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2020: One Word

Image of Diamond Head in Hawaii on a partly cloudy day

@JeanneTakenaka

Happy New Year! And not only a new year but a new decade. 2019 was a year of stretching and trusting. Teenaged boys have given me a lot of practice in learning how to trust God.

My One Word for 2019 was LIVE.

I thought my word would have me focusing on choosing to live in each moment instead of looking too far ahead and managing my days rather than living out the moments of my days. 

But, God has ways of bringing out other facets from the lessons we think we’re going to learn. 

Image of me with my two sons—Peter and Edmund

In the year where my word was LIVE, two unexpected deaths kind of rocked my world. On Jan 6th last year, a good friend and her husband lost their daughter unexpectedly. This twenty-one-year-old woman had a passion for people and for travel. Her death was a stark reminder that we don’t know the number of our days.

In September my father-in-law passed away unexpectedly. I struggled with this. And, yes, I may have told God he didn’t give this strong, quiet man enough days. 

But God . . . He knows the number of days we each get. The truth I’ve taken from these passings is that I want to live each day well, to be open to conversations, to opportunities to encourage others to draw closer to the Lord. I want to live each day well.

Boy standing on a rocky outcropping, arms outstretched, as he views the valley beneath him

During 2019, God brought me face-to-face with disappointment, and how I allow it to impact me. In walking through some disappointments, I grappled with the role humility plays . . . and with the pride that’s still rooted in my heart.

Sometimes discovering how to really live means learning how to die to ourselves and allowing God to deal with pride

In learning to live, I’m learning to surrender my expectations, my desires to God . . . to trust Him when the disappointments come.

Boy standing at the rail of a ferry that's put out to sea and staring into the waters

Disappointments have a way of revealing what’s really in our hearts. He also showed me I was seeking affirmation from people. But, as I’ve written (and I had to be reminded), seeking affirmation from humans always leads to disillusionment.

When I seek affirmation in accomplishments, I’ll be disappointed when they don’t yield what I expected. 

But, God’s already given us all the affirmation we need. When we seek Him, we’ll know His pleasure—His delight—because we’re His kids. When my eyes are on Him, I can live more freely because I’m not tied to people-pleasing.

Image of a large sailboat on the ocean with sun shining on the waves and a large cloud overhead

I’m a “One Word” gal, rather than a New Year’s Resolution gal. I’m always surprised at how God brings these words to life in my heart. These are my previous words:

2012—Passion

2013—Perspective

2014—Enough

2015—Breathe

2016—Authentic

2017—Intentional

2018—Hope

2019—Live

Edmund and Peter standing on a balcony with an ocean view behind them.

As 2019 came to a close, I couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that our oldest graduates from high school in a year-and-a-half. As crazy as life gets, I want to be intentional about engaging with both of our sons. 

My Word for the year is:

Meme with the word, "Present" and a mourning dove nestled next to a flower in a tree

As I’ve prayed about my focus verse for the year, I keep coming back to the phrase to fix my eyes, my heart, my thoughts on Jesus. Because really, whatever we’ll face this year, I need to look to Him, not myself. My verse for the year is: 

Meme with the words, "I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. ~Psalm 16:8" on a backdrop of a wave coming into shore

In the verses I prayed over, they all seemed to tie in with this one. When I choose to set the Lord before me, I’m choosing to trust Him. Making the decision to always look to him, I have the confidence and the peace that He’s always present with me. 

I want to walk through the unexpected happenings and life lessons trusting in the Lord and resting in His presence. I want to make the necessary choices to be present in my boys’ and husband’s lives this year. 

What about you? Do you focus on goals and resolutions, do you focus on one word, or is there another way you like to begin the year? If you focus on One Word, what is yours for this year?

PS—I have jury duty today (Tuesday), so I will respond and visit during the week as I have time. Thanks for your understanding! 

Click to Tweet: Disappointments have a way of revealing what’s really in our hearts.

I’m linking up with: #TellHisStory and #RaRaLinkup

37 thoughts on “2020: One Word”

  1. I used to think it was absurd,
    a pretentious kind of tosh.
    But for this year I have a word,
    and that One Word is “Yosh!”
    In Japanese, it means, “Hey cool,
    everything will be OK!”
    Some may think I am a fool,
    but optimism lights my way.
    The tumours will not stop their growing,
    and it has to be my choice
    that is taken in the knowing
    that love must have a smiling voice.
    If I’m to go to God above,
    then “Yosh!” and I will go with love.

