Over 500,000 words! Can you imagine? I have enough trouble stringing 500 words together no less 500,000! Yet that's what J.R.R. Tolkien achieved when he penned the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Nestled among those 500,00 words is the famous quote: "One ring to rule them all." However, we don't need one ring. We just need one word. One word to rule all our other words to impact an entire year positively!
For the past decade, I’ve chosen one word to help me know when to say, “Yes!” and when to say, “No.” With the new year right around the corner, I’d love to share how you can positively shape your entire year with just one word.
Why I have a Word of the Year or WOTY
1. FOCUS - A Word of the Year or WOTY brings goals and dreams into focus. It’s like the proverbial “carrot in front of the donkey's nose” image. The WOTY gives me focus, so I can keep moving forward productively. It helps me focus:
- my time - With all the opportunities out there, my WOTY helps me stay in my lane doing what I was created to do.
- my drive - if an opportunity is a “Yes!”, I’m able to devote the time needed to do it well.
-my growth - My WOTY stretches me in ways I wouldn’t normally grow. When I choose opportunities which line up with my WOTY, I usually say “Yes!” to new opportunities and “No.” to things that are comfortable and easy.
2. FILTER - Just like a filter keeps debris from muddying our drinking water, my WOTY allows me to evaluate if given opportunities are best for me. My WOTY:
- creates margin - Confidently saying “Thank you, but no.” creates more downtime.
- cancels regrets - when I look back at my year, I have few regrets because I’ve accomplished what was put before me.
How I Choose my Word of the Year or WOTY
1. Ponder - Starting in October or November, I start pondering and praying about my WOTY for the following year. I keep a running list of words that seem to keep repeating themselves in my reading, talking, and meditating. I then prayerfully sift through them until the right one resonates in my being.
2. Passage - When I finally have peace about the one word, I start praying for a passage of Scripture to use as my focal verse of the year. I explore any and all verses which have my WOTY in them. I slowly sift through them to find the one which perfectly pictures it. When the passage finally comes to light, I know it will guide me well through the year.
3. Product - A decade ago, one of my mentors informed me I needed to learn how to love others well. Hmmph! When I got over my offended self, loving others well became my mission. Therefore, my very first word of the year was “Love” to help me focus on loving the Lord, my man, my children, and others well. A friend gave me a stone placard engraved with the word “love." It received a place of honor in my kitchen where I could easily see it. A tradition was birthed. Each year I purpose to find a product with my WOTY on it.
4. Permission - Accountability keeps us honest and humble. I like to share my WOTY with others. This gives them permission to check in with me to see how my day, week, or month has been in line with my word.
How I use my Word of the Year or WOTY :
1. My WOTY from 2017 - “Generous”
2. My WOTY Scripture - “You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” 2 Corinthians 9:11
3. My WOTY Visual - I ordered a Scripture shirt from Rebecca's in-home business Impress Them. Every time I wear it, I am reminded of my WOTY and corresponding verse for the year! I love it!
4. My WOTY Accountability Partners - This year it “accidentally” was the “By Faith She” girls. It might have even been the first time we started dreaming of starting this blog.
5. My WOTY Focus and Filter - When an opportunity arises, I pray, “How does this fit with being generous?” If it keeps things in my life in balance - God, my man, my children, my ministries - then I say, “Yes!” If not, then I say, “No.”
I’m so thankful for the focus and filter a WOTY gives me.
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, for the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16
How about you? Do you have a Word of the Year? How do you go about choosing one? I'd love to hear!
If you want to find a WOTY for yourself, I've created a download to help you walk thru the process. Sign up for our email list, and we'll be happy to email it to you.
Jesus Girl. Wife. Momma. Student. Teacher. Confidante. Lover of milky coffee, dark chocolate, deep talks, lively laughter, and a front row seat on the beach at sunrise.