I know there’s need for change in my life, but I can’t get excited about New Year’s Resolutions. If you’re a resolutions person, I have tremendous respect for you. I wish I could find your brand of success, but truth be told, consistent failure has made me less than a fan.
There’s a recent trend that has made a difference for me, though. Early last year, as I was reading my social networking feeds, I watched as friend after friend posted their word for the year–one word that they would allow to both change and define them that year.
I was processing my usual cynical thoughts about resolutions when God assigned me a word. I didn’t hear Him audibly, although that would be amazing, but still He spoke to me. He dropped the word “trust” into my head and heart, and I knew it was God because I just couldn’t shake it.
I’ve been madly in love with Jesus since I was sixteen (and I might be over 3 decades older than that now), so a word like “trust” felt like sending a PhD student back to kindergarten. I’ve been a Christian a long time, and I was watching some of my friends pick pretty, fancy words. Some of them were even in Greek. Shouldn’t I have a word a little deeper than “trust”?
But that word haunted me all year, and after a while I stopped chaffing against it and started to let it change me.
When I laid awake in the night… trust.
When my kids made a bad decision… trust.
When I shot off my mouth and needed forgiveness… trust.
When there was more month than money (two kids in college will do that)… trust.
Over and over God reminded me that He is truly trust-worthy and showed me how my trust of Him had waned over the years. Disappointments, misunderstandings, and challenging circumstances had chipped away at my trust level until it was alarmingly low. He used one small word to begin to renew my child-like faith, a trust that doesn’t waver because it’s in a strong parent.
Do you want to see change in your life this year, but like me, you’re weary from the feeling of failure? Then I challenge you to choose a small word and believe for a big change. Ask God to whisper His word for you in your ear.
Then, do three things that will leverage that word for greater change. These are steps I’m taking this year that are already producing more transformation than last year.
Pair Your Word with a Verse— This year I felt led to find a verse that paired with my 2016 word “fulfill”. I did a word search at BibleGateway, and one verse jumped off the screen at me. “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord will fulfill His promises to her.” (Luke 1:45 NIV). I’m hiding that one in my heart! Even if your word isn’t in the Bible, watch for one that expresses the essence of your word and pairs naturally.
Pray for God to Reveal the Layers— In 2015, God constantly brought “trust” to my mind in all kinds of different circumstances. In that way, He taught me all year and showed me new layers of meaning and application the word was to have in my life. Let’s pray each day that God will reveal all that He has for us in our word.
Write Your Word—It’s been helpful for me to have my word written around my house. I have my scripture written on a white board in my office, and I’ve written it on a chalkboard in my kitchen. You may want to simply write it on an index card to tape in a conspicuous place. Then we can think about it when we wash dishes or brush our teeth.
God surely has a work to do in us. He’s created us to become more like Himself, and growing more like Him shows we’re filled with His Life. Whether your transformation comes in 2016 through resolutions, one word, or something different, let’s commit now to end the year knowing Him better than when it started.
Amy Carroll is a speaker, writer, and International Initiatives Coordinator with Proverbs 31 Ministries. She’s the author of Breaking Up with Perfect as well as the director and coach of Next Step Speaker Services. Amy and her husband live in lovely Holly Springs, NC with a bossy miniature dachshund. You can find her on any given day texting her two sons at college, typing at her computer, reading a book, or trying to figure out one more alternative to cooking dinner. Share life with Amy at www.amycarroll.org and find out more about her speaker coaching services at www.nextstepspeakerservices.org.