Choosing One Word To Guide You Through 2019

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Good-bye 2018! It’s time to celebrate, we all made it. For some of you reading this, the year was smooth sailings, for others it was bumpy roads. Whichever path the year took for you, don’t forget to stop and give thanks to God that you are where you’re at today. Even if you are feeling angry, scared, or hopeless, trust that you being alive means there is the opportunity to move forward knowing circumstances can change for the better. Maybe not right away, but at some point in the future.

If you had an amazing year, a good year, a great year, be thankful to God and those who helped you out. What I wrote to those who had a less than stellar year applies to you as well. Circumstances can change, so cherish the good moments, keep those you love close, take care of yourself, and be kind to those you cross paths with.

Several years ago I gave up on making new years resolutions. I made the switch to choosing one word to focus on instead of trying to remember the long list of resolutions that were created with good intentions and wishful thinking.

Choosing one word to help guide you through the year is much more manageable and meaningful than a resolution made during winter holidays when you are in a good mood, upbeat, and unrealistic.

Ray Lopez reminds us, “With the end of 2018 just days away, you want to know that your one word for next year is going to keep you focused, be transformative, and act as a compass throughout 2019. You want to know the word will work, that it will be just the thing you need to remind you of what you want your life to look like.”

Before you begin to work on choosing your one word for 2019, keep in mind what Lopez says about self-knowledge, “It’s hard to distill our goals into one word if we don’t understand ourselves… I mean really know ourselves. Self-awareness isn’t usually easy, and it can expose things about ourselves that may be difficult to embrace. But unless we have a sense of what motivates us and how past events affect present choices, it’s difficult to understand how to move forward.

Some Questions to Ask and Define Yourself

What is your name? ( Seems like a silly question, but I start with this one as a way to clearly remind people that this is about you and no one else. We aren’t here to change and develop others, only our self.)

In one sentence, who are you?

In your own life, what is worth the struggle/pain/sweat equity?

What do you avoid in life?

List some things you often take for granted?

What’s something that you used to fear, but no longer do?

What are things you look forward to?

What have you been telling yourself lately? Is this something you need to keep telling yourself or should you stop? If you stop telling yourself this, is there something else you could be telling yourself instead?

What are some of the hard things that you know you have to do in 2019? What are some hard/challenging things that would be beneficial for you to do in 2019?

Are there things or persons you are worried about as you enter the new year?

Are you intentional with you time? If not, what are some ways you can become more intentional with your time and as a result, more intentional with your life?

What are some things and persons/groups you need to say “yes” to this year? What are some things you need to say “no” to?

Do you… ?

Love yourself

Respect yourself

Take care of yourself

Put yourself first (not to be confused with being selfish)

Your One Word is something that you will be cultivating throughout 2019. You’ll grow into your word as you live it, reflect on it, and learn from it.

Write or type out a bunch of different words (writing is better and don’t worry about spelling).  These words are characteristics you might want to work on or develop, words that will help or encourage you to reach a specific goal, or a word associated with whatever God has laid on your heart and you have yet to discover why. Remember this word is going to be a part of your life for most or all of the year.

Choosing a word doesn’t need to be stressful. It may not come to you in one sitting, it might take days or weeks, there is no urgency. This exercise is meant to empower you instead of discouraging you.

Review your list and circle some of the words or themes that stood out for you. Do any of these words and themes seem connected to any current or upcoming goals, projects, circumstances, or major events in your life? Narrow down your list by focusing on these words and themes.

Reflect and pray over your list. Ask for wisdom in choosing your word based only on you and your own life. No one else gets to select your word, you are the only one living your life. This is also the reason it is important to not consult others for help in choosing your One Word; the only one you need to consult with is God, he’s got your back.

 

One Word Resources at Other Websites

One Word 365 Choosing Your One Word

My One Word

Elizabeth Steere on Choosing her One Word

Book Journey My One Word for 2019

 

 

 

 

Life Lessons Learned from Indoor Gardening Failures

Gardens are beautiful. I’m fortunate to live in a neighbourhood where people spend a lot of time and money on vegetable and flower gardens, and landscaping.

This year I decided I wanted to decorate my place with some small, easy to care indoor plants. I did my homework by going online and finding a list of the easiest indoor greenery to care for. I read all the lists, followed all the instructions and then it happened, half my plants nearly died.

