I love the way each new year seems to bring with it a fresh sense of purpose and renewal. Given the chance, I think any one of us would choose to hit the delete button on areas of our lives and start recording from the beginning.

Something about January 1 makes this seem strangely possible, and many of us start working on our newest round of resolutions.  Never mind that we have no more propensity for producing lasting change in January than we did in December.

But that doesn’t matter. It’s a new year!  With new promise and new goals.  Last year I heard of people setting a focus word for the year, and letting that be their “resolution” of sorts. I found it so inspiring, that I chose one for myself.  It wasn’t the first time I did such a thing, as I vaguely remember having a year in the past decade when I decided to “simplify” for the coming year.

My Word for 2016

In 2016, my word was “Finish.” I was in the midst of a big project that I had threatened to give up many times.  But I knew I needed to just finish.  I also had several projects around my home that needed attention, so I thought I would dedicate myself to the task of finishing, as opposed to my usual—starting.

I’d like to tell you that I finished everything on my master list of things I had already started.  I did not.  However, I did make forward progress on most of them, so all was not lost.

My Word for 2017

So this year I set out to choose my word. This is a pretty significant task, since it’s the word on which I will focus for the next 12 months.  After praying and reflecting on the meaning and the significance of the word in my life, I will then write the word in calligraphy and stick it to my bulletin board or on the fridge.

I’ve had several words in the running, most of them having to do with the fact that I am…{goingbacktocollege}.

  • Learn—obviously.
  • Unconventional—certainly fits the bill.
  • Perseverance—definitely gonna need that.
  • Strengthen—my core in particular, since I need it to fend off my bulging L4/5 disc.

And I’ve been inspired by words chosen by those around me:

  • Dwell—my personal favorite.
  • Determination—this a good all-around word needed for any resolution.
  • Mercy—isn’t that a beautiful concept?
  • Presence—as in, be fully present and engaged with the people who are with you at any given time. (I think we could all use a little less screen-to-nose, and being “present” seems to make that a requirement.)

The Result of My Word Search Prayer

So today, being the first day of the year, my morning prayer went something like this.  “Lord, help me choose a focus word for the year. I know you don’t necessarily hand out words to people just because it’s January, but I feel like I’ve got to have a word for my Instagram account. And I’d like it to be a word that is truly impactful, not just relevant to one area of my life. Like, when I get to the summertime, I still want this word to be relevant.

…Yes, I know I can’t see the future, and I realize that I may need to focus on something different later in the year, but if you could just go ahead and drop this word in the scripture of my morning devotion, I could have something to write in calligraphy before the first day of 2017 is gone and my social media accounts would not lie dormant. I mean, not having a relevant word would make me so out of touch.”

To tell you the truth, I felt kind of ridiculous. And I don’t mean to downplay the whole word-of-the-year thing. I really enjoyed having my word last year, because it kind of kept me going when I was tempted to quit. And it gave me sense of purpose to be living for a solitary goal. And it was much easier it seemed to aim for a word than to meet a list of resolutions.

But I still felt weird about it this morning, like maybe I shouldn’t choose a word at all.  That was a bit disturbing to me, because it would mean I would have to admit not having a word after I had just posted a “Word of the Year” post to that all-important IG account.

What? No Word?

As I read my devotion in the Psalms, the only word that stood out to me was “Lord.” So much so, that I almost decided to choose “Lord” as my word, which was quite nearly the right thing.  It would be most appropriate to focus on the Lord God every day of my year. After all, isn’t He supposed to be my focus?  But then, if I chose to focus on Him this year, then next year, there could just be no greater word.  I couldn’t really change it, because it would all be downhill from there, know what I mean?

I got up from my devotion and went to dry my hair.  Almost all important revelations come to me while I’m drying my hair.

And then my word came to me.  If I’m going to focus on a word, and I need to focus on the Lord, then there is only one word on which I can focus.  It is GOD’S WORD. Ahhhhh…truly a revelation. How could I have missed this?

And perhaps it is a play on words.  I like those, anyway, so it’s fitting. Nevertheless, “Thy word is lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105 NKJV

I definitely need a light on my path, as I constantly feel like I’m wandering around in the darkness.

“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” Isaiah 40:8 NIV

This brings me much comfort, as everything else in my life fails me. Even if I drop out on my word for the year come summertime, God’s word will not drop out on me. It endures forever.

Alive and Active

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 NIV

God’s word is POWERFUL. Oh, how I need God’s power in my life.  I need it so much more than I need a resolution to last till December.

I need so much more of God, and so much less of me. Focusing on God’s word this year would be so much more beneficial than focusing on a single concept that I find important, even though that word would still hold a valuable role in my life, keeping me steadily moving toward excellence in some area or another.

My Focus for 2017

So for 2017, I’m jumping off the word-of-the-year bandwagon and choosing to focus on God’s word in whole and in part. I’ve spent more time reading the Bible in the past year than much of my last decade, and it has been a most enriching and enlightening experience. That “alive and active” thing? It’s not just a Bible verse. It’s the real deal.  If you try it out you’ll see what I mean.

Join Me

I’m inviting you to join me in making this year’s focus different.  You don’t have to ditch that word you already thunk up. Instead, make a pretty bookmark out of it and use it to mark your place in God’s word. He has so much to reveal to each of us about Himself and His ways and how we each fit into His grand purpose. Make spending time in God’s word one of those daily rituals that you can’t live without.

I wouldn’t dare dream of starting my morning without coffee.  I don’t even know if that’s possible.

But I need God more than coffee.

And so do you.

If you’re joining me in focusing on God’s word this year, tag your devotional posts with #thyword2017. Let’s inspire each other in what we learn from God’s word.