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    1. Andrew, what a great word for this year! I so appreciate your perspective on life as it is for you, and your poem is great. It’s kind of amazing that one Japanese word conveys so much. 🙂 I am praying for you, my friend.

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  2. Jeanne, I so enjoyed reading of your journey with “Live”. I, too, am a One Word girl and have been amazed at how one word can work its way into our hearts and minds. My word this year is “Savor”, which has been defined as “to exhibit the peculiar characteristics of.” I want to “Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God” (Eph. 5:2). I want to savor each day and the gifts He brings. Blessings!

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    1. Joanne, there were lots of lessons as I learned more about how to LIVE last year. Those One Words do have a way of interweaving into the fabric of who we are, don’t they? I love your word for this year. Savor should be an enriching word to focus on this year. I hope Savor finds you drawing close and digging in deeper in your relationship with the Lord!

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  3. Present is such a great choice for this season of your life. You are wise to realize that now. Im with you in this effort to savor every day with the people we cherish.

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    1. Michele, God has a way of stretching my understanding of the words He gives me to focus on each year. I’m both excited and nervous about all He will show me with this one. May we both have many good moments to savor time with our families this year!

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  4. I started a word in 2019 and l must admit was not as commited to applying it all the time. But this is such a great idea and one l plan to try think about everyday! Great thoughts Jeanne!

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    1. Ava, it seems like each year is a little different for me, in terms of focusing on and applying my word each year. I have had years where the word slid to the back of my mind on about January 10th, and then there were words that were at the front of my thoughts almost every day. Not sure why that is. 😉 I imagine you have a lot to think about right now. May each day this year find you drawing closer to the Lord!

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      1. Thanks Jeanne! I pray the same for you! 2019 had ups and down but l am ready to embrace all God has for me as l follow His lead in 2020 especially as we plan our wedding 🤗

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  5. I don’t choose a word each year. I enjoy learning what words are chosen by other people. I believe God changes my “word” day to day sometimes moment to moment. Thank you for this inspiring message. 🙂

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    1. Melissa, I always enjoy hearing how different people approach the beginning of a new year. God does have a way of shifting our focus to various things throughout the year, doesn’t He? I’ll look forward to reading the things He shares with you this year!

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  6. I’ve done both resolutions and one word but neither work for me. Now I just determine to grow in grace and in my walk with Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. I journal things out and can go back each year and see what’s consistently a matter of prayer/growth in my life.

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    1. Anne, I love how God has made each of us unique and made us to function in different ways. Your determination to walk well is a great mindset to go into a new year with. I’ve gleaned much and seen how God’s grown me when I’ve gone back and read my journaling from certain seasons of my life. I hope this year finds you growing closer to the Lord and Him using you in new ways in the lives that you touch. Thank you so much for stopping by!

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  7. What a beautiful post, Jeanne! I so agree that disappointment reveals what is in our hearts. When everything is going our way, it is easy to put on a calm, placid face; it’s when trouble strikes that we show our true selves.

    Your word for 2020 is a good one. I am looking forward to reading about your journey to be present every day, every second. My word for 2020 is “humility”. I feel the need to ponder this.

    I hope jury duty is engaging!

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    1. Laurie, thanks for your encouraging words. Humility isn’t an easy word, but I can imagine the growth you will have this year as you learn how to live it and how God shapes you through your contemplating this word. I hope your year is off to a good start!

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  8. Dear Jeanne … I am so deeply sorry for your losses. I absolutely hear you as right now I’m wading through 3 deaths since the beginning of August. God is gracious, but it is a wearying road … and especially if you didn’t get to say goodbye.

    I’m praying for you even as we speak. God will keep you close to my heart.

    Meanwhile, I love that you’ve lived out those words all these years. Superb.

    Bless you, friend…

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    1. Linda, I am sorry for your losses, as well. It’s kind of hard to start a new year with excitement when we’re still feeling the grief from the preceding year. I’m praying for you and your family as well. You are such a blessing to me, my friend!

