Hope, One Word

2018: One Word

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Can I just say it?

How can it already be 2018? I’m still trying to catch my breath after all that 2017 held. I don’t know about you, but last year was kind of a crazy year for our family. I can look back now and better see why God had me focus on the word Intentional.

Here, at what is probably the quietest time of my year, I am preparing for the unknowns the coming days will hold. I love the early days of January where I can be still. Where there aren’t a lot of demands on me.

I know some people like to create a list of resolutions, and that works for some. For the last number of years, I’ve focused on one word. I’m always surprised at how God brings my One Word to life in my heart. These are my previous words:







Last year, God showed me the importance of being intentional in how I invest myself—my time, my energy, my words. Raising two teen boys gave me lots of practice on being intentional about what I said . . . and what I didn’t. As they grow in expressing themselves, I’ve had to choose my responses more carefully. Those crazy teen emotions were sometimes triggered at one mis-spoken word.

God showed me that, before I can live Intentional I must know what my priorities are. He gave me four areas that to focus on last year. These helped guide me in the choices I faced.

When I consider each choice I’m offered, I must also look beyond the choice itself to the impact it will have on those around me—especially my family.  

And, with the busy-ness the year held, I chose to be intentional about spending time with the Lord daily.

Time with Him breathed calmness into the craziest days. Enabled me to hold my tongue when one of the boys tested me. God also helped me to view situations through His eyes and to respond accordingly.

Each September, I begin praying about the word God will have me focus on for the coming year. Every year, I’m surprised at the word He gives me. As certain words I liked came to mind, I listed them. Words that seemed recur in my days also went onto that list.

Early in December, during my quiet time, God shared a verse that stopped me.

“But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.”

~Micah 7:7

After this, one specific word popped up over and over—in my quiet times, in songs I listened to, in conversations. I thought I knew a lot about this word. As I come across it in the context of God’s word, I now have a lot of questions. I want to understand my One Word better.

My key verse for the year is Romans 15:13—

As I meditate on what God taught me about being intentional, I suspect He will use some of those lessons to help me better understand what Hope really is, how it operates in a Christian’s life, what the benefits are, and how hope impacts our choices.

What about you? Do you focus on One Word or on creating resolutions . . . or on something else? If you’re a one-word person, I’d love to hear your word and what God’s shown you about it.

Click to Tweet: I’m always surprised at how God brings my One Word alive in my heart 

I’m linking up with #RaRaLinkup, Jennifer Dukes Lee, and Holley Gerth


35 thoughts on “2018: One Word”

  1. So wonderful to see you back here again, Jeanne! And a terrific word. Thank you so much for this heartwarming and uplifting essay.

    My Wor was going to be a phrase…”The good may die young, but badass lives forever”. Recent days, however, have kicked the stuffing out of me, and I think a more appropriate word might be…drum roll, please…


    The Deguello is a Spanish bugle call, adapted from the Moors, and it means ‘to cut the throat’, and indicates that no quarter will be given. It was famously used by Santa Ana’s army at The Alamo.

    The last dawn is coming, and hearing the bugle’s doom-notes on the smoky breeze, I know that it’s going to hurt.

    All I can do is wait, and fight while I yet live.

    I used to say that the last battle would light up the world, for all to see…but the reality is that almost no one’s going to be looking, and my last fight will be in the gathering dark, alone but for a very few.

    Doesn’t matter. It’s still mine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Andrew, you, my friend, are often in my prayers. And it may be true that few will see that final morning with you, but One will definitely be with you, ready to escort you to an eternal home that is beyond imagining. In the meantime, I know you’re fighting. I’m praying for you, friend.


  2. Happy New Year, Jeanne! Hope is a great word to focus on. I agree, it’s a word we can think we understand, but there is a lot more to discover when we look deeper. I look forward to reading about all that you learn.
    My word is “focus” and I found your reflections on “intentional” helpful as I think they are quite similar. I definitely want to make time to focus on God a priority, and to be intentional about prioritizing and how I spend my time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lesley, Hope keeps showing up in my Bible reading, and I’m already looking at it differently, contemplating it in the context of what I’m reading. I know some things about it, but I look forward to seeing what more God will reveal as I spend time with this word this year.

      Focus is a good word too. I look forward to reading what God teaches you regarding focus!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jeanne,
    I haven’t posted yet on my “word” for 2018. I need to gather my thoughts – like you it is best done in early January before life takes off in a sprint. Hope holds everything that is positive about God. What a wonderful word to cling to. Praying for you as you learn to hope in Him this year. Happy New Year sweet friend,
    Bev xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Bev, my days are about to take off in sprint-mode. I cherish the quiet days between Christmas and January 2nd, when there’s more time to be still. I look forward to reading what Good shows you to focus on this year. You bless me sweet friend! Thanks for the prayers!


  4. Good word choice Jeanne, Christian Hope isn’t what we wish for, it’s what we believe will actually come to pass. So I think your word “hope” is synonymous with the word “believe.” That leads to my word for 2018…“Much.” How much do I know about the bible? How much do I know about myself? How much do I know about my sin? How much do I know about God? I’ve decided to stop taking my relationship with God for granted this year. Instead I’m going to weigh my words and actions to see how “much” I actually communicate with, obey and honor God on a daily basis. Wishing you a blessed new year Jeanne!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gene, yes, hope is about much more than what we wish for. It is about belief, and I think also about trust, obedience, and where our focus is.

      “Much.” That sounds like a word that will draw you closer to the Lord in the coming year! I hope to read some of what God teaches you about “Much” as this year unfolds. I hope your new year is blessed as well, Gene!


