I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. I used to be, until failure overwhelmed me. I’d make a list, check it twice, swear not to be naughty and be really nice, but by January 9th my plans would go up in flames and I’d end up in a heap of sackcloth and ashes. I’m a lackadaisical person who wants to check things off a list, a person with good intentions and terrible execution. I love the fresh start that a new year, a new week, or a new day provides, but a list of ordinances stirs up the rebel in me and rules will not keep me away from the pantry or the remote.
Enter the #MyOneWord or #OneWord365 challenge. You pick one word that serves as a your true north for the year. No detailed lists of do’s and don’ts, no minutia to monitor, just one word to keep you on course.
If you’d like to try this, google, “one word challenge” and you’ll find a plethora of resources to help you find your word. Better yet, sit quietly with a blank piece of paper and ask yourself – better yet – ask God, what your word should be. One will come to mind fairly quickly. Likely you’ll hate it, because who wants to change? You’ll spend days or a week trying to come up with something better, something different, and maybe you will, but probably your first instinct is the right one.
My word for the year is (w)holiness, which I made up because there wasn’t a word in the entire english language that suited me. Hey, if it’s okay for Theodor Seuss Geisel it’s okay for me (and you). My word is a combination of wholeness + holiness and here’s how I arrived at it.
First, I considered what kind of person I wanted to be in 2017. The first word that popped into my head was thin, which is true, and also all kinds of bullshit. Because if I wanted to be thin, wouldn’t I be? And what is “thin” anyway? And how thin is thin enough? Because size 16 me would be pretty happy with size 12 me but size 12 me wants to be size 8 me.
This is a battle of the mind that I’ve struggled with my entire freaking life and I am so tired of it. Thin is not what I want. What I want is to eat the bread and drink the wine with joy and without condemnation. What I want is to be at peace with my pants, whatever their size, and not let the mirror determine my worth or my mood.
I want shalom. People typically think of shalom as peace, but the Hebrew idea of it is so much more – peace, yes, but also harmony, tranquility, prosperity, and wholeness.
I want shalom in my life, wholeness, not just with my body, but in my mind, my will, my emotions, my relationships and in my soul. I thought my word might be shalom, or wholeness, and I sat on those words for a while, but I felt like there was something missing, something more that I wanted out of the next year.
So then I asked myself, what is it that I desire more of in 2017? And the first word that popped into my head was sacredness. I’m craving more of the divine in my life, more revelation and faith, more of the prophetic, more sabbath and more holiness – not the sanctimonious kind, but the pure, the good, the it-is-well-with-my-soul kind of holiness.
So I Suessed my own word because wholeness by itself seemed like it would be all about me and holiness by itself didn’t address the physical and emotional shalom. When I told a friend my word she asked if I would always spell it with the parenthetic ‘w’ and I said yes, because I don’t want people to think I don’t know how to spell holiness. Caring less about what people think about me and embracing my authentic, healthy, Holy Spirit filled self is what I want out of 2017. It’s what (w)holiness means to me.
Funny thing about the word shalom – it interchangeably means hello and goodbye. Perhaps a good way to think about your word for next year is to ask yourself what you would like to say hello and goodbye to in 2017. If you do take up this challenge, I’d love to hear what word you picked!