Listening for My One Word and How Not to Listen for Yours

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Listening for My One Word has become a regular occurrence. Pictured above are some of the words that were floating through my mind and appearing to be good candidates, but so often I find God slowly reveals my one word to me over a period of months.  Most often I find it’s not the word I would choose, but it is exactly the word that leads me where I need to go. 

 

I thought I’d offer you a different approach to finding your One Word for this coming year, assuming you are looking for One Word. If you’re not, and you are still doing the resolution thing, drop your name below and I will say a prayer for you, because resolutions are a lot like the pair of pants tucked away in the corner of your closet for someday. They don’t fit anymore, but you are saving them anyway. Just in case. Do yourself a favor will you? Ditch the pants, jeans, skirt, shirt, whatever it is that no longer fits. Try something new. Because resolutions and clothes that don’t fit are better discarded. Life is short. Trust me on this, will you?

I’ve already written 5 Tips for Finding Your One Word, so I want to share what NOT to do as you go about leaning in and listening to the silence that potentially might greet you in this endeavor. Or the opposite, a grand cacophony of voices which is the equivalent and potentially more dangerous.

Think of your One Word as a camouflaged AND endangered animal you must find in the wild. The thing is, there are two things that can happen when you are on a Safari Drive looking for animals in the wild. The first is nothing. You drive and search, and see …dusty roads and a bird or two. Maybe. The second is when you stumble across a number of beautiful beasts and creatures vying for your attention. Each unique in its own right, each competing for your undivided focus, drawing you in.

Consider me your Guide, just for the moment. I am an expert at distraction, you can bet on that, so I am the one who can tell you exactly what not to do from firsthand experience. You’re welcome. However my disclaimer is, you really do know what you need, but chances are you won’t recognize it. Not if you start with you.

I have learned to let God reveal my One Word for each year to me…and I believe He does. Some might write it off or dismiss this but, I respectfully disagree. The Holy Spirit of God in Christ Jesus (in me) guides me and the beauty of it, I will not deny. You can come to your One Word anyway that suits you, but for me, this is a gift God has been encouraging me with for a number of years now, and the fruit of it is good. If you’d rather pick a word out of a hat, that’s fine too… for me, that would still reveal God’s sovereignty. IMHO.

Now, about what I would suggest NOT to do:

Pick a word, any word that seems good to you- OK, so the thing is this…that’s just dumb! OK, just kidding. BUT, the reason that doesn’t work for me, is – wait for it- exploding-idea-syndrome. It sounds like this, ” The word Still, yes, that’s a good word, I need more stillness in my life.” Later that day, “OH, man, I need to work on self-control, hey, that’s a good word. I need more fruit in my life.” Later the same day, “Hmm, well if I am going for fruit, may as well go for one of the Big Three: Faith, Hope, or Love, that makes sense, right?”

Puh-leeeze.

If left to my own devices I’d be going through the dictionary and Bible for the BEST WORD…or just hey, my one word is the dictionary, because. Hello who can pick just one. Maybe I need that Self-Control after all…because gluttony! It just becomes an overwhelming and fleshly proposition. It doesn’t work for me. However if this works for you, have at it. You obviously aren’t blessed with ADHD.

Settle for the first word that shows up- When you believe you have an inkling of what your word might be, wait, pray and mull it over before God…repeatedly. Don’t rush…I start sometime in Fall thinking about my current word and how God has faithfully filtered my experiences and lessons all year through this word lens. Then I usually think I will not have a better word. It’s as if I grow into my word each year, then – like with a new friend one has learned to love, I don’t really want to say goodbye! The first word that shows up for me is usually my conscious mind telling me in it’s best parental voice what is good for me. I ask questions, I look up verses and words, and I sit with the words that do come, because eventually, I will sense the affirmation I need to say confidently – this is THE ONE! I also entertain the idea that maybe I really won’t have One Word for the year…but even as I write- God seems to use this practice to help me hear Him better, so …we continue.

Pick or Stick with a word just because you want one– One point to realize is God hasn’t always delivered my word on my time table…One year in particular, I just had no clear vision for my word. That was the year I said- eh, maybe I’ll skip this year, I’ve got nothing.  Then I debated if I should just stick with my word from last year. That year my One Word flew into my life like a Snowy Owl. I think I had pretty much given up. Which would have been fine. Interestingly last year, I had a word I really thought was THE ONE until I began journaling about the this image I could not stop thinking about, a model wearing a shirt that stated, “I love to be free”. As I journaled, it became obvious to me, that my One Word had arrived and was exactly the word I needed. Ditch prior word! Don’t be afraid to back up and be corrected in the choice. My One Word as God reveals it has never let me down.

Once again through prayer, patience AND journaling God has revealed my One Word for 2020. As I look back in my journal I could see it there all along, even as I considered other words and sought them prayerfully, ultimately leaving each one in God’s hands to do as He pleased… and this morning as I prayed about my inabilities, my limited human understanding, my lack of love…there on my pages He led me right back to Himself, His grace, His mercy and His will.