  5. Great word! Remembering a lesson someone taught; it related well to Real Estate~ When building a house the buyer looks at a blueprint and “sees” the house. Hope is the blueprint that faith builds the house from. Always liked that! May His love continue to bring you blueprints in 2018.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love this word and verse, Jeanne. It reminds me of another verse in Hebrews 16:19 that is meaningful to me – “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” What would we do without hope, right? I also love your reflections on being intentional in this past year. Situations and our response to them can be so different when viewed through God’s perspective, can’t they? I am looking forward to more about how God gives you a deeper understanding of hope this year. I wish you the best as you continue to mother two teen boys! Have a Blessed 2018! Love and hugs to you!


    1. Trudy, that’s another good verse! I need to remember that and mark it in my new Bible. 🙂 I am really looking forward to the things the Lord shows me about Hope. And thanks for those good wishes. This has been the kind of day when I wished school started today instead of Thursday. 😉 Hugs sweet friend!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It will be wonderful to see how God works this particular word out in the rhythms of your life, Jeanne. My word for this year is Orthodoxy — I’m reading Chesterton’s book, and even beyond that have been rocked by the need for a firm foundation of truth in my life before all else.
    Blessed 2018 to you!


    1. Wow, Michele. Don’t pick too light of a word. 😉 Actually, I imagine the Lord is going to show you a lot with your One Word. I hope you’ll be writing about it so I can learn from you. Chesterton was an amazing theologian. We all need a firm foundation of truth if we’re going to view and live life well, don’t we? Blessings to you, my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Love hearing about how your word “intentional” for 2017 came into play in such practical ways. I’m sure “hope” will reveal its own beauty to you 🙂 My word for this year is “faith”— that I may have a firm foundation of faith and grow in it daily. Stopping by from #tellhisstory Blessings to you!


    1. Laura! I’m so blessed you stopped by here. Thank you!You have a powerful One Word this year. I bet God is going to reveal some beautiful facets of Himself to you as you meditate on Faith. Thank you so much for visiting!


  9. That’s a beautiful word and not just because my two word purpose in all is “inspiring hope.” 🙂 I love how you took time since September to be intentional about which word is one to guide you next on your journey here. I’ve been doing one words for about 10 years now, and also set goals for the year. I’ve never used that word ‘resolutions’ around New Year’s goals as it just felt too constricting to me! I like to have flexibility. Right now my word is Persevere.


    1. Lynn, focusing on one word and setting goals sounds like a practical way to launch into a new year. I used to try and set resolutions, but I always failed bu about January 10th. Focusing on One Word and setting goals is a more effective method for me too. I like your Word! I focused on that one a few years ago. I look forward to hearing where God takes you with that one!


  10. This is SO beautiful! I love your verse of the year and your word of the year. For 2018, I’ve chosen verses of the month and shared those, but I don’t have a verse/word for my year yet! I’m hoping to narrow this down today. It’s been helpful for me to do this in the past – last year my word was “treasure” and my verse was Matt. 6:21. 🙂 Thanks so much for the inspiration, and I hope you have a hope-filled 2018!


    1. Thank you, Laura! I always anticipate the word God will give me for a new year. It’s always fun to see when God unveils those for us. He usually shows me mine right around the last day of December. Treasure. What a great word! I imagine God had some beautiful truths for you last year! Thank you so, so much for stopping by!!


  11. I’m not a One Word person because it just doesn’t stay with me. Tried it a couple of times, but forgot about it after a few weeks.


    But you, dear Jeanne, are focused with a strong track record, an ear for the Spirit’s leading, a strong foundation in Scripture. I so admire your follow-through, your perseverance, your faith.

    Me? Just keeping my hands open, holding hopes and plans loosely, trusting in God’s faithfulness. He’s never let me down. I’m just gonna do the next right thing … He’s already got it figured out.


    Good to see you writing again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Linda, I love that God knows the best way to help each of us become conformed into the image of Jesus. For me, it’s one word. For you? It’s keeping your hands open and holding things loosely. I think that’s what we all should be doing anyway, isn’t it? Trusting Him enough to release all of our dreams, fears—all that we are—into His care?

      I’m so glad you stopped by!


  12. Hope. Probably one of the most precious words in our language (second maybe only to faithful)! A wonderful word for this new year….and I look forward to your sharing how God teaches you more about hope in the months ahead. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and that 2018 is already off to a great start!


    1. Jennifer, I agree. Hope is a beautiful word. God’s already talking to me about hope. It’s such a huge word! Four letters carry a lot of power, don’t they? I appreciate your thoughts here today!


  13. Jeanne, I so enjoyed reading this post and about how your word finds you. This is the first year since I have been choosing a word, that I knew my word in the fall. God had already been pointing me to the word “Focus” and Philippians 3:13b-14. Please share the lessons you learn as the year unfolds. May 2018 be a hope-filled year!


    1. Joanne, I figure God knows what He wants me to learn in a year. He’s always been faithful to show me the word to focus on. Usually it comes around the end of December. 😉 It’s always nice when we know our word earlier, isn’t it? Focus is such a great word. It was one of the possibilities on my list. I hope your year finds you focusing on our God and the things He shows you. I look forward to reading what you’re learning as well. 😉

      I always am blessed when you stop by. Thank you!


  14. Jeanne yes that word, “Intentional” God spoke to both of us last year. I agree we have to know what our priorities are before we can be intentional.

    Love how you shared your prior year’s words.


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