Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington
Embrace One Word

Embrace One Word


It’s that time again—when people resolve to improve in the face of a new year unfolding before them. Problem is, I have yet to make a New Year’s resolution and keep it for the year. Sometimes I don’t even make it to January 31. Sigh.

Anyone else relate?

Year after year, vowing to try harder. Be better. Work smarter. Seeing slight improvements on occasion, but falling short of the goal. What often followed was a sense of defeat long before December 31.

Ten years ago, a friend introduced me to the practice of choosing one word for the new year. A word to be applied to every area of life throughout the coming twelve months.

My “one word” for each of the past nine years includes:

  • Release
  • Joy
  • Hope
  • Gratitude
  • Trust
  • Attentive
  • Courage
  • Wait
  • and Present (as in, “live in the present moment”).

This focus has helped me grow spiritually and emotionally as I ask the Lord to keep me aware of the chosen word throughout each day of the year. Reminders scattered around the house are a huge help. Rather than follow a list of resolved dos and don’ts, I seek to apply the word in whatever current circumstances I find myself. The situation might involve other people, interruptions, or unplanned activities.

Each year I develop a better perspective related to the word I believe the Lord chooses for me. How do I know it came from the Lord? The answer is easy. Every “one word” has been a word that takes me outside my comfort zone—a word that stretches me emotionally or spiritually. And that includes my word for 2024.

A New Word

This year, my word is embrace. My natural tendency is to play it safe. To follow the same patterns and plans. But this year I’m being challenged to embrace new things. New friendships. New activities. Challenged to step forward into the “new” with eagerness instead of reluctance.

I’m looking forward to what 2024 will bring. But I confess to being a bit nervous about what I’ll be called to embrace. I’ll keep you posted.

If you practice focusing on one word for the new year, share your word in the comments!

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1 Comment

  1. Christine Rhyner

    My word for the year is “belief.” I ask of the Lord daily, “Father, please remove from me every shred of unbelief I carry in my heart, Let me unwaveringly believe Your promises and who you say I am in You.

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