I stand in awe of this God, who is faithful, to meet me where I am, as I am…and promises not to leave me, NOR leave me unchanged, by His grace for His glory. All praise to Him.

I gratefully and humbly reveal my One Word to you today as I give thanks to my Redeemer- as He calls me to walk with this word, this coming new year.

From one who has been a runaway, a quitter, a failure. From one who has spent most of her life trying to forget the unimaginable …God in His grace and goodness calls me to…

Remember 

 

The verses that I have been meditating on the past month or so are Habakkuk 3:2 and 1 Kings 8:56. It wasn’t until this very morning as I was journaling that I was led back to these verses in my journal. I was caught between Hope and Shine as words…and not sure at all…and through the plethora of possibilities staring back at me it became so obvious.

Lord, I have heard of your fame;
    I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord.
Repeat them in our day,
    in our time make them known;
    in wrath remember mercy.

Habakkuk 3:2

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“Praise be to the LORD, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses.

1 Kings 8:56

 

This is only the beginning. The beauty of the One Word Journey each year is discovering where it will lead you, what it will teach you and how amazing God is to even give a hoot enough to be bothered. And He is. So I stand on the brink of a new year, my word in hand, and ask you…what is the One Word God has for you? I’d love to know!

If you check out One Word 365 or the My One Word sites – you can find more one word support for your journey!

On Saying Goodbye to my Mom…The Last Love Letter

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Mom and I in happier days!

 

To say that 2018 was a difficult year would be an understatement. When your New Year begins with being abruptly displaced from your home without warning and ends with the loss of a loved one, well words are sorta hard to find.

I spent most of 2018 helping my Mom stay alive. I cannot write much beyond that now- it’s still too new and unreal. I’m still settling into the reality of her being gone and this new year starting without her. I’m still struggling to figure out who I am without her in my life, and what’s next. Most of all I am missing the woman I called Mom. 

 

Continue reading… More

The Post In Which I Set You Free From Your Doomed Resolution List

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Happy First Monday of the New Year! It has been a while since I posted a Miscellany Monday post- which basically is where my head, which is as busy as the sky on the 4th of July, spills over into this place in cyberspace. But, lucky for you, I’m bursting forth with randoms to share with you today!

First and foremost, I HAVE to share this excellent message preached this past Sunday, by our Assistant Pastor, Randy Curtis.

Some of you know that my #OneWord for this year, is Renewal. Despite not wanting to participate in the One Word Campaign, that so many bloggers enjoy, I discovered God had something for me after all. I thought it was in the scripture only this year. Yet, as I shared with a fellow blogger my numerous reasons why I was not doing the One Word, which can pretty much summed up with this attitude: Life just sucks lately, so why bother. Um, OK, I did not say that, it was more subtle. Like, God does what He wants and I don’t care. I know, not a very spiritual attitude, at all! But, God does know what we need. He did meet me where I was, crappy attitude and all. He led me to Romans 12:1-2. Then, at the time I least expected it, as I read from the English Standard Version, instead of the others, the word just jumped out at me. It was obvious I needed a serious attitude adjustment. So, did God give me my head on a platter? No, he gently, led me to the word Renewal. When I didn’t even want. One. More. Thing. Let alone One Word for the New Year.

It is no small thing that the month before when, sweet Jen @ Finding Heaven asked about our one word thoughts, and I remember replying, if I had to choose what I needed most, it would be “renewed hope”. I promptly forgot about that little conversation, but apparently God was listening. And then He sent an Owl.

But, you must be wondering about thus mentioned AWESOME MESSAGE, right? Well, let me say this. I don’t care where you are in the New Year Resolution thing, but if you are a professing Christian, I believe you NEED (is this a strong enough emphasis?) to listen to the message.

Also, be jealous of MUAH, Yours Truly, because after trying to keep up with the awesomeness coming out of Randy’s mouth via his preparations, gifting to share God’s Word, and the Spirit, my notes had gaps. I just felt that it was worth asking for a fill in the gaps favor, since I can only write so fast. I asked Randy if he could e-mail me his sermon notes. To my joy (only writers get this excited when someone hands them their written, lengthy notes, right?) he handed me his own! Right then, right there. Oh, yeah! OK, why am I so happy? Because now I can re-read until all the message sinks into my thick head. Awesome, yes? Yay, me!

Plus, bonus of bonuses, fireworks were shooting off from (in) my head -surprising that didn’t distract the congregation, because the verses preached fromTitus 2:11-14, well, they are THOSE verses. Like one of a handful of God verses you get in a lifetime that really speak powerfully to you and stick to you. You know, the ones you always highlight FIRST in every new Bible you get, because they are  special messages from your Father who loves you…and you just never, ever want to forget. Let’s just say I have a list of scripture that are especially meaningful to me, because God revealed them to me in a way that made them stand out. Personal. Of course, all of God’s word is living, active, powerful and useful, I know, BUT some are just so creatively, uniquely delivered to us in a season that we know He knows. And that is why He is God, peeps and I am glad of that- He is able. Now, stop distracting me, already… Yeesh!

