my one word for 2013

I have had a rocky relationship with the one word for a year movement. For those unfamiliar, it is the notion of selecting a theme for the year ahead, often in lieu of a formal resolution.

Two years ago I was pregnant with OBrother and was looking ahead to a year filled with newborn stuff, two year old stuff, and two boys in diapers. That December as I was on the verge of a panic attack about my insufficiency for the task, God clearly spoke to me about His strength being sufficient, about the joy of the Lord being my strength. I knew that with Him in me, for me, before me, I had all the strength I could possibly need. That was the year I survived two babies in 21 months and ran a half marathon. Strength.

Last year, however, I tried to go it on my own a little bit. It was December 2011, I was coming down off of a great year defined by strength and I thought I could just pick a word that would be something I wanted to work on for myself. I chose “discipline” out of my own desire to lose weight that year and a generally well-intentioned desire to have greater self-control in a few different areas. Except I didn’t stop for a second to ask God what He wanted to work on in my heart, I just chose something that served my own purposes. It fizzled. It didn’t come to mind often and frankly I didn’t have any strong break-through or revelatory moments in regards to discipline. Overall it was meh.

Which would explain why I have sat on my hands these last couple of weeks when friends and fellow bloggers have started the conversations about one word. I hadn’t felt anything clearly put on my heart and mind from God and I didn’t feel like going the solo (and futile) route again. I wanted something not of my own choosing, and as January first came and went, I kind of thought that maybe God and I were just so over this whole one word thing.

Until this morning when He woke me up at 5:10am. Rolling around in my head were the replays of some scenes from the last couple of days. Not my finest moments, let’s just say. I could tell, re-thinking these situations, that my perspective was off. That in those moments,  I had been lacking something. Gratitude, maybe? God, is it gratitude you want to work with me on? Joy? Focus?

I threw out “one words” until I thought maybe I was just making it all up in my tired daze. They all rang hollow.

Sleep. Can sleep be my one word, Lord? No? Darn.

I gave in, got up, and came down stairs. I grabbed a blanket and a few books: my Bible, my gratitude journal, the devotional book Jesus Calling.  I could tell so clearly that He had orchestrated this moment to shake my shoulders and get inside my cluttered head. I wanted it to be a holy moment. I lit a candle and prayed for clarity.

I opened my devotional to today’s date and there, in Jesus Calling jumping out from the pages was my word.


image source

Then I spent the rest of the hour reading different scriptures about peace. Y’all, it is all over. Go in peace, speak in peace, make peace offerings (see: leviticus and numbers), give peace, make covenants of peace, come in peace, seek peace, delight in peace, pray for peace, abide in peace, enter into peace, be overseers of peace, follow the path of peace, peace of the Spirit, preach peace, the peace of Christ is to rule our hearts…

I was especially struck by the fact that so many of the references to peace were active. Peace often seems to involve doing peace.Going, speaking, making, giving, coming… over and over I found that the peace of God was actively being done and sought. This is what I see for my year ahead.

Actively pursing peace during the turmoil, speaking peace through my words, finding peace in His presence, having peace that surpasses understanding, choosing peaceful parenting, bringing peace instead of confusion, having peace instead of anger.

Seek peace and pursue it. Psalm 34:14b

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Let’s chat: Do you have a word for this new year? How did you settle on it?

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28 Responses to “my one word for 2013”

  1. Mo

    I have been searching and searching for something, not officially a one word kind of thing, but something to keep me in line, to keep my heart in the right place. I have been praying over it the past few days, and I was stuck on the word grace. But it wasn’t working, it didn’t fit, and maybe because I picked it, I wanted it to be my word, I wanted to be full of grace, but it wasn’t what He wanted for me. I knew it wasn’t right and I have been feeling so discouraged because I know I need something simple I can repeat to myself over and over in those trying moments. Maybe for me it will be strength, as it is something I could use spiritually and physically, maybe my heart needs peace as well, maybe it is something entirely different that I haven’t heard from Him yet…

    Peace is wonderful, and actively pursuing it and bringing it into your home sounds like a wonderful mission! I wish you and your family blessed year full of peace! Thank you for writing such a beautiful post!

