual learner. Having a single word in mind provides a visual trigger for an entire concept. One of my favorite Scriptures found in 1 Corinthians 16:13-14, sums it up as “Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you’ve got, be resolute, and love without stopping.” (MSG) Don’t you just love that? Picture it… With the motivating purpose to love all those in your path, you begin as your eyes suddenly pop open wide, aware of all going on around you. You securely clutch your truest values tight to your chest, and begin to run forward, holding nothing back. You run hard and steady, with determination. Focused on living out of your securely held values, from the foundation of your convictions. Determined to not just feel love for others, but to follow through with actions to illustrate that compassion. To love not in words only, but in action.

Overflow. For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. (Matthew 12:43 & Luke 6:45). Out of the overflow of the heart comes not only the words of the mouth, but also the actions of the body. It’s been said that action beats intention every time. This is it. My words and intentions of my heart mean nothing if they are not followed through with action. You can now see that we please God by what we do and not only by what we believe. (James 2:24) To love is an action verb. Christ could have simply spoken His love for us. It would have been truth. After all, He is God. He could have avoided immense physical and emotional suffering by leaving it at His word. But the impact He left would have been short. The fact that He practiced what He taught, provides for us a visual model. He followed up His words with action resulting in not only ridicule and rejection, but hunger, loneliness, and ultimately physical suffering to the point of death. Even that death was the relief for mankind.

How I chose my word

Begin the list (brainstorm). I make a list of words and ideas relating to things in my life I want to change, renew, improve, begin, or finish. It’s more of a feeling – how I want to feel and what I believe it would take for me to feel that way. It may be an end result, an action, a process, or a combination of these. For example, for 2014 my one word was bold. I had to first brainstorm ideas in note form, allowing my words to wander around a few neighborhoods before I settled on bold.

Define the list. I choose key words from my brainstorm list and then look up their definitions and synonyms. I search the web for any words and phrases that relate to the key words. It is amazing how much meaning one word can convey.

Refine the list. Lastly I choose one word that best embodies the definition and concept of what I want to accomplish over the year. And then the hard part, stick with it!

What I do with my word

Display it as many places as possible for continual daily visual reference. Write it, print it, stitch it, paint it … whatever. Just get the word into hard copy and put it into action. I may place it throughout my home, my car, my phone background, computer screensaver. You may want to print it on a card and laminate to carry in your wallet, purse, or pocket.
Awareness. Be continually aware of ways God brings your word to you. I read of someone who purchases a new Bible each year and highlights passages throughout the year as God reveals relating to their One Word. I have yet to do this, but I love the idea! I use more of a journal approach, listing scriptures, thoughts and applications God’s brings to my mind throughout the year.

As a side note, what I do NOT do …
– pick phrases or multiple words: the idea here is to simplify and increase focus
– chose my word unrealistically: I chose my word to reflect overall small changes
– become enslaved to my word: it is a guide, not a rule.

Your Turn

Are you choosing One Word to focus on for the year? Are you choosing a scripture to guide you for this year? Comment and let me know what your word and scripture is for 2019. I’d love to hear it!

Until next week,

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