A few years ago, a friend told me he prays and chooses a word for the year each January first. This would be the focal point of his year. One year he chose the word, “Yes” and resolved to obey God in every calling regardless of the situation. What a year he had as God led him in all sorts of directions and accomplished incredible miracles through him!
Since then, I have encountered others who have followed this plan and have also seen God work, though perhaps not to the extent that my friend did. My son chooses a word and spends the year studying all of its applications in scripture. He immerses himself in his word by placing posters, signs and reminders in places he frequents. I have adopted this practice as well.
My word for this year is “walk.” In a humorous way, it is looking forward to my knee replacement surgery in February. In a more spiritual sense it encompasses many facets of my relationship with Jesus. The Bible tells me to walk in the light as He is in the light. Darkness is sin and separation from God. Light is truth, knowledge, understanding, wisdom. When I step from darkness to light, I enter His presence and begin the process of transformation into the person God wants me to be, as He gently exposes the things that are holding me hostage.
I believe God wants me to move forward—not back-up to my past or stand still stuck, but to keep pressing on. I also see that God wants me to walk with Him, not running ahead of Him to pursue my own interests. There are so many diversions, so many bunny trails that beckon, but I am learning that it is only when I walk with God that I can move purposefully without spinning wheels. When I walk with Him, He leads, guides, directs and protects. He opens doors so I can walk through them and closes some so I walk in a different direction. He removes obstacles or helps me navigate them. When the going gets tough, He even carries me. But I am moving forward, advancing, striving to do His kingdom work in the way that He has chosen for me.
Another directive for walking in God’s kingdom is to “walk by faith, not by sight.” I don’t like to be blindfolded and stumble, bumping into things and not seeing what is ahead. That is precisely the way God wants me to walk—a step at a time, stepping out in faith and trust without doubt, listening carefully to God’s directions and holding tightly to His hand. God has the plan worked out. All I need to do is follow. "The Lord will go before me, the God of Israel is my rear guard." (Isaiah 52:12)
My year begins a journey. I have no idea where this walk is going, whom I will meet or what I will encounter. This is scary, but also exciting. As I remind myself of God’s incomparable love for me, His goodness and mercy, I am confident He has His best in mind. This is my year’s verse:
“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” (Isaiah 30:21)