This is it…this is the year!
- I am finally going to get in shape and run the half marathon.
- The green vegetables will no longer be left as an afterthought on my plate.
- The book etched in my brain will finally make it to paper.
- The powerful messages I deliver night after night through my old hairbrush and flannel pajamas will be heard on stages, both virtually and in-person.
- I’m going to read through the entire Bible and not stop in Leviticus!
“So let it be written, so let it be done!”
Just one thing—it is now halfway through January, and nothing has been started. The weather is halting exercise plans. Vegetables still seem to find their way into the garbage can. Maybe the blinking cursor on the computer screen is a sign that there is no book waiting to fill hundreds of pages. Even the old hairbrush broke into pieces with only a few somber words spoken through it. I’m so ashamed to pick up the Bible and read when I have already failed this early in the season.
Surely God is disappointed in another year of unfulfilled resolutions.
Have you found yourself in this mental rut? Are you already berating the attempts you made to bring change into your life? Is shame working overtime to pull you away from the loving embrace of a Good Father who wants to lift this burden once and for all from your heart and mind?
This is where I used to find myself when it came time to make a “new resolution” at the stroke of midnight. The calendar would change. I would make a firm decision, but it had no clear process to back it up. The plan was to “do,” but the “how” and “why” were not identified. A few missed days in, and failure clouded my judgment and who I saw in the mirror.
I would jump with both feet into the deep, but I wasn’t prepared for the strong current slapping up against me. I needed to build up endurance, courage, and faith by starting in the shallow end.
But change is possible!
“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19
Several years ago, a mentor shared a new way to look at the new year, to walk in the new things God had in store for me by picking a WORD FOCUS. This idea may be unfamiliar to some of you. Others may have read about selecting a key word for the year—but doing something different is scary. A few of you have been practicing this discipline regularly—and it has been life changing.
The enemy would love for you to stop. He knows the purpose bubbling inside of you. The last thing Satan wants to see happen is for you to walk fully and freely in God’s call on your life throughout the entire year. Well, he no longer gets to have a “say-so” in your January through December!
Choosing a WORD to focus on throughout the year simplifies the steps you need to take to grow and move forward, allowing breathing room for the process to take place. It will challenge you and gently push you to keep going inch by inch.
For example, if you know God has planted a seed in your heart to write a book, picking a WORD FOCUS can help to guide you in achieving this task. If your word is, OBEDIENT, you can ponder what steps to take throughout each month to be obedient to God’s leading to write a book. If your call is to speak, that might lead to a word like FEARLESS, which may propel you to take steps of faith in ways you never would have imagined, stepping out on God given platforms!
How should you pick?
- BE IN PRAYER. Ask God to give you guidance on what He wants you to focus on this year. Ask Him to show you areas in your life where you need to grow. Seek His Word for direction. He tells us that His Word is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword in Hebrews 4:12. Words matter to the Lord, and He will speak to you with truth as you pause in His presence.
- BE CHALLENGED. Don’t pick a WORD you are already doing well at in your life. If you are great at being on time and organized, TIME MANAGEMENT is not something you need to work on. What is an area in your life you want to see change? Your work ethic? Finances? Confidence? Faith?
- BE A LITTLE SCARED ABOUT YOUR WORD. I know this sounds crazy—but if the word you choose doesn’t make you feel a little queasy, it isn’t the right one. The WORD God will give you will be something you cannot do in your own strength, but it will bring about change that is far more abundant in your life than you could ever ask or think! (Ephesians 3:20).
- BE GRACIOUS. This is not a New Year’s Resolution. If you mess up or have a bad day, or even week, give yourself grace. When choosing a WORD, it is all about a year long process of growing and changing. You are not going to get it right by the end of February.
It will take time—there will be bumps in the road, but the journey to your new destination will be worth it.
Friend, you’re right…this is the year. Pick your WORD. Lace up your shoes and keep moving forward—one moment at a time.
Question: What word are you picking this year? If you’ve selected a verse to go with it, please leave it in the comment section with your word. I look forward to reading your responses.
About Caris Snider
Caris Snider is a Christian Communicator who shares the hope of God through speaking, writing, coaching, and podcasting. She is the author of Anxiety Elephants 31 Day Devotional and Anxiety Elephants 90 Day Devotional for Tween Boys and Girls. She has two new books coming in 2023—There’s An Elephant on My Chest picture book, and Car Line Mom 100 Day Devotional. She shares from personal experiences of overcoming depression, anxiety, fear, and shame. Caris desires to help people of all generations see their value and worth through the eyes of the Lord to grow in their faith and mental health.