I had imagined my sofa table filled with a colourful assortment of flowering plants that would require minimal care and never die. Between inquiring of Google and asking seasoned gardeners I learned why those plants were dying and I was failing; I was handling flowering plants the way I sometimes handle life.

Hawaii Greens
Somewhere in Hawaii 

Impatience: Gardening requires patience. To begin, you seed, water, fertilize, repeat as needed. I wasn’t interested in that, instead I went to the store and purchased plants that were ready to go. The downside to this is that my impatience meant I wasn’t able to get the exact plants I wanted. Had I been patient, I would have taken the time to start with seeds and follow the process of tend and wait, watch it grow!

Ask yourself: In life, when you are patient, you are more likely to get the things you want. Being in a rush and taking whatever you can get instantly means settling for second best if you’re lucky. Are you willing to put in the time, discipline, and effort to get what you want?

Miniature Japanese Zen Garden
Someone’s miniature Japanese zen garden, unfortunately not mine 😦

Over caring and worrying: Water is life and death. I my case, water became a near death experience for the plants. I sometimes anxiously watered the plants every second day. I checked on the plants every day to make sure they were alright, as if they were inpatients. Eventually two of my plants started to develop curling leaves. I later learned that this is caused by overwatering. The remedy for this problem was to not water them for two weeks. It wasn’t easy switching from overwatering and over caring to practically leaving the plants alone to repair itself naturally. With time, and without me messing with it, both plants came back to life and flourished, growing taller than ever.

Ask Yourself: Am I willing to follow the process whatever it might involve or are you going to want to do things your own way?  When you are a beginner it’s important to listen to those with much more experience and knowledge. When you don’t, things are likely to go wrong.

Buying Too Much and Spending Too Much Money: I set a budget for how much I would spend buying flowers and succulents. What I didn’t account for is that some of these plants would grow and need to be placed in larger pots. I also didn’t consider how much it would all add up to for different types of soil, tools, fertilizers, planters and plant pots. When the costs became more than I was wiling to spend, I decided to say goodbye to some of my plants. They were requiring time I didn’t have, and money I didn’t care to spend.

In the past my hobbies cost me a lot of money. I made the decision a couple of years ago not to engage in hobbies or interests that would require me to spend more than a certain amount of money per month.

Ask yourself: When considering taking up a new hobby, consider the cost; is it affordable for you and it is a good investment of your money, energy, and time?
Starting new hobbies are great, there is nothing wrong with trying new things in life, however, it’s best to prepare before hand when necessary. I don’t want to be a negative Nancy, my hope for you is that your new hobby is a pleasant experience instead of one filled with unnecessary surprises and stress. Don’t forget, hobbies are meant to bring happiness and fulfillment to a person’s life.

 

Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Job 12: 7-10 “But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.”

 

 

When Your Church Shames and Silences Others

Source: Belfast

If you watch and read the news you’ll notice that allegations of sexual harassment and bullying in the workplace and the church hasn’t died down. This is not a surprise. As long as there is continued and growing support for people who come forward with their experiences the issue won’t disappear from media outlets any time soon.

Whether or not allegations become known to the public, there are people who bravely come forward and share their stories and the experience of not being listened to, not being respected, and not being supported.

If you call yourself a Christian, I believe it is important to know that God does not support harassment of any kind. Don’t believe me? Then don’t take my word for it, take God’s word for it.

When people come forward, remember that you are not a public relations agent. It’s not a time to worry about the reputation of the accused or your church. As a church community and especially as members, it is important to support administrative processes within the church that take allegations seriously. It shouldn’t matter who you believe or whose side you are on; every church needs to have policies and procedures in place where the accused and the accuser are both listened to fairly, and people with a bias are not allowed to be part of the investigation.

When people have been harassed or assaulted, the last persons they want to have to meet with is a team of  board members, that may or may not consist entirely of men, and have to beg and plead to not only be believed, but listened to and taken seriously.

I’m disappointed when I encounter women who don’t think it is important for churches to have policies and procedures in place that prevent church staff from being in situations where harassment can occur in the first place.  We live in a society where words are meaningless, expectations must be placed in writing and made clear to everyone. It’s not enough to trust that someone is a “good” person or a “godly” man. 