  2. Johanna @ These Prices

    I love this. I thought I wanted my word to be something else (that I chose), but another word kept resurfacing. It barely even makes sense enough for me to blog about it, but it’s my word. (And I can’t even remember what the other one was that I wanted!)

  3. Kelly @ Love Well

    Oh! Oh! Oh! We have to go to lunch. There is so much I love about the word peace.

    My biggest revelation in regard to this particular quality of the Spirit-infused life is: check how many times the word peace is associated with God ruling your life. As in, let the peace of God rule, Jesus is the Prince of peace, etc. So much of active peace (and yes, it’s very active) has to do with letting God rule. Once I started to see that connection, I was floored by how many times those two concepts are found together.

    I love you. Have I said that in 2013?

  4. molly

    Great word! I just wrote about my word today. It is SIMPLIFY. I am excited to see how my theme for the year plays out.

  5. Angee @ October Morning

    My word for 2013 is cherish. I want cherish my family, my friends and show love and kindness to others. Most of all cherish this difficult season of life because I know one day I’ll miss it like crazy.

  6. Heather

    Love this. Thank you for your honesty! Without knowing about it- my husband and I have decided that 2013’s theme will be simplify. This past year has been one of the most difficult in our lives and thankfully God has been faithful to show us how He is working. But we have realized that we let other responsibilities like work and church come before our relationship with Him and with each other. I am so excited to have this fresh start with 2013. And I think that by simplifying- peace will be the result! :) thanks for sharing!

  7. Seth

    Read Isaiah 33:17-18 this morning. Thought it was apropos.
    “And the effect of righteousness will be
    and the result of righteousness,
    quietness and trust forever.
    My people will abide in a peaceful
    in secure dwellings, and in quiet
    resting places.”

  8. Jamie

    God has been teaching me a lot about peace the last few months too. I heard a pastor speak recently and he quoted some scripture that talked about peace being a gift. When I thought about that I realized that means that it is not normal to experience peace. It’s normal to feel anxious, stressed, frustrated, angry. Peace is not normal, and it’s a gift. So whenever I find myself feeling uptight I pray that God would give me his peace, and it has helped so much. Praying that God would give you His peace this year!!!

  9. the Blah Blah Blahger

    That’s a lovely print and I think it will be a great word to use as your guidepost this year. It can be a balm and it can also be a hard task!!! I look forward to seeing how this word unfolds for you this year!!!

  10. Linda in Calif.

    I’m so happy for you that you choose this word. I chose it two years ago – and with the same verse. It’s wonderful to focus on the peace that God gives. What a wonderful God we have!

  11. Nicole

    I so get what you mean about wanting to choose our own word. I am a task-oriented person, and as I looked at some of the things we already know 2013 will hold (God-willing), it seemed to make sense to choose the word “prepare.” “Restore” and “peace” both made an appearance on the list, but today I feel strongly that God’s word is something else:


    Honestly, my first thought was “Crap.” Really, who wants that as their word? But it just confirmed for me how much I need it- the trust and surrender and humility of obedience. I am eager for the transformation.

  12. Dawn S

    Oh this is perfect! We have had a ROUGH year with my 3 1/2 year old in 2012. And the holidays only got worse with the medical and psychological treatments he is undergoing for it all (potty issues started in February 2012…. nothing too seriously scary, just frustrating beyond belief!). My husband and I are at the end of our parenting ropes. We think we see light at the end of the tunnel, only to be dragged back into the darkness of the mess. I have literally spent the past weeks crying out to God, praying aloud as I physically clean up the matters at hand. Asking for Him to fill me overflowing with his Spirit and the fruits therein…. patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control, LOVE…. Oh how my 3 year old needs all of those things as we all wade through this adventure we’re on. Peace is a perfect summation. And oh how I need that for myself, not JUST my family!

