The only time a New Year’s resolution has ever “stuck” for me is the year I resolved to write every single day–that one has turned into a habit I’ve continued for over five years. Most of the time, resolutions seem too overwhelming to commit to. There are certainly changes I could stand to make in my life, but trying to figure out this Adulthood and Personhood thing feels like quite enough most of the time.
This year though, my church did a One Word event for women. I was familiar with the concept of one word, as I’ve seen many tweets and blog posts about it over the past few years, and the concept intrigued me. As explained by the #OneWord365 website, the idea is thus:
Choose just one word.
One word you can focus on every day, all year long… One word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live.
It will take intentionality and commitment, but if you let it, your one word will shape not only your year, but also you. It will become the compass that directs your decisions and guides your steps.
Discover the big impact one word can make.
The complication then becomes, of course, choosing a word.
When I asked People of the Internet for guidance on how to select my word, one of the first responses was, “Just pray about it.” In theory, that sounds great–except my difficulty with prayer is well documented. I did pray about it, and heard…nothing. God doesn’t work like that for me, at least not right now and not in my recent history.
So after a while I just picked two words that felt fitting, and over time, neither felt right anymore–except a new word came to mind, bringing in aspects of each of the original ones.
All at once a command, a reminder, and a promise. It feels gentle though, and kind. Something I can manage. I can’t even think of it with proper capitalization, because there’s something about that capital “D” that feels too harsh for it. So dwell.
That’s my word.
Initially, I took it mostly for myself–a reminder to dwell, to simply sit, be with, and enjoy God–but it’s actually a two-sided reminder. Over and over again in the Bible, God is dwelling with his people. They remain in him, and he remains with them.
Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. ~Psalm 90:1
Spending time with God is not something I have excelled of lately, but this year, I hope to relearn what it means to dwell with God. Whether I “succeed” at doing so or not, I can be continually reminded that God is already with me. I have not, and can not, drive him away with how much or little time I spend with him. His affection for me is not conditional on me dwelling with him, for he already dwells in me. And oh, do I need that reminder.
As much as dwell is a spiritual reminder, there’s also a physical component to the word. For several years, housing has been a complicated issue for me, and it continues to be so. While I hope 2016 will hold a longer-term solution to that, the reality is that I don’t know. In the meantime though, I can seek to be content and grateful for wherever I am physically dwelling, even if it’s not what I would term to be ideal. There is action in the word dwell too though, so my contentment doesn’t have to be the idle kind–I can, and will be, actively working towards something new.
Having never picked One Word before, I have no idea what to expect. It’s a little exciting and a little scary. Maybe this One Word won’t seem to come into play much at all, or maybe it will suddenly pop up everywhere and color everything.
Til next time…
p.s. Did you pick a word for 2016? Will you tell me about it?