Have you heard of the “One Word Challenge?” It’s not really a challenge so much as a focus. You choose one word to be your focus for the year. As a Christian, this word is so special when it comes after much prayer and with a focus on spiritual things.
“Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. ~ Colossians 3:2
This is my fifth year to do this challenge. Each year, God has revealed the perfect word for me.
There are many ways to approach your word for the year. You can use your word to inspire different goals. You could do a word study through the Bible on your word, or even find different books and podcasts for more inspiration. Over these last few years I’ve discovered my favorite approach:
Give God the ropes.
Once I determine my word I like to let God take it from there. It is amazing how he orchestrates my situations so that I can learn more. For example, one year my word was grace. Our ladies’ bible class topic turned out to be on the book of James, which is laced in a message of grace. I spent my summer doing a personal study on James, and then we moved to a different church. Guess what their ladies’ bible class was studying? You guessed it–James. It was as if God knew how badly I needed the message.
The year I chose joy for my word still gives me chills. It was that August we discovered my husband had testicular cancer. We had several months of surgery, recovery, and many tests. I’d been praying about joy all year though. When I was anxious I would listen to songs like Chris Tomlin’s “Whom Shall I Fear,” and I found joy–true joy. Thankfully the surgery removed the cancer, and my husband has remained cancer-free! But experiencing joy amidst scary and unknown circumstances is tough, and I’m so thankful for the way God helped me grow that year.
This past year has been the most exciting! Out of pure faith, I chose the word hope. Believe me, I did not want this word. For some reason, the Lord put it on my heart. God showed me much about hope, but the greatest excitement was finding out just days before Christmas that I was pregnant after dealing with minor infertility issues for most of the year. God is good, and year after year God has shown me his faithfulness through my word challenges.
I enjoy giving God control and seeing where he’ll take me, but I do seek out inspiration along the way as well. Apart from prayer here are some other ways I’ve focused on my one word:
- At the beginning of the year I look for a few key verses to meditate on which relate to my word.
- Find a special way to keep the word nearby. This past year, I found a tea bag rest that had my word–hope–on it. Seeing that nearly every day was a gentle reminder.
- Make a Pinterest board! Fill it with quotes, verses, articles, and pictures that will fill you with inspiration. Don’t forget to check in and browse your board every now and then.
- Be on the lookout for books, Bible stories, and Bible studies that relate to your word. (This is something I pray about, asking God to put the right material in my hands.)
- Make a playlist of Christian songs that remind you of your word.
The One Word Challenge has truly been a blessing for my soul. I grow in new ways each year and I’m so excited to see what God will show me this year!
You might be thinking, “This all sounds great but New Year’s Day has passed and it’s too late to start this challenge.” No way! Last year it was almost the end of January before I committed to my word. (Remember when I said I didn’t want the word hope? I spent a few weeks wrestling with God over that one!) So if you’d like to shift your goals to something simple but very meaningful, I encourage you to pray about it and see what God has in store for you!
Have you ever done the One Word Challenge? How has God revealed himself to you through it? I’d love to hear your testimonies in our comments!
What is your word for this year?