It’s the beginning of a new year and everyone is talking about their one word for 2017.
The one word in the entire English vocabulary that they are motivated to focus on for an entire year. That’s 12 months. Or 52 weeks. Or 365 days. However you look at it, it’s a long time to be dwelling on just one little word. Don’t you think?
That’s what I’ve thought. In years past, I would consider choosing a word, pray about it, but never really feel compelled to follow through. I think one year I was feeling a little peer pressure and haphazardly chose a word. It fizzled in less than a week.
This year is different. When a group of blogging colleagues started discussing their words for 2017, something sparked inside me. And I knew right away what my word would be.
My One Word for 2017
My one word for 2017 is RESPOND.
(Shout out to my amazingly gifted daughter who hand-lettered the image for this post. She creates beautiful word art on a daily basis .)
If there’s one thing I know how to do well, it’s react. I have spent much of my life doing this one thing consistently…reacting to my circumstances.
When I find myself in the middle of a situation, whether desirable or not so much, my tendency is to let emotion rule.
I automatically react within the realm of my feelings without purposing to stop and think and then follow through with a healthy response.
The thing is, for most of my life, I didn’t realize that reacting was necessarily a bad thing. I called it “taking the bull by the horns”.
Those around me would probably call it something like “bulldozing”.
It wasn’t until I began walking through addiction recovery with one of my teens that I started to own this tendency for what it really was.
And to see the negative consequences it was wreaking in my closest relationships.
I started to learn the difference between a reaction and a response. And I desired change.
That one little word – react – packs a pretty big punch. Here’s how the dictionary defines it….
to exert a reciprocal or counteracting force or influence
to change in response to a stimulus
to act in opposition to a force or influence
to move or tend in a reverse direction
I could see God showing me clearly that my reactions were exerting a counteracting force on the good I desired for my relationships.
That often these reactions brought a change in me that was not consistent with who He wanted me to be.
And furthermore, my reactions were placing me in opposition with His will and moving me out of fellowship with Him and others.
I felt like I’d been smacked up the side of the head, but in a good way and I was ready to keep going.
So I looked up the definition for “respond”. And you know what I found?
RESPOND = to show a favorable reaction
2 Things I’m Doing to Help me Focus on My One Word for 2017
As I walked through this process, I knew God was implanting this word in my heart for such a time as this and I asked Him to show me how to apply it.
I really wanted to grasp it. To make it count every month and every week and every day of this coming year.
1. I am prayerfully seeking favorable reactions
I’m keeping a copy of the definitions of react in my journal. And every morning during my quite time, I will prayerfully ask God how I can turn these into favorable actions.
- I will ask Him to remind me in any situation to stop, breathe, think and make a choice that will honor Him move me toward those with whom I am in relationship.
- I will purpose to walk alongside them and pursue peace.
- I will focus on compromise and seek to understand.
- I will be careful to ensure that when I have to stand in opposition, it is for the greater good of those relationships and not because I’m acting in fear or entrenched by my own pride.
2. I am setting goals for 2017.
I normally do not make New Year’s resolutions or even set goals for that matter. Like I said, most of my life has been lived in a sort of reactionary sense.
Yes, I am intentional about grocery budgets and chore lists, but in many other areas of my life, I literally fly by the seat of my pants. This, my friend, results in quite a few unseemly reactions.
By setting goals, I am aiming to reintroduce purpose and thought into several areas of my life.
I am seeking to show a favorable reaction by thoughtfully acting on several things God has been impressing upon my heart, because that, my friend, is the very best place to start!
Did you choose one word for 2017?