Every New Year’s Eve in college, I made a list of the resolutions and expectations I had for the new year to come, many of which were unattainable or unrealistic.
The year I graduated college was the worst. I don’t have my resolutions/expectations sheet in front of me, but if I had to guess what was on my list for 2014, it probably went something like this:
- Become a magazine editor.
- Publish a book.
- Participate in a Masters swim meet.
- Open a cookie shop.
- Spend more time reading the Bible.
When I look back on the expectations I set for myself that year, I can’t help but laugh. Becoming an editor, publishing a book and opening a cookie shop don’t happen overnight. And spending more time reading the Bible isn’t a very actionable or specific goal, to boot. To be actionable or specific, I would have to outline it in detail. How it was going to happen. When it was going to happen, etc.
So, after a disappointing 2014, I decided to stop making resolutions.
And that’s when I heard about the “My One Word” experiment. If you haven’t heard about it, here’s how it works, according to the movement’s website:
Our resolutions seldom work because they are based on the type of person we’re tired of being rather than who God wants us to become. Plus, resolutions can be “broken,” leaving no room for the process of growth. What if our hopes for the year ahead centered instead on who God wants us to become, and the transformation process?
It’s okay to want to be a better you, and the New Year is a natural time to start. The question is, how? My One Word replaces broken promises with a vision for real change. When you choose a single word, you have a clarity and focus. You are moving toward the future rather than swearing off the past.
When I heard about this idea of choosing one word to learn more about in the new year, a light sparked from within.
Where are you taking me, Lord? What do you want to teach me? How do you want me to grow this year?
It didn’t happen overnight, but as I prayed in the weeks leading up to 2016 I began to hear a still, small voice say: JOY, Lauren. I want you to grow in your understanding of my joy. That word from the Lord was the beginning of this ministry.
A word from the Lord, whether spoken or written, is powerful. It can change everything.
So what is the Lord saying to you about 2020? We’d love to hear about it. Tell us in the comments below. If He gives you more than one word, that’s OK. The important thing is that we seek His face to see where He might want our focus to be in the days to come.
-Lauren Gaskill and the She Found Joy team
Lauren is a national speaker, author and Bible teacher. The founder and president of She Found Joy, she is a passionate about helping others encounter Jesus in a way that refreshes their faith and fills them to overflowing with His love and joy. Lauren lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, with her husband, Alex and their dog Reese.