It’s not enough to quietly transfer the troublesome staff member to another department or church, or pay hush money to the accuser (this prevents the victim from being able to share his or her story and allows the accused to not be held accountable).

Jesus cares about people who have been sexually harassed and bullied within a community that claims to be his followers. Jesus is a healer and he wants to see victims healed in his name. It’s important for us to boldly let the board members and elders at our places of worship know that as followers of Jesus we won’t accept the dismissive attitudes and actions of leaders and church attenders who don’t believe in the importance of holding harassers and bullies accountable to their victims and the church community.

Ask yourself these following questions:

Does my church have respectful and justice oriented polices and procedures in place that help to prevent sexual harassment and bullying? Are there policies that specifically address sexual harassment and bullying?

What is the process for making a complaint against a staff member?Does it protect the accuser from being slandered and shamed, are co-staff and witnesses protected from retaliation?

How does my church currently handle friction and controversy?

Are there any women elders or board members? Do they come from diverse backgrounds (age, class, income, educational background, etc.)?

Has my church ever paid anyone hush money? Was this recorded in the church finances, were church members informed of this decision?

These are just a few questions to ask yourself about how your church handles the serious topic of harassment.

The following are some articles that provide some important, but sad examples of what happens when churches support harassment by church staff members:

What He Thinks About What Happened At Willow Creek

John Ortberg and His Observations on the Topic

Vonda Dyer. Believe Her.

 

Those Troublesome Apologies

Over the past couple weeks we witnessed a well-known celebrity make terrible attempts to “apologise” for something she had written towards a another woman on social media. This celebrity had become comfortable over the past few decades with making degrading comments that were sexist (towards men and women), racist, anti-Jewish, anti-Islamic, and anti-Christian. She also had a habit of posting fake news about political issues she didn’t support and trash talking about Americans who were working hard to survive in a currently hostile America. No one was guaranteed to be spared from her malignant comments in the media. Eventually someone with the power to make this woman pay expensive and creative consequences for her actions did so.

I’ll refer to this celebrity as Mean Marri. When Mean Marri realized her consequences were real and costly she did what so many do when they can’t accept that they have done something truly wrong to another person. Marri gave a weak and insincere apology and when she saw that it wasn’t working she became angrier and defense. She then moved on to making up ridiculous and impossible reasons for why she had written such a mean post about another woman.

Reading over Marri’s supporters comments about the incident, I realised there are people who don’t know what is involved in an apology. I found Marri’s post to be stomach turning and her response to the backlash left myself and others further upset with her. If your apology is not sincere or you don’t believe you have something to apologise for, then please, in the name of integrity, don’t apologise. A fake meaningless apology only adds fuel to the fire and is insultive to the person(s) you are “apologising” to. It means you think the offended is foolish enough to believe you.

God has not called us to make false apologies. We are always welcomed to come before him with the truth about our wrongs, “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me” (Psalm 51:3); he already knows in advance what we have done. Once we have come before God we can approach another with a sincere apology and desire to repair what has been broken. This can be done only if contact will not cause emotional or physical harm or be a threat to people’s safety.

Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” James 5:16

The beauty of the relationship between an apology and forgiveness is the emotional healing that takes place either individually or between all parities involved. God is a healer, he offers us grace and forgiveness so that we in turn can apologise to those we have hurt and those who have been hurt can forgive us.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Apologises aren’t there for the purpose of saving one’s reputation, peacemaking, keeping one’s job, avoiding a lawsuit, gaining a personal advantage, or for any selfish motives. Apologies are spiritual, and they are there to humble us, help us grow, bring about self-awareness, and draw us closer to God and people.

If you have wronged another person or have been accused of wronging someone and are having a difficult time apologising, bring the situation to God. He will reveal to you what you have done wrong and if you are open to his spiritual correction you can work towards rectifying the situation in a healthy manner.


Not everyone knows what is involved in an apology and why apologies are important in a civil society. Here are some links below to articles and videos that can help you with offering or accepting an apology (Click the titles):

How To Apologize: Asking for Forgiveness Gracefully

How To Apologize: The 7 Steps of a Sincere Apology

How To Apologize: 5 Elements of a Successful I’m Sorry

 

 

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