So just one little quote from the message because, as I said, the best gift I can give you, or you can give yourself, is to listen to it and let it minister grace and truth to you concerning your new year. Amen?

Trust me, on this, OK?

And NO, you cannot have the 5 pages of notes. Unless Pastor Randy e-mails them to you. Sorry. 

“In the year 2014, you don’t need a checklist of things you need to improve. You don’t need a list of things to do. You need to be totally transformed by the power and grace of God. If you are a believer, then that transformation has already taken place. The transformation is continuing to take place. That transformation will one day be totally and perfectly complete. Don’t start your year off thinking about all that you need to do. Start off thinking about all that God has done for you, and before long you will find yourself living in ways you never dreamed possible. “

Now, isn’t that better than your doomed Resolution list?

Seriously, this message was so good, I think it will last all year. I will sit out the rest of my Sundays mediating on this one sermon. Um, no. I am so kidding. But it is so, so, so, good. And I will mediate on it all year. A wonderful new year’s gift.

May God bless your New Year, 2014! 
If you listen to the sermon, will you let me know with a comment back here or on Facebook? 
OK, and so I will have to share my other randoms in another post because well…my randoms in this one were enough, PLUS I do not want to distract you from THE SERMON!
Click on link below to listen to the message by Asst. Pastor Randy Curtis:

You can find Randy blogging HERE

Linking with Laura for:

and Create With Joy:

Linking with Kathy @ Cornerstone Confessions
and Timewarp Wife for their Titus Tuesday communities! 


When Your One Word Flies Into Your Life Uninvited

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I had been pondering this past month, with the coming end of 2013. Pondering that I really had not felt a nudge, or heard a word from God concerning the New Year. I let this last month drift by without much fanfare at all.
 I wrote in my journal on December 10, “Perhaps I am at a crisis of faith…but I feel nothing. No anger, no joy, no passion, no excitement, no expectation, no hope…I am in a state of limbo. A bleak existence. For further clarification, I’m not mad at God…I just no longer expect anything.” 
Limbo, indeed. The past year was like a slow starting forest fire that became an incinerator for many of the hopes, dreams and goals set in my heart. One continuous stop, drop and roll of a year putting out the fires that flared up from every side. 
I had no idea of where I would end up or what was to come with a word like Release. But it left me wordless by the end of the year. From my journal, “Last year (2012) I felt like I was drowning. This year I feel like I am hanging.”

So, as I considered and weighed what is to come, and what has passed, and sensing God’s quietness, I assumed I had no word for the year. I mean, a word like Limbo, does not catapult one into brainstorming goals and dreams for a new year. So I accepted that God was done with parading me along with my fellow bloggers for this One Word theme for 2014. Honestly, after Less and Release...I wasn’t exactly telling God to lay it on me. 
But, as I was sitting with Him one morning (or afternoon, don’t really remember), I was prompted in my reading to Romans 12:1-2. I had the sense that this was God’s “word” for me for this year-and for always – but it was a timely reminder. So, that’s not really one word, I thought to myself. Off the hook. 
I began embracing this as my verse for the year and focus…and figured, meditating on His Word is never a bad thing, so may as well embrace this leading. Next thing I’m explaining to someone about how I am not having a “word” this year, and as I reiterated my verse, the weirdest thing happened. One Word, jumped out at me and I felt my heart do a flip up into my throat, back down to my gut and back into my chest. In a good way. 
” I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. ~ Romans 12:1-2


Yup. I tried to deny it…but it was unmistakable. And merciful. Renewal. Because after Less, and Release…I mean, one does not just WALK INTO MORDOR, willingly! Renewal, seems a tad more optimistic than my previous words. I guess God knows when we are at the end of our rope!
A beautiful confirmation….
Later that evening, while walking by the Sea Wall with our dog and a friend Saturday night, God sealed this sweet deal with me. Adjacent to us, up popped what I thought was a seagull onto the wall. I said aloud, “That is one fat Gull.” But, the minute the words left my lips, my eyes and brain coordinated and I realized I was not looking at any Seagull. Before our very eyes, looking directly at us with a luminous stare, was the most beautiful White Owl. I insisted we get as close as possible. Once we approached the bird, it flew up to the streetlight. Watching it fly upward from the wall after seemingly awaiting our acknowledgement was a beautiful gift that I accepted with joy! 
Of course I went home and looked up what kind of owl that was and it happened to be a Snowy White Owl. Although I am not superstitious, I also had to look at some of the symbolism associated with owls. It made for some interesting reading, let me tell you! I will share that in another post. 

Let me just share one small word that described the symbolism of an owl:
 Renewal!
I love my God who is master of All and all creatures great and small. 
Wishing you all a Happy New Year!
Here are a few posts on my One Word from 2013-Release:





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