The Power of One Word

by Beth K. Vogt

I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions.
Oh, sure, I’ve tried to resolve my way into a better me – usually failed before
the month of January is over. I lose the list. Or I just lose the want-to,
overwhelmed by all those numbered priorities. It’s as if I’m juggling a bunch
of have-to’s.
Anybody else relate?
Twelve years ago, I discovered the principle of One Word – choosing to focus on one word for an entire year.
Consider this quote from the book My One
Word
by Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen:
“ …words encapsulate ideas. They evoke our emotions.
They hook into memories. They define our experiences—helping to shape us in the
process.
There’s power in words. Beauty in words. Grace in
words.
Words create movement. They craft nations. They seal
a marriage. They cast vision. They make us laugh. They focus our attention.
They expand our horizons. They stimulate our creativity. And they script our
possibilities.”
As writers, we can all agree with that statement, can’t we? Words are powerful. Now consider the process
of prayerfully choosing one word to focus on in 2017, allowing it to fuel
personal and spiritual change in your life. Intrigued?
To further spark
your imagination, here’s a recap of my previous One Words:
  • 2006: gratitude – Keeping a gratitude journal revolutionized my “glass-half-empty” attitude.
  • 2007: simplify – A severe illness changed this word to survival as I
    embraced simpler things in ways I never imagined.
  • 2008: content – as in “be
    content with such things as you have” (Hebrews 13:5) I bought a lot less that
    year!
  • 2009 & 2010: forgiveness – I had a lot to
    learn and unlearn about forgiveness.
  • 2011: hope – There
    were times I could have asked “Why?” Instead, I asked myself, “Are you going to
    abandon hope?” My answer: No.
  • 2012: trust – During a year of
    change, I faced doubting versus trusting — and chose to trust. 
  • 2013: confidence – I was so much stronger after keeping my heart and mind set on “not throwing
    away my confidence.” (Hebrews 10:35-36) 
  • 2014: think – I anchored my thoughts to truth more and more, rather than letting my thoughts
    go wandering.
  • 2015: collaborate – This means to
    work jointly on an activity, especially to produce or create something.
    Synonyms: co-operate, join forces, team up, band together, work together,
    participate, combine, ally
    . As a writer, I focused on collaborating with God.
  • 2016: prosper – to act wisely,
    as in “And David was acting wisely (prospering) in all his ways for the
    LORD was with him.” (1 Samuel 18 14.) This word helped me make major decisions.
My word for 2017
surprised me: inheritance.
Psalm 16:5-6 (NIV)
says: “Lord, you alone are my
portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for
me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” 
At times I’ve talked negatively
about my inheritance.
 Not the eternal one
I’ve received from God, no. But there can be emotional “inheritances”
carried from generation to generation within families … some good, some
harmful. One night as I battled insomnia, I read Psalm
16:5-6, and the word “inheritance” seemed to be written in bright,
bold letters. I knew it was my One Word for 2017.
If you’re
considering focusing on One Word in 2017, here a few things that have helped
me:
  1. Read the book My
    One Word
    by Mike Ashcraft & Rachel Olsen.
    It’s not
    mandatory reading – I chose One Words for several years before I found this
    resource – but it’s excellent. There’s also a website: http://myoneword.org
  2. Take time to pray about your One Word.
  3. Read through Scripture and see if a particular verse
    stands out to you.
    My One Words are always scripturally based.
  4. Look for confirmation. My One Word is
    often confirmed by a quote, a song, or a visual. I use those as additional ways
    to focus on my One Word for the year.

So, do you prefer to keep New Year’s Resolutions?
Does anyone else choose One Word for the year like me? I’d love for you to
share them in the comment section!



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Beth K. Vogt is a non-fiction author and editor who said she’d never write fiction. She’s the wife of an Air Force family physician (now in solo practice) who said she’d never marry a doctor—or anyone in the military. She’s a mom of four who said she’d never have kids. Now Beth believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” As a contemporary romance novelist, Beth is a 2016 Christy Award winner and 2016 Carol Award winner for her novel Crazy Little Thing Called Love.  She was also a 2015 RITA® Finalist for her novel Somebody Like You, which was one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Best Books of 2014. In 2015, Beth introduced her destination wedding series with both an e-novella, Can’t Buy Me Love, and a novel, Crazy Little Thing Called Love. She continued the series in 2016 with the e-novella You Can’t Hurry Love (May) and the novel Almost Like Being in Love (June). Her novella A November Bride was part of the Year of Wedding Series by Zondervan. Beth enjoys writing contemporary romance because she believes there’s more to happily-ever-after than the fairy tales tell us. Find out more about her books at bethvogt.com. An established magazine writer and former editor of Connections, the leadership magazine for MOPS International, Beth is also part of the leadership team for My Book Therapy, the writing community founded by best-selling author Susan May Warren. She lives in Colorado with her husband Rob, who has adjusted to discussing the lives of imaginary people, and their youngest daughter, Christa, who loves to play volleyball and enjoys writing her own stories.