Most busy women who are scrambling to fulfill all the roles in their lives aren’t looking for more pressure. They don’t want anyone telling them to run faster and jump higher. And they sure don’t need one more thing to make them feel like they’re not enough. “New Years Resolutions” can feel like another expectation heaped on their plate, and they’re saying “no thank you.” But there is a way to start the new year with a theme and focus that isn’t demanding or guilt-producing: choosing your “one word” for 2017.
This is the 5th year I’ve chosen a word of the year. The amazing thing is that the word has stuck with me for the entire year, especially the last three years. By stuck with me, I mean it has impacted my life, it has truly been a life theme and it has taught me throughout the year. I first learned about the concept from the book My One Word: Change Your Life With Just One Word by Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen (it’s currently sold out on Amazon but you can get the Kindle version).
Here are the words I’ve chosen in the past:
2013 – Purple (This word symbolized royalty for me, to realize my identity as a daughter of the King)
2014 – Fearless (Not so much boldly going where no man has gone before, it was more fear-less–as in absence of fear–since anxiety and stress are shades of fear)
2015 – Believe (To believe big for what God could do in my life, and to believe in myself)
2016 – New (To renew my mind, see what new things God is doing in my life)
And this year’s One Word for 2017: Identity (as in “Live Your True Identity in Christ)
The funny thing about choosing a Word is that it doesn’t always turn out to mean what you thought it would mean. I thought that “New” would be rather exciting, like new places and new ways of thinking. Instead the year held many difficult challenges and changes: the loss of my mom and my father-in-law, a foot injury that eventually resulted in surgery after months of pain, and some unusual mistakes and stresses of life. Of course there were also joys and good times: the birth of a new grandson, family travel, our 9th child graduating from homeschool and beginning college, and a son’s engagement.
My past words never leave me, they remain meaningful and they still belong to me. They’re like a stack of favorite books with worn covers and underlined passages. Those words help me remember the years and the events and lessons.
Because I’m accustomed to keeping my One Word where I see it often, my 2017 word has already impacted my life. I’m used to reviewing the word daily because I keep it on the wallpaper of my phone:
I also look for jewelry and small home decor pieces with my word–and so does my husband, to surprise me! I’m guessing this won’t be an easy word to find, but things with the initials “I.D.” will work.
With this new year’s word, I’ll have plenty of opportunities to check whether I’m reacting with a false identity—that I’m not enough, unloved, uninvited—or my true identity of royalty, a daughter of the King, secure, loved, and confident. Like, all day, every day. I have a feeling that this year’s word will be life-changing.
Choosing a word doesn’t have to be a huge process. Don’t overthink it, you can’t get it wrong. You can change it quarterly….or monthly. I usually make a list of several words, sit with them, look up Scriptures, pray about it, and narrow it down. I was surprised by this year’s word during a business planning session. I was leaning towards “Grateful” for this year but then “Identity” popped up and I knew in my heart that was it.
Why choose a word? It tends to impact every area of life throughout the year, unlike a list of a few resolutions that are forgotten in a drawer in two weeks. For instance, “Identity” affects my business, my prayers, my relationships, my health, my words….you get the picture. It’s an over-arching theme and it’s sort of fun to see how it plays out and what God is up to! It’s simple and it’s One Thing, which lends itself to focus.
I’d love to hear what your word is, and maybe a brief explanation of what it means to you. Maybe you’ve already chosen one. If not, maybe now you’ll give it a try. Please share YOUR One Word for 2017!