Monday, December 5, 2011

One Word 2012

Believe it or not, the final grains of the 2011 hourglass are slipping away. As anticipation builds for new beginnings in 2012 and, of course, the end of the world, I am very happy to kick off the search for One Word 2012!

But, what is this thing you speak of, Sarah? One Word is an alternative to the traditional New Year's Resolution. Instead of making a doomed declaration of all the things you're (not) going to do in the upcoming year, you choose a one-word theme for the year.

Feel free to poke around in the One Word posts of yore here.

This idea was inspired by a conversation between Dan Britton, Executive Vice President of Ministry Programs for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and one of his close friends during a car drive (I'm convinced that the atmosphere inside of a car is a powerful and mysterious catalyst for inspiration). I originally read about it on the blog for Compassion International. You can read Dan's full description here, but let me just give you the highlights.

The idea is to spend a good piece of time reflecting about your life and praying for vision about the upcoming year. Then, with more prayer and reflection, you attempt to distill that idea to a single word. Just one word, not a sentence or phrase, and no hyphens allowed. Narrowing down the theme of an entire year to one word can be incredibly difficult and frustrating, I promise you that it is worth the effort.

See, the more words you use to describe your theme, the greater the odds that your vision is too narrow. For example, you could say that, in 2012, God is going to teach you have to have a better work ethic and to give 100% at your job. But that focuses too tightly on a single point of your life, much like a New Year's resolution, putting God on a leash. You see, you think that you just need to learn to work harder while God wants to show you a much bigger truth about joy and contentment.

Obviously, God is not going to be limited by your short leash, but, by being to so specific, you risk blinding yourself to the greater work that He is doing. And, believe me, you won't want to miss it.

For example, in 2011, my word was "trust." I thought that "trust" had to do with taking risks with my career and my future, but God wanted to show me a much richer, more intimate truths about his trustworthiness. I had no idea the things that God was turn over in my life or the promises that He would make to me. But more on that another day!

I love doing this every year and I really hope you'll do it with me!


  1. Yes....I've already begun thinking about my word for 2012. I've done this two years now and it's been great.

  2. This sounds really interesting! I have been mulling over what my goals for 2012 will be, but this almost sounds like a better idea. I usually only have 1 or 2 things crossed off my goal list by the end of the year. Too ambitious I guess!

  3. I'm glad so many people are getting involved in it. It's been pretty transformational for me.

    Kalyn, check out #oneword2011 & #oneword2012 on twitter. It's really popular on (@gritandglory).

  4. My word for 2011 was also trust. It was quite a year, I have to say. God has already clearly revealed my word for 2012...which gives me hope that I am going to move into a healing process in the coming year! My new word for 2012 is "shine" with a theme verse of Matthew 5:16. Can't wait to see what opportunities God gives in the new year!

  5. Great explanation for One Word! I look forward to reading more about your word and seeing where God takes you!

  6. Kelly, that's awesome how'd it work out for you, my year was interesting ;) I love the word "shine!" I'm glad you're excited for the new year, I'll be praying for you!!

    Thanks! There's a lot of good reading out there. Did you choose a word for 2012?