Resolutions are overrated.
Every New Year’s Eve in college, I made a list of the resolutions and expectations I had for the new year to come, many of which were unattainable or unrealistic.
The year I graduated college was the worst. I don’t have my resolutions/expectations sheet in front of me, but if I had to guess what was on my list for 2014, it probably went something like this:
- Become a magazine editor.
- Publish a book.
- Participate in a Masters swim meet.
- Open a cookie shop.
- Spend more time reading the Bible.
When I look back on the expectations I set for myself that year, I can’t help but laugh. Becoming an editor, publishing a book and opening a cookie shop don’t happen overnight. And spending more time reading the Bible isn’t a very actionable or specific goal, to boot.
So, after a disappointing 2014, I decided to stop making resolutions.
And that’s when I heard about the “My One Word” experiment. If you haven’t heard about it, here’s how it works, according to the movement’s website:
Our resolutions seldom work because they are based on the type of person we’re tired of being rather than who God wants us to become. Plus, resolutions can be “broken,” leaving no room for the process of growth. What if our hopes for the year ahead centered instead on who God wants us to become, and the transformation process?
It’s okay to want to be a better you, and the New Year is a natural time to start. The question is, how? My One Word replaces broken promises with a vision for real change. When you choose a single word, you have a clarity and focus. You are moving toward the future rather than swearing off the past.
When I heard about this idea of choosing one word to learn more about in the new year, a light sparked from within.
Where are you taking me, Lord? What do you want to teach me? How do you want me to grow this year?
It didn’t happen overnight, but as I prayed in the weeks leading up to 2016 I began to hear a still, small voice say: JOY, Lauren. I want you to grow in your understanding of my joy.
The lessons I learned from that year were invaluable, and I’ve been practicing the one word experiment ever since.
Our guest on today’s Finding Joy Podcast episode, Amy Carroll, is a fellow one word gal, and with 2018 just getting started, I thought it would be fun to share the words God has given us over the past several years. If you are interested in choosing a word to focus on with God, I hope our experiences can inspire you in your journey!
Amy: Fulfill // Lesson: Pain precedes fulfillment.
Lauren: Joy // Lesson: The joy of the Lord truly is our strength, and finding and choosing joy is a daily choice.
Amy: Believe // You have to believe before things are fulfilled.
Lauren: Believe // Lesson: Nothing is impossible for God. He is our Savior, healer, provider, sustainer and Father.
Amy: Pray // Lesson: TBD
Lauren: Advance // Lesson: TBD
The important thing to remember is that there are no hard and fast rules to this one word thing. Maybe you choose a word and you meditate on scripture pertaining to that word. Maybe you pray and journal about the word. Maybe you read books that have to do with that word.
In the end, what truly matters is that we are growing in Christ.
I’m handing my expectations for 2018 over to Jesus and expectantly waiting for Him to move in and through me as He pleases. Join me?
Do you have a word for 2018 yet, and how did you get your word? We’d love to hear about it in the comments! Keep scrolling for my podcast interview with Amy!