4 Ways to Help One Word Make a Difference in 2016

If you have chosen One Word in the past I’m curious what your experience has been like. How meaningful or transformative has it been?

Honestly, my experience has been varied. “Fearless” was a good, focused year. “Choose life” was a little too broad.

There is certainly nothing magic about choosing One Word, or making resolutions or having goals with strategies. Don’t do it if you feel it doesn’t work for you. There are different seasons of life that make this practice more or less do-able. Read my friend Maggie’s thoughts on No Word 2016 here.

I love this line I ran across by Alia Joy  : “No resolution will ever complete what grace has already done for me.”

But  we do see in Scripture, the value of paying attention, the value of leading an examined life, of keeping step with the Spirit as we cooperate with God’s transforming work in our lives. How we do that can be as individual as we are, but I’m giving One Word another go for 2016.

This year I have been so captivated by the Message translation of Romans 8:15 and the phrase “adventurously expectant”, that I was tempted once again to choose two words. But as I studied the verse further, it struck me that the only way we can truly be “adventurously expectant” is if we trust our Abba – our “Papa”.  And the only way to trust Him is to know Him.

So I’m choosing the whole verse, AND the two words – “adventurously expectant”, BUT if you force me to conform and choose One Word, maybe I’ll say “Papa”. Call me a rebel.


In the past I haven’t been super clear on how I wanted to interact with the whole One Word thing, so this year I want to put some  commitments into place.

Here are 4 ways I’m investing in One Word that I hope will make it more impactful. Maybe they’ll help you too.

  1. Check in monthly.I’ve put a reminder on my calendar on the first day of every month in 2016. On that day I want to ask myself these questions:
  • What do you think God is teaching you about Himself through your One Word?
  • Is there anything you’ve done differently this month as a result of your One Word?
  • What is your One Word prayer this month? Example: Lord, I recognize that addiction to comfort is hindering me from being a fully devoted follower of Yours – responding to any and every prompt from You that might be outside my comfort zone. Please forgive me and help me to respond with “Yes!” to any adventure you have for me this month.

2. Make a Pinterest Board for your One Word. Collect inspirational quotes,  pictures, and books that tie into your One Word.

Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 7.07.09 AM

3. Do a word study.

Look in your concordance, or go to Bible Gateway and put your word, or a version of your word in the search box. Choose different Bible translations. Study your word in context and take notes in a journal as to what insights you gain.  If there’s a particular verse that strikes you, check out Scripture Typer  as a great way to memorize it!

4. Use visuals. Post them where you’ll see them regularly.

I ordered this from Lindsay Letters and will put it in a frame in my kitchen.


I needed a new iPhone case so I designed this with Shutterfly.


Those are just a few of my ideas. What about you? I’d love to hear from you in the comments! 

Are you choosing One Word? What is it? What is going to help you make it meaningful?

(Remember, to fight spam, if you’re posting a comment for the first or second time, it won’t show up immediately. Don’t worry. I’ll release it as soon as I see it.)




  1. My 2016 word is “wait”. Wait before I shop…Wait before I speak…Wait before I judge… Wait before I worry…”Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him…” (Ps 37:7 NIV)

  2. I first tried One Word two years ago – Aware, and it was a helpful experience where I learnt to be more aware of myself, of the Holy Spirit and others. So last year I choose Joy but found I was not as focused on the word. God was doing so much in my heart that I started focusing on the word Heart. I’m not so sure if I’ll do a word this year, although as I reflected on the past year and saw how inconsistent I was, I wondered if I should choose Consistent – in prayer, in Bible study, in my exercise programme, etc. I think of God’s character when I think of the word consistent and in seeking to become like Him, I need to be more consistent. What do you think?

    • I think the key is being open and sensitive to whatever God desires to do in you. It sounds like you’re paying attention to His promptings which is great! Our focus ultimately is on Him, not just on one word. Let me know how He leads and what you decide.

  3. I love how you motivate me and challenge me. For a couple of years I have been meaning to pick a word but have just not followed through. I am going to do it this year. l first need to pick the word and that is always the hard part for me. But your ideas as to how to have it impact my thinking are so helpful. I am going to make the iPhone case too. I love that idea. Thanks.

  4. Love the iphone cover!

    I was encouraged to see the Roman’s 8 passage from The Message touch you as it did me. And I was also encourage by you to share the one word idea with family in West Texas last week. My word was “exhilarating” I wanted to say exhausting but that doesn’t convey the Jahovah Jireh I know and experience. I was filled with God’s sweet Joy by the exchange of words around the table most were retrospective on what God has done with them, in them, through them etc… It was a delight sharing the (though sometimes tough like Ps 23) adventure with family knitted together stronger in Christ
    Thank you for the prompt

    After, returning home Jan 2, I am thinking through the past 12 months in strategy to Love better, by being God’s vessel, and use my time with relationships more rather than projects, management, etc. In this self examination; many disappointments rear their head, so I re-focused on “Papa, what next?” because you are the perfecter of my soul. This morning the Stanley In Touch Ministry was encouraging a time of retreat and meditation on What God directs. So, I plan to do just that. Stop pray, be in the word, and listen.

    • Thanks so much for sharing your reflection Cathy! It’s really helpful for us to hear the thoughts and experience of others. I think it’s important for us to be honest about how we FEEL (sometimes “exhausted”) even as we lean into the Lord for strength in our weakness. It sounds like you ARE leaning in and listening!

  5. First of all, I just love this post. THANK YOU. It is so helpful for me. In the past, I’ve seen my “one word” help me grow throughout the year, but I’ve never been sure how to intentionally focus on it and look for the growth. Your post is giving me tons of great ideas! So thank you 🙂

    My word for this year is RECEIVE. God is teaching me more about abiding and resting in Him, receiving His perfect gift, and letting go of everything else. I’m sure it will be an interesting year!

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