My “One Word”: Courage
New year, new word. For the past several years, I’ve adopted “one word” to focus on as a substitute for resolutions. I choose a word to apply across multiple areas of my life. I say “I choose,” but most years I have the distinct sense that the Lord chooses the word for me. Some years, I have confirmation early in December. Other years, it seems as if New Year’s Day dawns before I know for sure.
This year, my one word came early, but I avoided it for several weeks. It made me uncomfortable. Challenged me. Convicted me to strip away the platitudes I might use to describe my faith. Caused me to ask myself if I truly believe what I say I believe.
My word for 2021 is courage.
It wasn’t my first choice. It wasn’t even my fifth choice. But after it appeared again and again, I knew it was my only choice.
I can think of three reasons I might need this word in 2021, and none of them are appealing at the moment.
I might need courage in frightening circumstances. A diagnosis. A loss. A broken relationship. A spiritual battle.
Or I might need courage to move beyond my comfort zone. A challenge to grow in an unexpected area or an opportunity to share my faith in a hostile environment.
Finally, I might need courage to lead others where they are reluctant to go or to grow as I teach, either in Bible studies or in writing.
Regardless of whether I accept my word for the year, the events for which I’ll need courage will still unfold. Either I accept the equipping of my heavenly Father and stand on the promises of His Word, or I face the future in denial while relying on my own limited strength.
Promises to claim
So I will presume to appropriate God’s promise to Joshua:
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9 ESV).
And I will appropriate God’s promise to Israel:
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you” (Isaiah 43:2 ESV).
I will say with the psalmist:
“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14).
And I will remember the words of Jesus to His disciples:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27 ESV).
What will 2021 bring? I don’t have a clue. But as Joni Eareckson Tada once said:
“Faith isn’t the ability to believe long and far into the misty future. It’s simply taking God at His Word and taking the next step.”
Do you adopt “one word” in place of resolutions? Share it in the comments!