2016: One Word

Hazy trees, sun behind

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

It’s funny how some years, I know what my word is right away, and other years, I don’t know. I begin praying about my word around September of the preceding year.

This year . . . nothing came. I tried on a few words to see how they fit with my heart. One grated, another fit poorly. None resonated.

Hazy sun tree silhouette

I considered what the Lord has been speaking to me about over the past few months. I looked through notes from my quiet time, and a word slipped into my heart.

Even at my age, I still struggle with being a people-pleaser, one who strives for—longs for—the approval of others. Sometimes, this desire traps me into compromising, or not really allowing who I am to reflect in my interactions.

Red leaves amid brown

Wintry sun thru trees

Sometimes, I am quiet rather than sharing because I fear rejection (yes, this ugly thing still pops up from time to time). When I’m with a group of friends, and we’re all talking over each other, it’s so easy to observe, rather than participate. I might try to share a word, but I get talked over. It’s not an intentional slight on the part of anyone, it’s just how women tend to communicate. But, I step backward, into Observer Mode, rather than engaging, rather than sharing my thoughts, my heart. And it causes distance to grow over time.

Sun tangled in branches

I find myself even doing this with God. Not being completely honest with Him. I know what’s expected. I know the things I should do, and I’m a diligent daughter. I do them, but I don’t always share all of me with Him. Sure, He knows everything in my heart, but He still wants me to be brave and genuine and to share my thoughts my feelings, fears, frustrations, dreams, and heartaches with Him.

As I considered this, the word He gave me to focus on for 2016 is:

AUTHENTIC

Autumn leaves Hos 6 copy

Pair of birds

I suspect God has much refining to do in me this year. This word may well be the next step in my process of overcoming the rejection monster once and for all.

I believe that, as I focus on this one word in 2016, relationships will deepen—with my family, my friends, and most importantly, with God. As I trust Him enough to help me be authentic with others, He will hopefully work healing within me.

Puffy snow on evergreen

Knowing God, He has lessons for me to learn and embrace that I can’t conceive right now. And that’s okay. Because this will be a year to grow in trusting Him and in becoming more of the woman He created me to be.

What about you? Do you follow New Year’s resolutions, set goals, focus on one word? How do you determine your focus for the year?

Today, I’m linking up with Holly Barrett and A Purposeful Faith blog.

***P.S. I’m playing around with the look of my blog. I’d love to hear your impressions, things you like/don’t like about the new look. :)***

 

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34 thoughts on “2016: One Word

  1. Jeanne, thankful for God placing this on your heart and excited to see where it takes you. I can deeply empathize with this:
    “I might try to share a word, but I get talked over. It’s not an intentional slight on the part of anyone, it’s just how women tend to communicate. But, I step backward, into Observer Mode, rather than engaging, rather than sharing my thoughts, my heart. And it causes distance to grow over time.”

    And I can also be the same with God. I shared a little about that recently, how my fear I’d disappointed Him in my struggles, made me cower and hide. But that’s the beautiful thing, isn’t it, that He doesn’t leave us there…He draws the “authentic” us out and showers His Love upon us, helping us to see He is after us just as we are.

    I am excited for you and also for those of us reading along…I also still too often seek the approval of others, so look forward to the wisdom God imparts in you this year.

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    • I agree with you, Anna! I’m so very thankful that God doesn’t leave us in that place of disappointment. And, He’s never disappointed in us. And that, too, gives such comfort. He does draw the “authentic” us out. I hadn’t thought about it that way.

      I’m excited to see where God leads me in this coming year, as well. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. OK, on the look of the blog – the header text gets lost against the picture. The column-organization is also a bit crowded, though it may be a function of my screen.

    Love the pictures, and love your choice of word.

    I do not feel that in your writing career, rejection will be a major problem. My suspicion is that you will have to learn to cope with acceptance…which can be even more difficult.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Andrew, thank you for sharing your thoughts about the new look. Obviously many agree with you about the header. 🙂 I really liked it, but I wasn’t sure if it would work. So, I appreciate you sharing that it’s not the best option. I’ll revamp that part. Not sure I can do much about the columns. When I have time again, I’ll look and see if those are custom with this particular theme.

