Several years ago, I was inspired in a homeschool forum to begin choosing a word at the beginning of each year to focus my goals and attention on for the year. I think I’ve now been doing this for about 9 years, and while I don’t always end the year feeling that I have successfully allowed my chosen word to make the difference I hoped it would at the start of the year, I never regret having spent at least some of my time thinking about my word and letting it guide me in how I live my life. In recent years, I have chosen the words connect, restore, create, and joy.
About 3 years ago, the book My One Word was released, and my purpose for choosing a word each year became even more focused.
The concept of My One Word is simple. Lose the long list of resolutions―all your sweeping promises to change―and do something about one thing this year instead of nothing about everything. Choose just one word that represents what you most hope God will do in you, and focus on it for an entire year.
Choosing my one word usually begins with prayerfully selecting a focus Scripture, but this year is a little bit different. Like many of you, my family saw the movie, War Room, in 2015:
With great jobs, a beautiful daughter and a dream house, the Jordans seem to have it all. Appearances can be deceiving, however, as husband Tony flirts with temptation and wife Elizabeth becomes increasingly bitter, crumbling under the strain of a failing marriage. Their lives take an unexpected turn for the better when Elizabeth meets her newest client, Miss Clara, who encourages the couple to find happiness through prayer.
This movie was life-changing for me, but even more so was the book written by Priscilla Shirer that it inspired. Priscialla portrays Elizabeth Jordan in the movie, and I have been a fan of her passionate writing and speaking for many years. Very soon after seeing War Room, I ordered a copy of her book, Fervent.
I began a few weeks it was time to think about what word I would choose for 2016. For awhile I considered the words fearless and flourish. But as I pondered more, I kept going back to Priscilla’s book. For awhile, I thought perhaps prayer was the word God was laying on my heart.
All of these are beautiful words; perfect choices for many reasons. It wasn’t until I picked up Fervent for about the 100th time and reread this passage, that I knew:
If all we’re doing is flinging words and emotions in all directions without any real consideration for the specific ways the enemy is targeting us and the promises of God that apply to us, we’re mostly just wasting our time. We’re adding to the confusion while not really making a noticeable dent in the problem or the process. We’re fighting to keep our heads above water, yet feeling pretty sure on most days we’re fighting a losing battle.
The last thing I want to do when I pray is “fling words and emotions in all directions.” And it’s the last thing I want to do when choosing my one word. It was pressed upon my heart that while prayer would be a great choice for my word, I wanted something a little more specific, a little more focused.
It soon became clear that my word would not be prayer, though it would be inextricably linked to the word. My word would come straight from the cover of Prisicilla’s book — fervent.
Fervent is defined as: having or displaying a passionate intensity. Fervent prayer as opposed to the more common “flinging words and emotions in all directions” type is the lesson learned in War Room and taught so well in Fervent. I don’t just want prayer to be my focus in 2016; I want fervent prayer to be the focus. Actually I want fervent everything to be my focus in 2016 — fervent prayer, fervent service, fervent sacrifice . . . fervent love. I want a fervent spirit.
Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. (Romans 12:11)
I look forward to seeing how God will use the word fervent to direct my paths in 2016 and to sharing that journey with you.
Have you chosen your one word for 2016? I’d love to hear what word you chose and why. Let’s chat in the comments.