Busy-ness, God, One Word, Uncategorized

One Word: Starting the New Year Well

Breathe Bracelet

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Last fall, as life’s stresses kept me in an adrenaline-running mode, I found myself breathing shallow breaths rather than replenishing my lungs and my body with deep breaths. At times, my breathing was shallow enough that I hardly inhaled any air, much less filled my lungs to capacity.

I breathed in shallow breaths spiritually as well. I gave the little I had to the Lord in my daily quiet times. I received what I could from Him. But it was hindered, limited by stress.

As I read and meditated on the Word, my thoughts were distracted by tasks demanding attention. Or the arguments I’d had with one or both boys that morning.

Big Island waves

Somehow, instead of trusting the Lord to accomplish all the to-do’s on my list, I shifted to relying on myself. Instead of leaving my times with the Lord refreshed, it became something I marked off my daily list. I was depleted physically and spiritually.

Waves wash onto shore

I forgot how to breathe deeply of the air around me, and of God’s surrounding grace. 

In October, I began to pray about my One Word to focus on in 2015. I sifted through various words as I waited for direction. In December, the word that kept impressing itself onto my heart was BREATHE.

Breathe Bracelet close up pc copy

To really breathe . . . the air around me, the ever-near presence of my Father.

I don’t know all that the Lord has for me to learn and to live out regarding this word. I do know He wants me to slow down, to learn to savor the relationships in my life, the beauty He’s placed around me. And most of all, His presence.

Hoarfrost on pine

Rather than multi-tasking and trying to accomplish more than is humanly- or at least Jeanne-possible, He wants me to work on breathing in each moment, even if that means crossing fewer items off my to-do list.

Quiet Stream

I sense I’m going to re-learn how to organize my days and my life so I’m not pushed from one task into the next. Instead, I’ll be preparing ahead of time so I’m open to changes God may make in my daily schedule. I’ll focus on the priorities God’s placed on my heart and allow some of the tyranny of the urgent to slip by the wayside.

I’m certain God has other lessons and new life patterns for me to begin living.

Wintry sun thru trees

I’m anticipating all He has to teach me this year about this one word.

My focus verse is: Psalm 27:14 (NKJV) ~ “Wait on the Lord. Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!”

Psalm 2714 quote on sunset copy

As I wait on the Lord, I will choose to breathe deeply and to trust Him in every moment of this year.

What about you? Are you focusing on one word for this year? If so, what is it? How do you re-start at the beginning of a new year? How do you breathe in the stressful seasons in your life?

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19 thoughts on “One Word: Starting the New Year Well”

  1. This is so beautiful. Your photos and words. I couldn’t agree more with the word you have chosen. That was my word this past year and will continue to be something I must remind myself to do… Simply breathe and wait for

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    1. … His strength to carry me through. Sorry for publishing that before I was done. Anyhow, thank you for a beautiful post! Blessings this new year.

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    2. Thanks so much for your kind words, and for stopping by. 🙂 I am already feeling refreshed as I purpose to begin this year differently…breathing more deeply physically and spiritually. I suspect it will be something I have to remind myself of as well, even beyond this year.

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  2. Breathe sounds like a good word, and it reminds me of the Faith Hill song (and in your picture, you look a bit like her).

    I don’t really think about breathing when it’s stressful – I try to do what’s necessary in the moment, and then move on to the next thing. I do try to keep in mind that every situation will eventually pass – bot the good ones, and the bad. It can be almost easier to become attached to the bad ones, as they lend something of a sense of drama (and even martyrdom) to life.

    As I write this it is with one hand – my left hand was trashed yesterday in a fight in which I had to intervene. The intervention was successful, and the combatants were made to realize the error of their ways,but I may need to snip off the left pinkie at some point. It’s a mess. Also can’t put much weight on my right leg. (Yes, I do know how to do a field expedient amputation, which is good as I don’t have insurance.)

    Stressful? Sort of, but it’s just part of life. You do what you have to do, and since i would do exactly the same thing again, under the same circumstances…I don;t really have the right to complain about the discomfort, do I?

    The stress was my choice, and knowing that makes it somehow more approachable.

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    1. I didn’t used to think about breathing through the stressful times, but this past fall, I realized I wasn’t drawing in much air. Not a good way to live out each day. So, I became more aware of breathing in the stressful times. And you’re right, it can be easier to hold onto the bad moments because it can draw sympathy (or pity–ew). I tend not to want to draw attention to myself. So, I don’t always share the bad moments in life. But, sometimes in not sharing, I miss out on the blessing of others coming alongside me in prayer or helps. There’s a balance, I think.

      I’ll be praying as you mend from your intervention. I’m sorry you were hurt.

      I’ll have to listen to the Faith Hill song. Thanks for mentioning it. 🙂

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    2. Andrew, I’ll be praying for your healing; you know the Scripture where God says He’s doing a new thing? Well I believe this is the year we will see rivers in the desert etc~ more miracles and I’m claiming one for you! You are blessing in your sharing! Thanks Andrew!

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  3. I love the image of breathing in God and then as we exhale others may see him through us.

    Thanks for sharing, Jeanne.

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  4. I have always held on to the word breathe since I learned that the Hebrew word for breathe and spirit are the same — I can never spell it — ruah. Imagine breathing in the Holy Spirit each time we breathe. This was a beautiful post, and I love the photo of the sun shining through the branches of the pine tree.
    (My word for the year is content.)

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    1. I love your word for the year! Rush….I’ve heard that. The other word that reminds me of this is Aloha. I’m looking forward to studying more about what words mean that relate to BREATHE. 🙂

      I always appreciate your additions to the conversations here. Thanks so much for stopping by.

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  5. What a perfect word to help slow down. I understand trying to get too much done. Ugh. It’s so draining. My word this year is Victory. I don’t know why, but prayer led me to it, and I’m thankful!

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    1. Jill, what a great word! I hope I get to hear some of what you learn and begin living out with your word this year. Yes, I believe the Lord intends for me to learn how to live a slower lifestyle this year. With “the unforced rhythms of grace,” as it’s written somewhere. 🙂

      I’m so glad you stopped by today!

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    1. Be still….I prayed about using Psalm 46:10 as my focus verse for the year. I agree with you, Lisa. Breathing and being still can walk hand in hand together. 🙂 So glad you stopped by my friend.

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  6. My scripture for the year is; Ephesians 4:30 (MSG) Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted.

    It is a new light in my spirit, and light is my word for the year. 🙂

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  7. My daughter the photographer novelist! Breathe ~ a good word necessary for life. The lack shows when life is nonexistent. Breathe in the atmosphere of God and stay alive!! Yes! Love you! memom

    PS When we get together can we talk about Hawaii?

    >

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    1. You’re right, Mom. When there is no breath, there is no life. I don’t want to get there, especially spiritually. Great thought! As I have gathered synonyms and antonyms for this word, dead is one of them. 🙂 Have a great weekend!

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  8. Love, love, love your word, Jeanne. Breathe is a good one and so necessary, right? So spot on – we forget to breathe deep and take in all that God has for us. Instead we rush through, check off to-do’s and run right past Him. Been there, friend. Can’t wait to read the words He gives you in those quiet moments when you breath Him in. Blessings!

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Tiffany. And yes, my hope for this year is to really learn how not to rush right past God in my days. 🙂 I’m looking forward to hearing about what God works in you with your word too. 🙂 Have a great weekend!

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