    Thank you thank you thank you!

  13. Susannah

    This is so great! It’s true that we can’t force a word onto ourselves. It has to be something the Lord is working on in our lives. My word for the past few years has been Trust. Sometimes I’m embarrased that I come back to the same word time and time again but, with all the disappointment people have caused in my life, trust needs more of the Lord’s work than anything else at this stage of life.

  14. Colleen

    Just wrote about my one word- I said “Abide” for 2013. It feels like rest and work all at once.

    And as a mother of two littles I think sleep can definitely be your word for the year :)

  15. ashley doner

    I love the word peace. Last year I worked on contentment, and in a lot of ways I really felt God grow with me in that. This year I am struggling to think of a word that fits. I’ve been (re)struggling with anxiety again. I kind of want a word that deals with that. Something that deals with being from from the fear, but just don’t know what that one word is yet. Peace is a good one though :) excited to see what this year brings for you.

  16. erinasmommy

    Per usual, wonderul wiriting Allison! I love the word PEACE. I love that you wrote this because just today I was writing out my one word (in a notebook, not blog, boohoo). My one word is DEEPEN. I like that it is a verb, for simple action. Lagging just behind you, I did the two babies in two years thing, and now with my little lady at 16 months I am ready to stop surviving and start thriving. I have a lot of great connections, hobbies, work, joys in my life, but I feel as though I am barely touching them, not really enjoying. I crave depth as opposed to my “just get through the day” mentality of the last three years. Of course I cannot just let is rest with one word. And so it looks like this:

    – knowledge/discovery of self
    – relationships with family & friends
    – bonds with children and spouse
    – commitment to healthy living
    – passions
    – patience

    oxxoxo – erin

  17. Amara

    Thank you. I needed to hear this today…and carry it with me through the year. I never comment – but wanted to say I love what you share – very inspiring and faithful to this first time mom of a 16-month old! :)

  18. Laura

    My story is very much like yours. 2011 had a verse that ran through it from start to finish. 2012 definitely was just a word. And as I came to the end of this past year, I realized that while I managed to “survive” (my word for last year), I was feeling overwhelmed the whole time.

    And then as I prayerfully considered my verse for the year, God laid this one on my heart:

    My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26

  19. Katie Shannon

    I wasn’t sure about this one word thing. I knew for last year it was grace. And just kept wondering if I was going to receive a word and I finally did yesterday. I’m so excited and ready!!

  20. Meagan

    Beautifully written as always Allison. I don’t have a one word and my only resolution is to go to bed at 11PM. So maybe I chose sleep form my word? :) I hope you are active in God’s peace all year long. And I hope I remember this post when I’m feeling restless throughout the year. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  21. Kelly

    One thing a I have learned about Peace is that no one ever “takes” your peace away from you. We make the decision to give our own peace and serenity away in times where we choose to replace it with things like confusion, frustration, anger, etc. No matter the chaos that I may perceive to be in, with the help of God I can always find peace in my heart and therefore my mind. When I perceive that that peace has been “taken” from me, I need not blame anyone but myself. May you have a year full of Love and Peace my dear Allison.

  22. Sarah Hadley

    I love this post! I completely identify with wanting to come up with something meaningful and creative all by my lonesome, and since this was the first year I’d heard of “one word”, I was determined to come up with a good one. All my manufactured ideas fell flat.Then a word kept coming to me – I want to say “out of nowhere”, but I don’t believe in that – and it’s really growing on me. ANCHOR. As in not drifting because I’m anchored in Christ, not being bothered by storms, and I think also considering how I can be an anchor for others and point them to the only true anchor. There aren’t a lot of verses about this, but this one is beautiful: “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf.” (Heb.6:19-20a) Maybe I should get an anchor tattoo? ;)


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