My One Word for 2018

Picking “one word” to focus on for the year has been meaningful for me for several years now. Interestingly enough, I find that the words often choose me rather than me choosing them. This is definitely true for my word for 2018.

I began 2017 with the knowledge that I might struggle quite a bit. It’s one of the reasons that I chose to focus on the word “submit”, because I knew that there were some personal challenges that I would need to continue to deal with in my life. Choosing to homeschool our kids was the best decision we could have made, but I was not prepared to lose friendships as a result of that decision, nor was I prepared for the opinions that would be shared also as a result of that decision. It was brutal for me at times, but choosing to submit meant that I needed to let go of my own desire for reconciliation and peace and understanding and instead trust God’s timing and His work and His plan. This was not easy and it’s still not easy, but the process has taught me that I must be more concerned with His will than my own.

Last Fall, I joined a Bible study on 1 John and as we studied John’s words, I was struck by his teaching on “light”, particularly this verse:

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. ~1 John 1:7 ESV

Back in April I had written a series of posts on “Shadow Walking“~ the idea that we should walk so closely to Jesus that we are in his shadow. I loved writing that series, but as I read this verse in 1 John, I started meditating on a different kind of walking- walking in the light.

Walking in the light exposes any darkness that might be in our hearts. It reveals the sin that can so easily entangle. It shows the ugliness inside of us. As I walked through this past year and the difficulties that came my way, I was overwhelmed at times with the sin I saw in my own heart, the anger that spewed out on loved ones, the pride, the selfishness and the laziness that seemed ever present. But I also discovered something else. When I was willing to allow the light to expose these issues, I discovered forgiveness and joy in abundance. I also discovered the veracity of this verse, the beauty of fellowship with others who were also unabashedly seeking to walk in the light.

There is a beauty to be found when we are willing to step out of the dark places and allow Christ’s light to shine on us. Oh, it is painful, so very painful, but it is eventually freeing, because there is no longer any need to hide. We can freely talk about our struggles, because the grace we experience is truly greater than our sin.

As I prayed about my one word for 2018, it jumped out at me; once again the word choosing me instead of me choosing it. LIGHT.

I look forward to what God has to teach me this year as I focus on “light”. We are barely into the new year and there have already been moments where God has confirmed this word in my heart, so I am looking forward to all that he has to teach me.

“Lord, let your light, light of your face, shine on us!”

As we prepared a centerpiece for our New Year’s Eve celebrations, we used twinkle light strands in mason jars and I cut out the numbers for 2018. As I looked at the picture later, I realized that I had inadvertently created an image for my one word for 2018. So I will be using that this year as well as the hashtag “dayelight” on my posts and pictures. It’s not because I want to draw attention to me. Rather it is a desire to point others to the TRUE light, Jesus Christ.

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,  holding fast to the word of life.” Philippians 2:14-16 ESV

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