New Year, One Word: Ephphatha


Christmas if finally over (but not if you’re Orthodox). I couldn’t be happier! As much as I like Christmas, I often spend the season in a hectic, frenzied state of busyness. Boxing Day (December 26) is a day of relief for me, I wake up internally screaming “I made it through the holidays!”.

The countdown is on to the new year and for me that means choosing a new “word” and bible verse to carry me through 2017. This year I’ve chosen the word Ephphatha from Mark 7:34. It is an Aramaic word meaning “be opened”. The entire story surrounding this word can be found in Mark 7:31-37.

2016’s word was grace. I learned a lot about this verb during the year and it saved me from engaging in too much bitterness, anger, impatience, and negative thoughts. I certainly wasn’t a perfect example of grace, but having this word continuously on my heart and mind brought me closer to God and helped me engage in mindfulness. This one word allowed me to question why I was feeling the way I did, taking moments to pause and act in grace towards people who angered or frustrated me. It helped me on more than one occasion to accept the doors that were closed to me in the present and in the past as gifts from God and He continued to steer me towards my calling and my personal goals.

I learned about the word Ephphatha from a Catholic retreat centre close to where I live. I wondered why a retreat centre would have such a difficult name for their ministry, but I also believed that if they chose such a difficult name, there had to be a significant reason behind it. After reading the story in Mark 7, I knew this was going to be my One Word for 2017.

Be opened. I don’t know what that word meant for the man in the gospel story other than him being able to hear and speak and I don’t know what it will mean for me during this upcoming year. What I do know is that being opened to what God has to say is frightening for me. I’m the type of person who always wants to know what is ahead, what is going to happen, and exactly how it is going to happen. Without all this information I wallow in fear and make every effort to control whatever I can in my environment.

If you haven’t heard of One Word or the concept of choosing one word to guide you through the year, I highly recommend you check out the websites below and consider praying to God to give you a guiding word and verse for the year.


The end of the year is a great time to do some self-inventory and reflection to see where you are at in various areas of your life: spiritual, financial, self-care, work/career, family, friendships, and relationships. It’s all too easy to reach the end of yet another year without having intentional growth, meaningful experiences, and fulfilled goals.

Here are a few online resources if you’d like to live intentionally during 2017:

My OneWord

One WOrd365

Get Busy Living -Your Year in Review

New Year for a New You: 7 Days of Reflection and Renew

Level 10 Life and Level 10 Goals

Goal Setting for Christians – How to Spark your New Year Goals