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4 Simple Tips for Choosing a Word of the Year

Updated Dec 09, 2016
4 Simple Tips for Choosing a Word of the Year
Here are 4 simple steps you can take to choose your word for the year.

Have you ever chosen a word of the year, or even of the month? If not, this can be a fun way to help yourself stay focused on God’s plan for you during a particular season.

I first chose a word—a hashtag, really—several years ago. At the time, I felt like the Lord had been speaking to me out of Scripture about my need to develop self-control. He had also been highlighting Bible verses to me about making the most of my time.

Since I knew God had called me to write, I realized He was telling me it was time to do the work required in order to walk out my calling. That phrase “do the work” resounded over and over in my spirit, and I started including it on social media posts, teaching outlines, and more. “#DoTheWork” became my word of the year!

Choosing a word for that year really inspired me. The catchphrase “#DoTheWork” reminded me of the vision the Lord had given me for my life. It challenged me, also, since I knew I would have to be diligent in order to arrive where He was leading.

That year, I put in more hours at writing than I could ever count. I got up early every morning and wrote before I went to work. I wrote in the evenings and on every weekend as well. By the end of the year, the progress I had made was more than I could have dreamed. Holding God’s challenge and vision in front of my mind’s eye all year long through my hashtag, “#DoTheWork,” made a huge difference

Would you like a tool that helps you stay on track with God’s vision for your life all year long? If so, consider choosing a word of the year!

Here are 4 tips that can help you pick a word that God will use powerfully in your life:

1. Give yourself grace and space to hear from God about your word of the year.

Don’t force yourself to pick a word the very first time you begin thinking about it. You want a word that will inspire you, challenge you, and compel you to pray—a word that will build your faith and help you dream!

Words like that don’t just come out of nowhere. However, you will hear such a word if you give yourself time to listen to the Lord, instead of putting pressure on yourself to pick just the right theme without waiting on Him.

2. Get alone with God and pray.

Whenever I want to hear from God, I always begin praying. Prayer is, after all, a two-way conversation with God. And when we talk with Him, He speaks back to us every time.

Our Father may speak to you any number of ways, including:

· By giving you a strong or peaceful impression of “just knowing” (as long as those impressions agree with Scripture);

· By highlighting Scripture passages during your Bible study, when verses from His Word just seem to leap off the page into your spirit; or

· Even by the still, small whisper of the Holy Spirit, as He speaks directly into your heart as only He can do.

Whether you get alone with God in your car, in your bedroom, or in a quiet corner of a local park, spending time with God in prayer is essential if you want to hear Him speak to you.

3. Ask God specifically to show you His vision for your next season of life.

Do you know what God would like to do in your life and heart during the next week, month, or year? If not, ask Him! Even if He doesn’t tell you everything, He will definitely show you what you need to know at the moment.

Psalm 32:8 is one of my favorite Scripture verses. It says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.”

Whenever we walk into a new season, the Lord is always ready and willing to guide us. If we will keep our eyes on Him--and keep our ears open for His voice--He will show us the “whats, whens, and hows” for every situation we face. So, when you’re choosing a word of the year, it only makes sense to ask Him what He has in store for you, and what direction He plans to take you!

A friend of mine chose the word “confidence” for this last year. She did so because she felt like the Lord was always convicting her about being down on herself. She struggled to believe that she could do what she knew she was called to do.

Sure enough, that word “confidence” turned out to be a hallmark of God’s work in her life for the whole year! For example:

· The Lord spoke to her repeatedly about confidence as she studied the Bible each day.

· Many of the hard decisions she had to make simply came down to confidence. Would she have confidence and move forward, or would she quail in fear? (Good news: She chose confidence and moved forward in faith every time!)

· The enemy even tried to tempt her into doubting God’s promises. However, every time he did, my friend refused to let Satan undermine God’s work in her heart! She had been forewarned that she needed to have confidence all year, so she clung to confidence until she conquered the temptation!

By discerning at the beginning of the year that God wanted to change her heart in the area of confidence, my friend was stronger and better equipped to face the challenges she encountered throughout the year.

Related: Answers to 19 reader FAQs about stepping into your new season

4. Listen for the still, small voice of God—even if it comes at an inconvenient time!

I got my word for 2017 at a very inconvenient time. I was laying in bed very early in the morning, when suddenly I felt one word grip my heart: “Advance!”

Although it came at an inconvenient time, I knew that word was from the Lord. How? Because this word gripped my heart, made me smile, motivated me, challenged me to dream, and inspired me to look at Jesus, all at the same time! It was like the great Concertmaster of our lives stood on the stage before the orchestra of Heaven and sounded His “A” note, drawing His bow across the strings of my life. In that moment, my faith and hope for 2017 came into tune with His. My whole heart resounded with a holy excitement, and I became captivated by the possibilities!

Would you like to be better equipped to face whatever comes your way next year (or even this year or this month)? If so, pick a word for your new season! Ask God to show you His plans for you, and hold onto your theme word in faith when challenges come. You will find His words to be pure and true, and your confidence will grow as you cling to His guidance and instruction.

Does this message speak to your heart today? If so, please leave a comment below! 

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jamie-headshotJamie Rohrbaugh is an author, speaker, and Presence seeker whose heart is for the local church. Called to edify, encourage, and equip the Body of Christ, her passion is to see sons and daughters of all ages transformed by the love of Abba Father. Jamie blogs at FromHisPresence.com® about prayer, revival, and the manifest presence of God. She is the author of four books and of numerous articles around the web. Jamie is a grateful member of the Redbud Writers Guild. She and her husband live in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and together they have one cat. Follow her on PinterestFacebook, or Twitter.