By Jeanne Takenaka

Have you ever done a focus on one word to prepare your heart and mind for a new year?

Are you a one-word advocate, a resolution-making person, or do you have another method that helps you begin each year well? For the past number of years, I’ve chosen one word to focus on. I used to write out resolutions, but I never kept with them past March of the year. 

What Happens When We Focus on One Word to Inspire Our New Year—Are you a one-word advocate, a resolution-making person, or do you have another method that helps you begin each year well? #tellhisstory #oneword #trustinggod Click To Tweet

When a friend introduced me to the concept to focus on one word, the idea of concentrating on a single concept and learning how to live it resonated with me. And, God has taught me a lot through this discipline.

Hoarfrost clings to a leaf-a visual of the focus on one word for my year

My 2021 word was “Known.” The thought of being intimately known has always scared my safe-loving, comfort-zone seeking heart. I knew that to truly be known by God and others would require me to step outside my walls and be willing to be vulnerable. 

As we grieved the unexpected loss of my brother-in-law last January, he was the first of a number of losses we experienced last year. My mother-in-law broke her femur in June. The recovery was too much for her already cancer-ridden body, and we said our goodbyes to her in July. We also dealt with a number of family issues. 

I couldn’t hide from my Father anymore. My prayer in January 2021 was: 

“Lord, I look forward to learning how to be vulnerable with You, to living known (in confidence) by You. I know You know me better than I know myself. Help me to be teachable and to trust You more, believe more in Your goodness toward me, and to love You more.”

Snow clinging to brown leaves

Things I learned by focusing on my one word “Known”

Through the many stresses last year held, the Lord showed me some things about myself I hadn’t known or hadn’t acknowledged. 

  • I’m not very good at trusting Him or others. I’d much rather trust myself. And yes, you can imagine how well that works when life’s “hard” slams into my days . . . this is one of the lessons He’s carrying forward into my word for this year.
  • I learned how essential prayer is. We discover where we’re really at with the Lord when the painful, stretching circumstances enter our lives. We will either turn inward, or turn our hearts upward. Which requires some trust that God will hear and respond to our prayers. I found myself journaling my prayers, stopping to pray when I felt overwhelmed, when I learned of someone else’s hardship, when I struggled with things going on in our family.
  • Though I expected to learn how to be more vulnerable before the Lord, I didn’t expect to be laid bare before Him. Yet, that’s where I found myself in November when stress impacted me physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. When fear of the maybes ruled my heart and thoughts.

The great thing about our Father is that, when He lays us bare, He also restores us when we turn to Him. I feel like I’m in the beginning stages of that restoration process. Throughout the year, I clung to the truth that my Father loves me, even when I try to hide from Him. 

My challenge has been making moment-by-moment choices to trust God when life leaves me bruised and weary. 

A focus on one word: for me—cling

One Words I’ve focused on in past years:

2012—Passion

2013—Perspective

2014—Enough

2015—Breathe

2016—Authentic

2017—Intentional

2018—Hope

2019—Live

2020—Present

2021—Known

Visual for focusing on one word--clinging to a rope

On New Year’s morning, I chatted with Hubs about my sense of what God wanted me to focus on this year. Over the past few months, God’s shown me I’ve held onto a lot of fear. How do we manage fear? We choose trust. But “trust” felt like too general a word. And then, my husband mentioned some synonyms . . . and one really resonated!

My One Word is:

My focus on one word: my one word--Cling

My focus verses are: 

Meme with the words: "'Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 13 For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you.'" ~ Isaiah 41:10, 13 on a backdrop of a plant clinging to a barbed-wire fence

Though I will hold tight to this word, I have no illusions the lessons will be easy. But, when we cling to the Lord—when we glue ourselves to Him—we do so because we believe He is trustworthy. He also holds onto us tightly, lovingly, even if we let go. 

For me, to focus on one word for a year is an invitation to go deeper with the Lord. I may share more posts about some of the lessons I am learning about fear. And how I’m learning to cling to Jesus when life feels scary. 

What Happens When We Focus on One Word to Inspire Our New Year—For me, to focus on one word for a year is an invitation to go deeper with the Lord. #tellhisstory #oneword #trustgod Click To Tweet
Yellow flowers growing around a fence post and barbed-wire fence

I hope this year finds each of us walking more closely with our Savior. Focusing on our relationship with Jesus. Drawing closer daily to Him.

What about you? What do you do to stay grounded for the year? If you focus on One Word person, what is your word for the year?

Most weeks, I link up with Grace and Truth, Anita Ojeda, Instaencouragements, and sometimes Let’s Have Coffee. Come join and read more encouraging posts!

Each week we gather here as storytellers, word weavers, and encouragers to make His name known. Our story is God’s story and this small corner of the blogging world, where we come together each Tuesday, needs you. This is a place where poetry, snapshots, prayers, and stories find a safe spot to nod in agreement that what we have to say matters. I am glad you are here and would love to have you join the #TellHisStory community. Add your own encouraging post through the link below. Spread some love by visiting your neighbor and leaving your own encouragement. Click over here to read more about the #TellHisStory community and find a button to add to your site.

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