Have you seen all the social media posts? It seems everyone is choosing a single word as their word for the new year. Some do it instead of resolutions or along with them. What about you? Do you have a word in mind for the new year?
But here’s where choosing a word or setting a New Year’s resolution can be a problem. The Huffington Post says that only 8% of all the people who set New Year’s resolutions actually succeed in keeping them. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in me.
Let’s take a closer look at the difference between a resolution and a word. Many resolutions boil down to habits. Maybe you want to reconnect with old friends more often. Maybe you want to tackle that organizational or downsizing project you’ve been putting off for too long, so you set a goal to work at it for a certain length of time every week until it’s complete.
Habits and goals are great, and they are often healthy. But choosing a word for the new year is often much more. Often, the word we choose is something we feel the Holy Spirit is impressing upon us that He wants to work on in our lives in the year ahead. Maybe He wants you to work on time management and leads you to the word FOCUS. Maybe He wants to develop contentment in your heart and brings GRATITUDE to your mind.
Check Your Word with the Word
So what do you do with the word you feel the Holy Spirit has pressed on your heart? The most important thing to do is to make sure it is really God speaking to your heart. Does your word line up with God’s Word? Is it in agreement with what He has told us and how He wants us to live? In the examples above, focus and gratitude both find their roots in God’s Word. He commands us to be wise with our time (Psalm 90) and to be thankful in all things (Ephesians 5:20).
Now that you know your word is grounded in God’s Word, you need to take steps to act on it. After all, there is a great deal of difference between setting a goal you’d like to keep and having a command from God that He wants you to obey. This isn’t the time for 8% success.
It’s also not the time to dig in and decide to work harder. This isn’t about willpower. It’s about surrender and a relationship with God. Zechariah 4:6 tells us, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” And Jesus Himself reminds us in John 15 that He is the vine, and we are the branches. Without Him, we cannot do anything.
How can we practice surrender and deepen our relationship with God?
- Practice accountability with a close friend or loved one.
- Pray to God about what He has impressed on your heart. He wants to help you. He wants to do this together with you.
- Memorize Scripture that relates to your word.
- Remove the habits or things in your life that are stumbling blocks.
Remember that Christ has already won the victory for you. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” Galatians 2:20.
Together, let’s ground our words in God’s Word. Grab this FREE Just One Word Journaling Pack to help.
Bonnie Rose Hudson works as the Director of SchoolhouseTeachers.com, the curriculum site of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine®. Her heart’s desire is for every child to feel the love of God and know how special they are to Him. She would love for you to stop by her website WriteBonnieRose.com for homeschool and history curriculum, resources to help teach your children about missions and the persecuted Church, free history and writing printables, ways you can write for the homeschool market, and to check out her newest release from JourneyForth, The Hidden Village, an early reader set in India.
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