      I truly do appreciate your encouragement and affirmations. And I’ll take your prayers on coping with acceptance when that day comes. 🙂

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      • Try the words in a bolder font and different colors. A gold like the flower centers might work. And maybe your name in the red of the flowers. I love cosmos!

        I go through a similar process selecting my one-word for the year. Better said, I likewise ask God for my one-word. I know the flat feeling of potential words that don’t resonate. And the joy of finding the right word (immediately followed by a whiny “Do I have to?” which confirms that it is indeed the right word). My one-word for 2016 is two words, Finish it!

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      • Shirlee, thanks for the suggestions. I’ll see what I can play with. I know I’ll need to change the header, but I’m not sure if I can change the color of my name. When I have time again, I’ll see. 🙂

        I chuckled knowing I’m not the only one who grappled with many words to see which one (or two, in your case) fit best. 🙂 I can’t wait to see how God has you live out your words. 🙂

        I always appreciate when you stop by. Thank you!

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  3. Liking the blue look! Also, love the word choice. I know what you mean- the word had not quite come to me. I tried a few on, found one I liked…but have not gotten a sense from the Lord that it’s what He has. So I’m still waiting -maybe my word will be “late” haha. Love hearing how you find yours and what it means to you!

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    • Bethany, I’m glad to know I’m in good company with those whose words also didn’t come quickly this year. I’ll pray that He shows you your word for the year. Who knows what God could do with “late!” 😉

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  4. Hey sweet friend! Happy New Year! When you began describing yourself, I felt like you were describing me. Our personalities sound very similar. I am a thinker and observer and sharing the real me has been a struggle for my life. It is only through writing that I am learning to be more vulnerable and authentic myself. Thank you for your bravery in sharing this with us.

    As for the blog, I noticed right away that it had changed. I do like the blue and at first glimpse the header. Your blog title is a little lost against the flower background because of the white letters. I know you will figure it out and it will be beautiful! Great to see you today!

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    • Hey Mary, it’s good to see you too! I’m with you. I’m finding it’s easier to express my heart through the written word. It feels safer, somehow. And I believe that there is something that is bypassed through writing the words versus trying to put thoughts into verbal words.

      I always appreciate your insightful and honest comments. Happy New Year, my friend!

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  5. Thank you for the insight. I never thought about coming up with just “one word” for the year. I like it and may have to try it. Seems deeper and much broader than a resolution. God bless!

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    • Lisa, I began the practice a few years ago after a friend shared about it with me. I so appreciate that it takes the pressure off of “doing” and accomplishing, and gives me grace to lean into each new year with a specific focus instead. 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautiful photos and beautiful thoughts, Jeanne. I can relate to so many of your words, and I’m also touched by your transparency. It’s exciting to think of what God may do to bring about that healing you desire as you focus on authenticity this year.

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    • Lois, thank you so much for your kind words here. I am excited to see the lessons God has for me this year. But I have no doubts that it’s also going to require me to let go of some things I’ve held onto to feel “comfortable” or “safe.”

      Thank you so much for stopping by!

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  7. Oh I can SO relate here, being a fellow pleaser myself! Authenticity is hard when we don’t want others to lose (our perceived) respect for us. If they know the real me, will they still love me? When in fact, if they don’t know the real me, how can they come to love me? I hold back too. Why is it so important that others not know our real opinions, why do we not want them to disagree with us? Idk. But I may have to save this word for myself next year (you try it out first and let me know how it goes lol)!

    Blessings to you today, my friend, and I LOVE the new blog look! The side colors are wonderful, the header is beautiful – you are doing a great job!

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    • Ruthie, those exact same questions have, at times, taken up residence in my head too. I hate them. You made me laugh with your comment about seeing how things go with me for this word. 🙂 I’m sure you’ll see how things are going through the year. 🙂 I hope God speaks His truth and love over both us in this coming year. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Jeanne, once again the connection is unmistakable. I so often find myself doing exactly as you talked about, stepping back, observing. Other people seem to be unrejected, but me? I often feel left out and alone. Sometimes, however, I’m too authentic HA! My word for the year is trust, but more specifically focused on finding the joy in trusting. Our words this year are really more about pleasing God over people aren’t they?

