It’s the end of another year, which means it’s not only time to reflect on the year that has passed, but it’s also time to prepare for the year ahead. There’s something refreshing and exciting about turning a page in our calendar to the beginning of a new year. It feels like a fresh start, a clean slate, a new beginning.
A few years ago, I started a new year’s tradition of choosing a “One Little Word”, a word that would be my focus throughout the year. In year’s past, it’s been words like “intention” and “focus”. What I’ve learned, though, is that I don’t choose my word, my One Little Word chooses me.
WHAT IS ONE LITTLE WORD?
If you’re scratching your head at this whole idea of “One Little Word”, let me back up. Back in 2006, Ali Edwards, a professional crafter and scrapbooker, started a movement. (I don’t think she knew it would become a movement at the time, but it has.) She chose one word that she would, in her words, “focus on, to live with, to investigate, to write about, to craft with, and to reflect upon as I go about my daily life.” (source)
People everywhere joined in, and it’s been quite amazing. Rather than resolutions you’ll make then break, this is one word…one powerful, yet simple word, that you focus your day-to-day life on throughout the year.
This can be a word that sums up everything you want to accomplish in the year ahead, or representative of some characteristic you wish to improve upon, or just a word that you keep coming across in your life lately. (That last one? That’s how my words find me.)
MY ONE LITTLE WORD FOR 2017
There have been a few years where I feel like I’m getting down to the wire…December 31st is creeping ever closer and I don’t have my word yet. It used to stress me out, but each year that I choose a new word, I become more and more patient at I wait for my word.
About two weeks ago, I sat in a hospital room with my husband who had just come out of surgery to remove his prostate. At the age of 43, my husband had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. As he slept off the anesthesia, I sat in that very uncomfortable hospital recliner and thought about how different our life looks now as compared to even six months ago, pre-diagnosis.
I thought about my daughter, who will be turning 15 in February. I thought about my mom, who is as healthy at nearly 70 as most women are in their 40s. I thought about my mother-in-law, who suffers from a menagerie of health conditions. I thought about myself. I thought about a lot of things.
And as if He were sitting right next to me in that awful chair, God whispered,
One little word. It had found me, and I wasn’t even looking.
THE TWO-FOLD MEANING OF MY ONE LITTLE WORD
As I sat with my word, “well”, I let it speak to me. I didn’t force it to reveal itself immediately, but I knew it would get deeper than what I saw on the surface.
In the days after my husband’s surgery, we faced an extraordinarily difficult week of hospital visits, medications, pain, frustration, sleepless nights…it was awful. Finally, after he turned a corner about 5 days post-op, and we all slept through the night, I woke up one morning and began working on my goals for 2017.
That word…”well”…it kept whispering to me as I worked, and finally opened in full bloom. As I set goals for my personal life and my business, I realized exactly what that word would mean for me in the year ahead. The first meaning was the obvious one:
Well: [adj.] in good health; sound in body and mind.
That definition is one that was made evident while sitting in the hospital. It’s the second meaning that took me by surprise:
Well: [noun] an apparent reservoir or a source of human feelings, emotions, energy, etc.
Throughout 2017, as I focus on my One Little Word, “well”, I will work to improve the health & well-being of myself and my family. But I will also work to fill the wells of those around me.
Through this word that God so clearly spoke to my heart that day in the hospital, He is calling me to use my life to bless others, to fill up their wells with goodness, love, energy.
MY 2017 BIBLE VERSE
In 2016, in addition to choosing my One Little Word, I found a bible verse that corresponded to it, and I kept that verse at the top of my family’s calendar all year long. I decided to do that again in 2017.
Do you know the story of the woman at the well? In John 4, Jesus approaches a Samaritan woman who is gathering water at the well and asks her for a drink. Jesus is breaking the law because He is a Jew and a man, speaking to a Samaritan woman without her husband present.
However, after Jesus asks the woman for a drink, He offers her living water. John 4: 13-14 (HCSB) says:
Jesus said, ‘Everyone who drinks from this water will be thirsty again. But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again – ever! In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up within him for eternal life.’
This story serves as a reminder that Jesus gives grace to each of us, regardless of our sin. He loves us, and offers himself as the Living Water, which provides us with eternal life in heaven.
Share this Image On Your Site
I invite you to choose your own One Little Word for 2017, and share it, along with the meaning behind it, in the comments below.
Have a blessed 2017, friend!
That’s a great word. My word this year is Commit. I want to fully commit myself and all things to the Lord — my life, my family, my work, etc. Praying for your husband’s healing!
I really love this post, very inspirational! I’m going to find my word for 2017.
Kirsten, I hope that Mark is in full recovery and that you both are in a better place than you were a few weeks ago. I’ve never heard of the word of the year until recently and I didn’t think much of it, but now I think that I’m going to let God speak to me too and see what my word will be for 2017. Best to you.
Thank you so much Carol. It was rough, to say the least, but I’m grateful for the strength God gave both of us to get through it. It’s funny how my word each year will just show up in random places throughout the year, like little whispers from God Himself. 🙂 Blessings to you in 2017!
I love the one-word theme for each year. I’m on my third year of doing this.
In 2015 my word was Wonderful – as in “It’s a Wonderful Life” I had lost sight of that after a particularly bad 2012 which lasted through 2013. By 2014 I had grown so negative. In 2015 thinking wonderful thoughts and choosing to see all the wonderfull things in life got me back to the positive, encouraging person I once was.
My word for 2016 was Freedom – freedom from pain, freedom from lots of things. I haven’t completely reached all my freedom goals, but I will in 2017 because it is my Adventure year.
Thanks for sharing from your Well!
I am not religious, but I love the story and use of your word. I think it’s unique and beautiful! My word is EMBRACE. There are lots of things in 2017 I want to embrace, and things I don’t want or have to embrace. And I want to explore that, and the difference, this year.