After a busy Christmas and holiday season, full of parties and family get-togethers, food and presents, New Year’s Eve ball drops and much more, many are ready for the calmness a new year brings. So when you think of a new year, what comes to mind?  

For many, January means a clean slate and a fresh beginning, which instills a sense of promise for the upcoming year. Some tell themselves “this year I’m going to accomplish that thing I’ve always wanted to but never did” and others convince themselves “new year, new me” is going to be their slogan for the year. New Year’s Resolutions are made with eagerness and anticipation that this will be the year they finally hold to their commitments.

However, if you’re like most people, your resolutions are broken within the first few months, leaving you feeling defeated. You wanted to go a whole year without social media? But wait, your friend posted a really cute picture of you two and you just had to like and comment on it. Or 365 days of eating healthier and exercising? But those cold Saturday mornings your bed seemed extra warm and cuddly and then you and your friends had plans the rest of the day and you just wanted to have a worry-free day. Well, if you’re anything like me and think, “hmm, that sounds a lot like something I’d do”, then here’s the perfect solution for you.

A couple years ago, my youth group started a study called “My One Word.” This is an experiment designed to move you beyond the cycle of disappointment when you fail to stick to your new year’s resolutions. The challenge is very simple: ditch the list of imperfections you wanted to make perfect in the upcoming year and instead, pick ONE WORD. By replacing broken promises with a vision for real change, you will clearly see all that our Father is doing through you. This process provides a tangible way to see the changes you wish to make by taking all your major life plans and narrowing them down into a single focus. One word that describes your character and creates opportunities for your future.

In the past few years, I’ve chosen words such as perspective, hope, and intentional. This year I’m choosing to focus on PASSION. I hope to find new passions and reignite old ones. My word can be tangible, yet also a feeling or emotion. In fact, the definition of ‘passion’ is a strong emotion or feeling. I’ve always been one to hide my feelings and paint on a smile, even when I’m struggling so in the next twelve months, I hope to increase my knowledge of how to demonstrate my passion for Jesus more visibly and increase in my love for Him.

Now it’s your turn. If you’re ready to start the process of picking your one word, follow these steps:

  1. Determine the kind of person you want to become // Come December 31, what kind of person do you want to be? This is more than being wealthier or popular, but rather who you are deep down in your soul. Who has God created you to be?

  2. Identify the characteristics of that person // Picture her in your head. Is she loving? Focused? Driven?

  3. Pick ONE WORD // After you have the list of the characteristics you want to be, just pick one. I’m sure there will be more than one characteristic you want to change and this could be difficult, so pray about it. Simply commit to ONE WORD.

Once you’ve chosen a word, live your life by it. Eat, sleep, breathe your one word. Let your word transform your view of the world and everything in it. I promise your everyday will take on a new appreciation and you’ll find new meaning in the challenges you face. Friends, embrace this challenge and seek the Lord through it.

If you’re interested in more information about this challenge or would like to watch videos of those who testify that My One Word has changed their life, here’s the link: http://myoneword.org/.

Jenna // @jennavanderlaan

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