    I LOVE the header, but Andrew’s right, the text is kind of hiding. Wonder if you could put some blue in there to make it pop? Like your background?

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    • Christy, I have begun to think that there are people who aren’t as affected by rejection, and there are people who are very affected by rejection. It doesn’t make those who don’t deal with the sense of rejection better or stronger; they just have their own issues to work through, which don’t include rejection. 🙂

      You have a great word to focus on this year. I love the idea of finding joy in trusting. And yes, our words are more about pleasing God. We can’t go wrong with that, can we? 🙂

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  9. I’m loving the ONE WORD posts..my first time doing so..mine is THRIVE.. but I love AUTHENTIC..it’s so true..it will open some new and interesting doors to continue God’s work in the world! Don’t we become more authentic when God leads!! So glad to find your blog!

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    • Kathy, you have a great word to focus on this year! I’m so glad you’re trying this whole “one word” idea as a focus for the year. I agree with you, we do become more authentic when God leads.

      I’m so glad you stopped by!

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  10. Hi, sweet friend. Love, love your word this year. It’s not an easy one, I know. God has kept “real” on a constant loop with me, intermingling with my other “one words”, and I know that it’s a choice, much more than an organic response. But you have such a heart for God and inviting us in, so your authenticity pours our beautifully.

    As for the blog, I love the color and the header that highlights your name. I agree with Andrew, the tagline gets lost in the pretty flowers. 🙂

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    • Tiffany! So good to see you, friend! Yeah, “real” definitely falls into the realm of “authentic.” I love your word for the year too. 🙂 I find that each new word tends to intermingle with previous years’ words too. I love how God does that. Thanks so much for your kind words, and your encouragement!

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  11. Love this word for you. I view it as preparation for something big. Not sure what “big” means, but when I hear it paired with your words, it seems (to me) that God is moving in big ways. Happy 2016! I’m looking forward to this year – to see how God uses this word for you and through you.

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    • I completely believe God is preparing me for something. He does that with each of us, in the unique ways we need it. I loved your word. ENOUGH was my word a couple years ago. I look forward to reading how He works in and through you with that word, my friend. 🙂

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    • Thanks, Lisa! I’m praying so too. I’m finding I need God to make me aware of times when I’m holding back when perhaps He wants me to step forward and engage. It will be a training time, I suspect. I hope your New Year is off to a good start!

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  12. Hi Jeanne, You stopped by my blog (from Holly’s linkup) and commented on One Word.I love your word! And I love this post. Authentic isn’t always easy for me. I have a post on my struggles with being authentic if you’d like to check it out. So great to meet you here.

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    • Pam, I agree . . . living authentic is not easy. It requires such humility and trusting God. Neither of these are easy for this girl. 🙂 I so appreciate you stopping by. I would love to check out your post. 🙂

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  13. I love your new blog look. It’s bright. Spring-like cheerful. And I love your word. You are authentic, my friend. I remember years ago, when I first moved to Wichita Falls, just joined a church and had finally shared about infertility. A lady began talking to me and told me that she loved me because I was real. That meant so much. And she became like a sister to me. Still is, even though we don’t live close anymore. In a church full of people, she was looking and drawn to someone who seemed “real” … I want to be that way, stay that way, all my life.

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    • Shelli, you are real. You are genuine. You are a sweet encouragement. I love how God brought you a friendship through your transparency. 🙂 I’m with you. I want to be someone who’s “real” in all my interactions with others. Always.
      Thank you for being such a gracious voice here.

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  14. The look of a blog should probably reflect the personality of the blogger…so this one is bright, friendly, and welcoming. The blogger’s name at the top of the page displays humbleness in that it is presented softly. The message is never aggressive, instead its always more of a self-confession…yeah it has all the ear-markings of a “people-pleaser” 😉

    Love your blog…just fix the header.

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    • Gene, I’m so sorry I didn’t get to reply to your comment sooner. Thank you for your encouragements about this blog. I truly appreciate them. :). And I’m still trying to find the perfect header. 🙂

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