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  9. Happy New Year, Jeanne! One of the things I have loved most about having a word for the year is seeing how God can take it and use it in unexpected ways. I’m sorry 2019 meant so much grief and disappointment but I’m glad you knew God working through it and teaching you things. I look forward to reading about how your 2020 word works out.
    My word for 2020 is “Vision”. I don’t like that it’s such a cliché but it seems to be the word God has led me to and I’m excited about some of the ways I think he will use it.

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    1. Lesley, I’m with you. With most of the One Words I’ve had over the years, God has deepened them and taken them in such different directions than I could have anticipated. I’m certain He’ll do the same this year. I like your word for 2020! I look forward to reading what He does with this word in your life!

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  10. I’m so sorry for the disappointments and losses you had in 2019, Jeanne. I love your focus for this year and your updates in how God is using the word He gives you. This especially resonates with me – “When my eyes are on Him, I can live more freely because I’m not tied to people-pleasing.” So true and a reminder I need so often. I no longer choose a word for the year, but God has impressed on my heart to take one step at a time, to not obsess on needing to know the next steps, and to trust His heart even when I have a hard time understanding His plan. Love and blessings of strength to you!

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    1. Thanks so much, as always, for your kind words, Trudy. We all face disappointments, don’t we? I’m so much better than I used to be about avoiding the people-pleasing trap, but there are still times . . . Taking one step at a time is a good way to step into and through a year. And trusting God’s heart for us is a beautiful reminder for me. my friend. May our Abba continue to reveal more of Himself to you through this new year. Love and blessings back to you, friend!

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  11. Wow! What a sweet testimony of how God continuously reveals Himself to us as He continues to grow and stretch us.

    My word for 2020 is truth.
    This comes with seeking truth, believing truth, speaking truth, and letting His truth set me free from the anxieties and weights of this world.

    I can’t wait to follow how God uses “Present” grow and bless you!

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    1. Ashlyn, what a powerful word for you to focus on this year! Truth . . . knowing Truth will guide a person through the year. I so appreciate your thoughts about the impacts your word will have on you this year! And yes, I’m sure I’ll be sharing some lessons about Present’s impact on my life. 🙂

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  12. Each year brings growth and blessed lessons and I trust God is going to deepen your daily presence with Him this year and beyond! I usually have a word for the year, but holding that loosely this year. I am drawn to Romans12:12-13 though, and diving deeper into what God is asking of me through that verse! I look forward to our continual connection in 2020!

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    1. Lynn, when we seek God we always find Him, don’t we? And He finds us where we are and draws us closer to Himself. I am thankful that, when we spend time with Him, He does reveal more of Himself to us. Romans 12:12-13 are such great applications for our hearts, our choices, and our actions. I look forward to reading what God teaches you and challenges you in during this year. I, too, look forward to our continued connection this year!

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  13. I love how you shared your one-word journey and how present God has been through it all. I pray God’s choice of the word, present, for you this year leads you to many experiences of just being in the moment with your family and friends. I love your tweet for the week-Disappointments have a way of revealing what’s really in our hearts. Amen!

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    1. Mary, thanks for your well-wishes. I am already making some choices to be present in my moments with the boys. Removing my glasses from my face and turning away from my computer signal to them that they have my attention. 😉 I look forward to practicing being present this year. And I’m certain God will have some surprises in store for me regarding this word, as well. I’m so thankful for you, my friend!

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  14. We had three teenage boys, so I can identify with you! I enjoyed hearing how God used the word you chose for last year. Being present is something that I constantly need to work on, rather than focusing on what’s behind or ahead.

    I don’t do resolutions or a word for the year, though both are good things. But at some point after everyone goes back to work and school, I sit down and think and make some goals for the new year.

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    1. Barbara, there are days I can barely manage two teenaged boys! 😉 I am really good at focusing on what might be coming, and less often (than I used to) on the past and regrets. I do want to be more intentional about being fully in each moment, especially with my family. I like how you find yourself a quiet space (for your mind, body, and spirit) to think through, and I suspect pray through, goals for the year. I appreciate you sharing what works for you!

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  15. Happy New Year, Jeanne! I’m in the middle of writing my OneWord post for this year, and it was so encouraging to read what you’ve shared here. I’m with you, usually surprised at the difference my words make in my life but always grateful to God for giving me each one. Given your current season, the word “present” is just perfect. There’s so much to cram into the junior and senior years, some good and some incredibly stretching. You’ll make it, though, and I will look forward to reading how God guides you through! 🙂

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