My One Word

I’m not a fan of New Year’s Resolutions.

My issues are many (hence the ‘s’ on the end of the word issue).

However, this past fall I engaged in YouVersion’s 4-day devotional plan One Word That Will Change Your Life.

I was intrigued by its simplicity.

I mean really. It’s just one word.

I was haunted by its timing in my life.

In many some ways, I feel the past 4 months have enabled me to take a vacation from the real world. And not in a good way.

I was captivated by its meaningfulness. And encouraged by its promise.

I want to do this ‘life thing’ well; wandering aimlessly, letting life happen to me simply is not working. So when I read, …simplicity and focus lead to success and clarity, I felt hopeful.

And now to self disclosure on the whole New Year Resolution thing. Even though I began the study in September, I waited until now…December 31st (you know…the day before the new year) to move forward with it.

But in my defense, this “One Word” thing is hardly a resolution.

It’s more of a vision statement. A vision statement of—you guessed it—exactly one word.

So last night I continued the process I began this past fall.

I brainstormed a rather impressive list of what I needed to focus on.

  • connecting to others
  • focusing outward and upward
  • being courageous
  • following through with my thoughts
  • setting goals
  • taking risks

And then, I asked myself what was getting in my way.

  • perfectionism
  • fear of failure
  • uncertainty of what God wants me to do with my life
  • not knowing or understanding the whole picture of what I want to do
  • lack of knowledge about how to accomplish things
  • laziness
  • being an introvert
  • afraid of the “what ifs”

The study encouraged me to:

  • look inward (what do I need?)
  • look upward (ask for guidance from the One who made me)
  • look outward (where is there need? what can I do to make the world a better place?)

But unfortunately, none of this led me to my word.

I really wanted it to be written in the clouds or to wake in the middle of the night just KNOWING.

Alas, I finally resorted to the ‘faith informs decisions’.

So today, I went for a run. I emptied my mind the best I could (give me a little credit…some days there is a lot in there), and told God to just take over (ha…like he needed permission).

This is what came to me:

The stage of life I am currently in (new state, no job, no family or friends close by), is discomforting. My inactivity is leaving me feeling restless, purposeless, and unsure of myself.

In the past, I’ve relied on others to push me into activity. Whether it be a coworker at school encouraging me to create new curriculum or present in front of my peers, or a leader from church asking me to volunteer my time, or my extroverted friends inviting me to join a book club, I have always depended on others to keep me moving forward.

And right now, I feel my life is paused.

From here, I began thinking about how my word for 2019 was just one chapter of the book of Karen (the first chapter, but just one chapter).

It didn’t need to be the whole story.

But it needed to be the start.

I needed to begin somewhere.

So my word?


(‘Just Do It’ came to mind, but A.) Nike already ‘did it’, and B.) it’s more than one word.)

I am going to focus on experiencing my word, rather than perseverating on the possibility of failure.

I am going to create goals and figure out what I need to do to reach them.

I am going to take action.

And now for the accountability aspect. How am I going to hold myself accountable? How am I going to make sure that my word is more than a screensaver on my computer or a sticky note on my mirror?

H e l l o…

I just shared this with you.

Feel free to put me on the spot and ask how I am doing.

How about you? What’s your word?

I’d love to hear what you came up with and how!


13 thoughts on “My One Word

  1. Karen,

    Happy New Year to you! I wanted to tell you that I experienced the same sort of inertia that I think you are feeling. I was laid off in 2007 and was really at a loss as to what to do. And I think we are about the same age so a double whammy there! So, I just wanted to tell you that I have empathy for what you may be feeling.

    And you have taken action already! Look at that!

    I don’t really have a word so much as a couple of ideas that I hope will guide me. In that spirit then, can I help at all with your “action” word?

    Here’s to a good start to both of our years.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Libby! I knew we were soul sisters! I have end goals, but not always sure how to get from point A to point B, and trying not to get sidelined by all that I don’t know. For now I’m thinking about how to provide a platform for people to share their writing and incorporate writing coaching into the equation. I dabbled in coaching (adults) and felt so rewarded. Taking action now (investigating), but am open to any advice or thoughts!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Happy to hear that you are doing some investigating. I wasn’t sure how you might find clients for your endeavor but wanted to offer a few ideas. You might consider checking with your local library to see if they have a literacy program. I am always a big fan of getting at things in a peripheral kind of way. People that might want to strengthen their reading skills might also benefit from an opportunity to try their hand at writing. Also, since you already are a teacher, maybe there is an opportunity in partnering with your local schools. A volunteer gig could eventually lead to an online platform for people. And lastly, our Arts Council in our county has a writers group. I would think this sort of group would be the perfect venue for your skills. Who knows? Maybe starting in one of these places might lead you to something else. I am not sure that we always have to know all of the steps in order to get to the endpoint.

        I know that whatever you end up doing will result in some very lucky people having support that they didn’t have before:)

        Hope this helps a little bit,

        Liked by 1 person

      2. If there was a ‘love’ button I would have clicked on that. This is exactly what I needed to hear Libby. I am so grateful you took the time to share this with me. I love your ‘outside’ the box thinking. I needed this perspective. Thank you, thank you, thank you!


      3. You are sure welcome! I wish I had a keyword for 2019 to share with you.
        Good luck and I hope you post about the things that you try and decide upon.


  2. Happy New Year. Moving and New is and has been tough. My biggest struggle has been trying to control everything before and always so I am going to try and turn over my control and be Vulnerable to where God leads me this year. I tend to say Yes to what is asked of me here and no to where God might be leading me. Thanks for the insight.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ll follow up on asking you how you’re doing a little bit on from now. Wishing you an action-filled year.
    I do do resolutions, but they are things that I already worked on in the year previously and want to do better: this year it’s less TV watching and more reading as well as being more careful about eating processed sugars. If I had to pick a word, Karen, it would be diligence. I want to finish my dissertation by April 2020 and need to settle down to the hard work now. Happy new year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dorothea! Happy New Year. Diligence. Nice. That sounds so appropriate for what your goals are for the year. And wow. What is your dissertation on? And please…follow up. I know that will give me the extra push I may need on some days! Take care, my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m doing a comparative literary study of contemporary German and English literature, looking at the use of television references in narratives of migration. you too! Take care. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Such good stuff, as always, my friend. My word this year is Offering. I’m surrendering the idea that I need to have everything planned out for God to use me, and embracing the idea that I can live every day offering all that I do to Him and that He will use it in ways I can’t even imagine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love this! Sounds like a word I should put on my list for next year. I need so much work!! Thank you for sharing this Stephanie! I appreciate it so much. I will add you to my prayer list!


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