Once again, the calendar flipped a couple of days ago. We said, “so long, farewell”, to 2017 and now have our feet firmly planted in the new year. Well, maybe not firmly planted for some of us. Yours truly for one. The end of the year for my clan was unnerving and unsettling for countless personal reasons. Just think familial discord at its finest. Somehow the devil found his way into the Christmas trimmings and holiday cheer leading up to the birth of our Savior. Not.pretty. In fact, quite awful if I’m honest. My legs are still a bit Bambi-like.

The truth is, behind the picture-perfect photos we proudly display to the world, life is ugly at times. Rarely do we speak with authenticity about our mess for fear of looking, Creator forbid, human.  But sometimes, if we’re lucky, the one word we pick for the year will remind us that we are indeed mortal.  Hence my word for 2017–humility–having it’s way with my skin and bones until the bitter end. The universe called on me to live out the virtue until the ball dropped in Times Square. (I was asleep by 10 pm, so at least until then) Although I failed miserably these past few weeks, today I choose to move upward and onward. Love is powerful that way.

How about you? Do you follow the practice of choosing one word each year to focus on, grow in, embrace? Or do you set your face like flint and adhere to new resolutions?

I began the #oneword practice a few years back and my experience has been rewarding, albeit a tad in-your-face at times. The phrase be careful what you wish for comes to mind. When choosing humility last year, I was naive to how often God would allow me to practice such a state of being. I also didn’t anticipate the millions of times I’d be, eh em, humbled in the process. Fr. Richard Rohr asks God everyday to give him one great humility; a dangerous and brave request. Let’s just say I didn’t verbalize such a prayer in 2017, but the fruits of the unspoken petition certainly ripened in my world. God the gardener.

Have you noticed that choosing one word to embrace seems to work out better than committing to resolutions? For me, all past attempts to make lasting changes ended before they began. Mostly because I’d forget what I resolved to do. Think, olderish age.  But, focusing on one word and letting it sink into our heart allows us to put the word to work and to experience the word working on our behalf in everyday life

God must be very fond of the #oneword gig because He has an uncanny way of pixie dusting our word into songs, books, devotions, conversations, road signs when we least expect. He uses any medium necessary to help us stay aware and alert if we keep our heart open to the process. This means the #oneword practice becomes a gift that keeps on giving well beyond forgotten or failed resolutions.

And if God can’t get our attention, another way to keep our one word in the forefront is to physically place it somewhere prominent. As part of my practice, I Photoshop my word across the bottom of a family picture that I set as my lock screen on my iPhone. Doing this ensures an opportunity to see a reminder every time I pick up the phone. If you choose to do something similar, I assure you God’s timing will be perfect for you to see your word precisely when you need a kick in the bum. He’s generous that way.

So, if you partake in the #oneword parade, what word did you choose for 2018? Are you still contemplating? If you are struggling to define what’s best for you, I’d like to offer you a link to a great resource from Margaret Feinberg. She helps the process along. Click here for access to her free download.

My word for 2018 is allowing. The word jumped off a page at me a week ago and the whispers spoke from within. Allowing means many things, and for me it bends towards ‘letting go.’ Such an action screams for more air time in my world. I shudder to think where God will pry off my white knuckled fingers and ask me to Trust everything that comes my way.

But, alas, I will allow because, as @ByronKatie says, “When you argue with reality, you lose—but only 100% of the time.”

Translation: letting go and allowing God to do His thing, in His timing, through you according to His will, means you win—always 100% of the time. And I’m all about 100% when related to God.

How about you? What one word can heal, transform, inspire, engage, move you forward in 2018?

You have my heart and my prayers as we head into unchartered territory. Whatever your #oneword is, let me know in the comments and I’ll petition you forward. And I humbly ask for prayers from you as well. Prayers for a spirit of allowing to settle into my bones one letting go and acceptance at a time.

Happy New Year, crazy Mommas!




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Shelby is a self-described “sappy soul whisperer and sarcasm aficionado” who has a deep love for Jesus and storytelling. She is a wife of 28 years and a momma of three 20-something kiddos. As a freelance writer and author, you can find her words in the national publication, Guideposts, and all over the web at places like Her View From Home, Today, Parenting Teens & Tweens, Love What Matters, Scary Mommy, and others. Shelby also has a new online mothering course called, Mindful Mothering: When You Change the Way You Look at Things, the Things You Look at Change, and she blogs over at shelbyspear.com.