One Word for 2016

2015 was the first year I chose to adopt One Word for the year. I wrote about selecting my word—release—in a blog post last January with an update in August.

Release was not a word I chose eagerly. As a Type A personality, releasing anything does not come naturally. Okay, yes, Type A is really a euphemism for Control Freak.  But control and release are not compatible words. Something had to give. What gave is me.

The act of continuing to release my desire for control merely acknowledges the truth that control is an illusion. I’m not in control. Never have been. Never will be. I can truly say my one word for 2015 – release – made a difference in how I live and especially in how I respond to negative circumstances. And I so needed this reminder during several significantly negative situations this past year.

That doesn’t mean I’ve arrived. I can testify to the truth, “Old habits die hard.” Yet there is also a feeling of relief in release. Relief that I can stop my futile efforts and rest in the care of my sovereign heavenly Father—the One who is and has been in control all along.

So how do I follow up on my 2015 One Word for 2016?

I’ve considered several words that would help me grow spiritually. Serious words. Theologically significant words. Once again I asked the Lord for direction on which to select…and a simple, three-letter word, not on the list, came to mind (another opportunity to release control!). Joy. Within twenty-four hours I received four different confirmations that this is, indeed, my word for 2016.

Seems like an easy one this time, doesn’t it? Perhaps for many. But I’m usually so focused on my list of things to accomplish today, tomorrow, next week, or next month that I miss the joy of each minute now. Building on last year’s word, release, I want to take the next step in finding the joy in circumstances I would not have chosen (or cannot control!).

Now for another fun confirmation….If you flip the number 2016 vertically, it spells joie – French for joy! 😀

Joy.13 - French
I expect 2016 will be an interesting—and joyful!—year. I’ll keep you posted!

One Word for 2015: Update

2015 is the first year I’ve participated in adopting One Word for the year.

I first wrote about selecting my word in a January blog post.

Now that more than half the year has passed, how has God helped me to apply my one word so far this year?

I can truly say my one word for 2015 – release – is making a difference in how I live and especially in how I respond to negative circumstances.

Sigh. At least, it was making a difference, until…

It all started when a cable company crew dug a trench for a new line originating from the cable box next door. They cut across our front yard through the left and right sides of our property. Right across the buried wire for the electric fence installed to keep our two active boxer pups contained.

I called the main office to file a claim for reimbursement of the needed repair. They opened a claim ticket and promised a telephone follow-up within two weeks.


At the end of three weeks I made a second phone call and learned they had closed out the ticket as unfounded…without calling me. A new claim was opened and they promised a follow-up call within seven days.

Yup, you know what happened. No return call…again.

A visit to the company’s office resulted in a three-hour wait. I was told I’d receive a follow-up phone call within forty-eight hours.

No call back…and my anger intensified.

So I went to the office again. This time they gave me a hotline number to call. That office opened a third claim ticket after telling me the second claim number had also been closed without notification. Now they promised to escalate the claim to the Executive Support Regional Office, but they would not provide the phone number. Someone would call me. Yeah, right.

The Executive Support Regional Office sounded familiar. I searched my files and found the name and phone number of someone I had spoken to in that office for resolution of a problem five years earlier. I called the number and left a lengthy and frustrated message.

While I waited for a call back that I did not expect to receive, I sat at my computer to write a blog post. Let’s see…time for an update on my One Word for 2015. Release.ReleaseOuch. I had been in full-on control-and-fix mode. Release had never once entered my thoughts.

As I typed, I justified. Releasing doesn’t apply to this. I just need to stay on their case until they respond.

But I sensed the Lord speaking to my heart. Release your righteous indignation to Me.

They’re the ones in the wrong! Release it to Me anyway.

It’s clearly their responsibility to reimburse me. Don’t you think I can handle this?

Sigh. Yes, Lord. I know You can. I release it to You.

Two hours later, the phone rang. The caller introduced herself and I realized it was the same person I had spoken to five years ago. When I mentioned our previous contact, she said the regional employees pick up messages based on availability and the odds of her getting my call again were highly improbable.

Don’t you think I can handle this?

Then the Lord iced the cake. I thanked her and told her I did not believe in coincidences—the Lord was taking care of the situation far better than I could. And she said…wait for it…“Absolutely. And when we’re done, thank Him, too!”

Not only was the problem finally resolved, it was resolved by a sister-in-Christ. 🙂

Release. Just when I think I’ve learned how to live in surrender, I come face to face with my old nature—the one that needs to hold tight to control.


Stay tuned. I have a feeling the rest of the year will bring more lessons!

I Don’t Like My “One Word”

I don’t like my “one word” for 2015, but I’m keeping it anyway.

Let me explain…

I have many friends who have been selecting one word to focus on for each new year as a substitute for new year’s resolutions. I’ve thought about doing it, but was never really motivated to follow through.

Last week, my pastor encouraged us to choose our one word. We even have a word for our church. I decided this is the year that I, too, would choose a word to focus on for the year.

The first word that occurred to me was intentional. I want to be more intentional about what I say and do. Intentional about my spiritual growth. Intentional about being the kind of wife God wants me to be. Intentional about writing and teaching for God’s glory. Yes, that was a good word.

But the Lord whispered to my heart that it was also a safe word. I tend to be rather focused anyway, so being more intentional wouldn’t be much of a change. Then He gave me a word that made me nervous. The word? Release.ReleaseI am intentional. And task-oriented. And I like the feeling of trying to control my circumstances. My previous corporate career in NYC affirmed those traits.

But release? That’s a difficult word for me in so many areas. Release my writing career and the sales of my books. Release people and relationships that aren’t working out the way I had hoped. Release the desire to control my circumstances. Continue working, serving, and teaching in ministry, but release the results to the Lord.

A week after my pastor challenged us to choose our one word, he spoke about Jesus as Lord in addition to Savior. Again I heard God whisper to my spirit. I AM Lord over you, your circumstances, your relationships, your teaching, your writing…your life! Release it all to Me. It was an affirmation that my one word for 2015, release, will do more to honor Him as Lord than most other words I might choose.

I don’t like my word for this year. But I need this word. It’s not an easy one, but it is a word that will stretch and grow me…for His glory.

Have you chosen a word for 2015?