Choosing one word for the year brings focus and clarity. No goals. No wish lists. No New Year’s resolutions. Just one word.
A single word acts as a guide or focal point for the year, helping us intentionally seek God, and grow in wisdom. It’s good to release expectations with their limiting parameters and allow God to lead us in understanding our one word.
God can and will help us grow in our One Word throughout the year.
The simple power of ‘One Word’ is that it sticks. Our word doesn’t have to be complex or unique; it just has to be relevant to the current season of our life. Once we find our one word for this season of our life, we live it and share it.
How to Find Your One Word
Here are a few pointers to get you started finding your One Word for the year.
- Ask the Lord for a Word. Take time to listen for His still, small voice.
- What word pops into your heart or mind when you hear the phrase ‘One Word.’ Write it down.
- List out all the words that describe the season of life you are experiencing right now. [Example: light, blessed, empty, uncertain, steadfast, simple, etc.]
- List out all the words that describe your heart, thoughts, and emotions as you think of this coming year. [Example: excited, anticipation, fear, overcome, faith, brave, tenacity, grateful, joy, hope, etc.]
Over the next few days, you will recognize one word that is highlighted repeatedly to you, and which seems to be perfect for the upcoming season.
Helpful One Word Resources
My One Word: Change Your Life with Just One Word, written by Mike Ashcroft and Rachel Olsen. Narrated by Tommy Dylan. Audible 4 hours and 22 minutes. [Available in Kindle and Paperback]
In the book, My One Word, the authors make it clear that a single word doesn’t change us, but when we get into position for God to change us, He does.
My one word is simply a doable way to support the formation process of our hearts until we’ve gained the strength necessary to live fully from the inside out. We depend on Him, and God forms the image of Christ in us. ~Ashcroft & Olsen, My One Word
Recommendations for choosing your one word.
- What kind of person do you want to be? (Not behavior modification, but character modification)
- List the characteristics of the person you would like to become. (Fill the page with characteristic words – being words and doing words)
- Mark off words that resonate the least with you. Reduce the word list to ten words or less.
- Write down a brief description of each of the remaining words. (Definition from a dictionary. Synonyms. Scripture verses.)
- Pray and ask God for clarity of mind as you think about your short list. Ask God to highlight one word.
God will honor your faith in Him to effect change in your heart through the process of seeking Him about your word. You don’t have to fear ‘missing it’ or getting the ‘wrong’ word. God will use any of the words you pick.
Change is possible. Focus is required. Commitment to depend on Him. Our effort centers on remaining in a focused position for a length of time while depending on God’s ability to do in us that we cannot do for ourselves. ~Ashcroft & Olsen, My One Word
This is an outstanding book, and I highly recommend it.
One Word that will Change Your Life: Expanded Edition, written by Jon Gordon, Dan Britton, and Jimmy Page. Narrated by Jimmy Page. Audible 1 hour 3 minutes. [Available in Kindle and Hardcover]
In the book, One Word That Will Change Your Life, the authors show us how to find, then implement our one word. Their book offers a simple process for determining our One Word.
- Look In – Prepare your heart. What do we need? What’s in our way? What needs to go?
- Look Up – Discover your word. What does God want to do in us and through us? We want a God word, not a good word.
- Look Out – Live your word. Keep your word front and center. Live it out by sharing it with others and actively practicing your word.
- Spread the Word, gave examples of how people found and implemented their words. It was helpful to hear the stories, yet it sounded like a continuous sales pitch which was a negative for me.
The first three sections are simple to hear and to implement. It’s a good audiobook.
One Word for Kids: A Great Way to Have Your Best Year Ever, written by Jon Gordon, Dan Britton, and Jimmy Page. Illustrated by Korey Scott. They wrote the forty-eight-page book for ages 4-9 years of age. This book makes it easy for young children to discover their very own one word.
- Look In (Into Your Heart) – What one word will help you be your best?
- Look Up – Believe there is a Word for You
- Look Out and Live Your Word
I feel like the authors did a fantastic job simplifying the one word discovery concepts, making it easy for parents to guide their young children or educators to lead their students in recognizing their one word. The story takes place in the classroom. The illustrations are lovely, and the book has a positive story line.
The author, Jimmy Page, reads the book aloud. You can find it here: One Word for Kids – Book Reading with Jimmy Page
One Perfect Word: One Word Can Make All the Difference, written by Debbie Macomber. Narrated by Beth DeVries. Audible 4 hours 40 minutes. [Available in Kindle, Paperback and Hardcover]
One Perfect Word is primarily Debbie’s reflections of God’s faithfulness to reveal Himself to her through the years in her ‘One Word’ journey. Debbie says to choose and explore your word. She says to find your one word; you need to:
- Listen to God and listen to your heart, then choose your word
- Spend time in God’s Word
- Spend time exploring your word
- Record what you learn in light of what’s happening in your life
- Keep your word in front of you all 365 days
Practicing your one word is a form of meditation by spending 365 days pondering its meaning. ~Debbie Macomber
One Word Encouragement
Our one word serves as a guide for the entire year. The simplicity of choosing one word prepares the way for growth. Our intentional focus leads to action to discover the meaning of our word. As we grow in understanding, we gain wisdom, insight, and the ability to embrace our one word.
Our ‘One Word’ can be used individually, as a family, as a teacher, as a business owner, as a team leader – anywhere. Our one word provides a focused yet straightforward approach to the next year of our life, family, class, business, or team’s group.
As you seek the Lord for your ‘One Word’ for the year, you can trust Him to guide you to it, and you can trust Him to reveal Himself to you as you journey with Him throughout the coming year.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. ~Proverbs 3:5-61
I reflect on my One Word for 2021, Harvest. https://strengthwithdignity.com/harvest-one-word-2021/
Want accountability? Want to Join a Group for Your One Word 2022? (lisanotes.com)
1New American Standard Bible 1995 (NASB 1995), copyright 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation.
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