Saturday, January 04, 2020

One Word 2020


Do you have One Word for 2020? It is a personal choice to find, choose, or receive a theme for the year that is represented by one word. Resolutions don’t work for most people, but many have found that #OneWord gives them the focus and simple clarity to make sustained life change over the coming year. If you'd like to know more, click here.

My one word for 2020 is "healing." This word surfaced for me during a sermon at our church, called "Beyond Confession" where Kyle Trigg led us through a type of year end "Examen". During the four step contemplative process, we were to individually ask ourselves various questions and listen to what the Holy Spirit was impressing on us. (If you'd like to step through this exercise, Pastor Trigg begins his message at the 13:04 mark of this video. Allow about an hour.) 

One of the questions was about "what I need" for the coming year. Spontaneously, I prayed, "Lord, I need you to heal my heart." Tears followed so quickly, I realized in that split second, God had gifted me with understanding there are deep parts of me that need healing. Emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual wounds exist. I have some in each area. In the same moment, he opened my eyes to several people in my circle who are in the same place, in need of personal healing. 

The scripture teaches we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart (emotional), soul (spiritual), mind (mental), and strength (physical). It's my conclusion over my 62 years, that if there are broken parts in any of these areas, it can be a barrier to loving God fully. 

So this year, I'm focusing my attention on healing.


Past Words

Previous words in past years have included gratitude, presence, love, good, depth and trust. Each year the word is different and reflects the context of my life at that time. Here are brief descriptors of how some of these words were chosen.

2015: Presence

Living present in this moment, today. Instead of making a future list of what needs to go away or come to your life, promise yourself only one thing this year: be present. Speak it only to yourself. Promises and goals spoken out loud trick the brain into thinking we've already accomplished what we've spoken and so we neglect to do the work necessary to actually keep our promise. Just whisper it to yourself: "Be present". In every moment, in every situation, in every joy, with every difficult person: be present, focused, attentive, fully engaged. Make this agreement with yourself. Honour yourself enough to keep your own solemn vow.

Release what you must.
Receive all that comes.
It’s the present.

2017: Good

As many people look back on the prior year, they seem to focus on the bad things that happened. “What a horrible year it was,” they lament. They list all the celebrities that died, the natural disasters, statistics on crime. Even "News" outlets have become purveyors of bad news to the point of fear mongering.

It's easy for me to do the same thing on a smaller scale. Whether it's my own thoughts, negative narrative, self-talk, the inner mean girl, the enemy of my soul, or sub-conscious fears and anxiety; negative perspectives creep into my consciousness (especially at night) and point out all the catastrophic things that can come of imagined realities. The thing is, whatever you focus upon, grows. Whatever you're looking for, you will find. So I have a choice: I can focus on worst case scenarios, or I can choose to tell myself the truth and seek out what is good.

Whatever you are looking for, you will find 

If you continue to look for evidence that things are bad, there’s plenty out there. I also know if you look for things that are good, there’s even more evidence of that. Here's some initial thoughts:

God is good.
The first recorded words from God were “It is good.”
God withholds no good thing from us. (Good by God’s definition, not mine).
God has shown us what is good: to seek justice, love mercy, walk humbly with God.
Look for the good, because whatever you are looking for, you will find.
Assume good will.
That’s good. 
Be good.

2018: Depth

This word came to me like a gift even before my birthday in December. It was inspired by this article: Go Deeper, Not Wider.


2019: Trust

Late in 2018, through several significant events, I noticed myself saying frequently, "I just find it really hard to trust people." As it became a pattern, I wondered, is it only other people I can't trust or does it go deeper? Is it based in a hesitation to trust myself? Or is it possible that I am unwilling to trust God?

As I sat with that thought over the next few weeks, I realized the struggle was real and the Holy Spirit was prompting me to attend to this matter in a very intentional way. What better way than to make "trust" my One Word for 2019? I began preparing my heart by looking in, while at the same time, attending to the places where trust was mentioned, or where I felt a struggle to trust people or God. I detailed some of these in my January 1, 2019 blog post.


Choosing your own One Word


Please remember, these are some of the words and ways God has spoken into my life in a language I can understand. God may speak in different ways and means to you. If you come to God with open hands, listening for guidance, pay attention to what surfaces. There is no one right way to choose your One Word. For more information, see this blog post.

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