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just one word

2015 is about to roll into 2016.

I must admit, I rail against New Years Resolutions. Maybe it would be more honest to say I FAIL at New Years Resolutions. So I quit making them awhile ago. I mean a-while-ago. Partly because of the fail, yes, but also because I am a rebel at heart. (I know, that’s not really cool, but it’s the truth – I rebel at stuff in the “but everyone else is doing it” category. Maybe it’s a carry over from that jumping off the cliff thing from my teenage years.)

To all of you who make them and keep them, kudos!

To the ones like me who try and fail, or quit trying altogether, I get you.

This year, though, in spite of the rebel in me, I am going to take the bait and choose just one word. Just one word to remember and carry with me throughout 2016.

I had to really, really, REALLY think about this. First, to get past the hurdle of doing it at all. But then, what to choose? There are so many good ones to pick from. So I’ve been pondering as I’m reading through the Bible and a couple of books (one being The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer … if you haven’t read it, stop reading this post and get it. I mean it.) and this one theme keeps smacking me right in the places that make me sit up and take notice – my heart, my head, even my gut.

Everywhere I look, I keep finding passages and chapters and sentences and paragraphs about this one word:


I want this word, this action, this state of mind to be the cry of my heart and the motivation for my thoughts and behavior and, well, just life this year.

The question is, then, obedience to what? Or who? It could be obedience to the law, to my boss (if I had one that is), to my desires, to my hopes and dreams. To the restrictions imposed on me because of all the frustrating health issues I’ve been dealing with. To my doctors. To my husband. And so on.

And while some of these are totally legit things to obey, they are not the targets of the obedience I believe I am being called to by choosing this one word to live by, to hopefully define me, as I move into the new year.

This obedience is to a specific Someone, not a something or an anyone who lives on the same earth and breathes the same air that I do.

It is to the God of the universe. The one who is forging a path for me. The one who is the lifter of my head, the one who is strongest when I am weak, the only one who is righteous and good and holy. The only one that has saved me for eternity and continues to save me from myself

I want to trust fully, have faith that transcends circumstances. I want to learn to be grateful and thankful and to be willing to take that solitary fork in the road knowing that he is going before me and that even though my destination is unclear, unknown, and scary I want to remember that he lights that path just enough to keep taking the next step. In obedience.

Sure I could list all the rules and regulations that I should follow to accomplish this obeying, but I don’t think it’s about rules. I think it’s about listening. And it’s about my attitude. And it’s about where I’m looking for the path of my life. I can forge ahead on my own and it might even take me quite a ways but in the end, if it’s not the path he’s created me to follow it will be a dead end. I want to remember those fruitless journeys, yet I also want to forget them because my memory distorts the reality.

It’s this:

“Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past.

Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it?

I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.”

(Isaiah 43;18-19)

To be aware, I must believe that this is true. I must obey to believe. I must listen to be aware. I must obey to be aware.

I want that word to be a verb. I want to watch for the something new, to recognize it when it comes, to hear his still small voice and choose to obey even when it doesn’t make sense and the path seems dark and the destination could be scary.

So yes, my word for this year will be obedience. And no, I don’t really know what that will look like. But I’m promised that obedience leads to thanksgiving, and how could I not want that? I want my days to be framed by a visibly thankful, grateful life, and I believe that focusing on obedience is my first step.

Are you willing to choose a word, just one word, to occupy your thoughts and lead you through the next year? I’d love to know what it is, and how it could impact your life. Will you share with me and the other faithful readers?

Happy New Year, my friends!


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  1. Jan Jan

    This is the word for me! I love Isaiah 43 (I have it visible in 3 places around my house). I am so excited to have discovered your blog! This is exactly what I needed to hear today. Blessings to you.

    • Angie Clayton Angie Clayton

      So Jan we can check in on each other and see what that new path is looking like for us then! Thanks for your encouraging words.

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