How Do I Find My One Word? 3 Steps to Choose the Right Word

3 Steps to Choose Your One Word

Resolutions or One Word?

I’ll guess the answer is no.

The question is: Do you make New Year’s resolutions?

Not everybody likes yearly resolutions. Occasionally I still make some; I am geared that way (I’m an Upholder; take Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies quiz to identify your tendency).

Instead of yearly resolutions, though, many people (myself included) choose One Word for the year.

If you’d like to choose One Word, but need some guidance in picking the right word, here are 3 steps to choose the word for you, along with a list of suggested words

And if you’d like to join a group, read more here

3 Steps to Choose the Right Word

As I’ve shared in the past (and since revised), try the acronym LAP to narrow down your word as we prepare for another lap around the globe.


Pay attention.

Your word need not be something you sweat about digging up, but rather something you notice and receive.

  • Are you hearing repetitive messages with similar themes?
  • Is a particular song or scripture touching you deeply?
  • Is there a struggle you want to overcome?

God can work through any avenue. Listen for his message through circumstances, relationships, inner dialogue. Stay aware for his wisdom.

Don’t overthink it. Accept what comes without having to understand it fully. God will reveal more when the time is right.


Narrow your focus.

As you hone in on a general direction, break it down to a smaller chunk. It’s better to give your full attention to one main word or concept than be distracted by a hundred little resolutions.

Be attentive to one word at a time. Does it feel small enough to manage? Does it feel big enough to inspire you?

Your One Word choice doesn’t have to be profound or complex. It doesn’t have to be the key to solving all problems for all time.

Keep it simple and relevant to this season of your life.

Your One Word is a step for now, not the complete journey for all time.


To further identify your word, decide why you want to choose One Word.

Maybe you want something you can take action on, like REBUILD. Or something to pray about through the year, like PEACE. Maybe you want to work on a weak area (TRANSFORM), or celebrate a strength (THANKFUL).

Identifying your purpose can help narrow down your word, and even help you decide whether you want to frame it as a noun or a verb.

Once you know your purpose, you can then move forward to create a working plan for ways you want to live out your word and practice it throughout the coming year.

  • Some people create four mini-goals with their word, one for each quarter of the year.
  • Or put them on a sticky note where they’ll see them every day.
  • I gather a stack of books about my word to read throughout the year.

Hold It Loosely

Yet at the same time, release expectations of where your One Word will take you.

Let go of specific outcomes. God will work in ways you could never predict.

Just know this: God will honor your intentions to grow through your word. Trust God’s grace to come alongside you, whichever word you choose.

Then embed your word into one situation at a time, one day at a time, one relationship at a time.

One is enough. 

Have you chosen One Word in the past? Do you have One Word yet for 2022? Do you repeat words?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

If you’d like company on your One Word journey, find details here about joining a group.

If you’re ready to sign up now, join our One Word 2022 community here. (Already in our 2021 group? No need to sign up again).

Join our One Word 2022 Community

Need some suggestions for choosing your One Word? Here’s the list of One Words from our One Word 2021 community

One Word Suggestions

I’m linking at these blog parties

When Your World Is on Fire, Find Holy Ground
—Grace & Truth Linkup


When You Need to Renovate

Who we think Jesus is, is not necessarily who he really is.

Our thoughts of Jesus need not grow stagnant. We need to move forward, to update our beliefs when Jesus reveals more of himself to us.

“Your doubt doesn’t have to disqualify your faith. Sometimes doubt is a doorway to better faith.”
– Brian Zahnd

In When Everything’s on Fire, Brian Zahnd frames this as building our theological house. Our theological house is the space in our minds where Jesus inhabits our thoughts and speech.

When Everything's on Fire

Zahnd suggests we sometimes have to tear down part of our theological house to rebuild it properly. Don’t be satisfied that you’ve already built it perfectly; none of us have it exactly correct. Trust the Holy Spirit to be the contractor for a beautiful renovation.

In this reconstruction process, even when the world feels topsy-turvy, we don’t have to be topsy-turvy too:

My constant was my faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. That faith did not have to be tied to any particular eschatology, atonement theory, or speculations about the afterlife.”

By putting our faith in Jesus—not our church or our “religion” or our theology—we are free to reassess as needed.

This May Take Awhile

The rebuilding often requires us to be patient.

If you’ve ever done a major remodeling project, you know that it takes longer than estimated.

Our spiritual remodeling takes a lifetime.

“Christianity is an ongoing project to understand God as revealed in Jesus Christ.”

As an example, Zahnd reminds us of when Jesus was 12 years old and Mary lost track of him while in Jerusalem.

“Mary had conceived and given birth to Jesus, she had nursed him and raised him, and she knew him better than anyone. Then she lost Jesus. After a three day agonizing search, she found him again. . . . And Mary was forced to reevaluate what she thought she knew about Jesus.

We, too, sometimes need to rethink who Jesus is. So we can find the real Jesus again and make spiritual progress. 

It requires us to update our minds.

In the rediscovery we will be required to rethink some things. And that’s what repentance means—to rethink things in the light of Christ.”

As we rediscover and rethink and repent, we rebuild our theological house. Again and again.

And that’s a good thing, a healthy thing.

When we feel that everything is on fire, Zahnd writes:

“We may ask, where is God? but [may] very well answer, where isn’t God?”

When the world’s on fire, may we “find our way to holy ground.”

“A park, a library, a quiet room, an empty cathedral, a walk in the woods will do. Learn to sit in some kind of wilderness until something catches fire. Take off your shoes and begin to talk to God as if God is there, as if God is near, as if God hears, as if God cares—because it’s all true.”

Find your holy ground today.

Featured Post

If this busy Christmas season stresses you out too, you might relate to Jeanne’s post that she linked here last week.

“Peace doesn’t come in doing all the things. It comes through being in His presence.”

Read all of Jeanne’s post here at her blog, then link up your own blog posts below.


Do you sometimes feel the world is on fire? How do you ground yourself? Where is your holy ground?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

My thanks to NetGalley + InterVarsity Press
for the review copy of this book

I’m linking at these blog parties


1. Share 1 or 2 of your most recent CHRISTIAN LIVING posts. (No DIY, crafts, recipes, or inappropriate articles.) All links are randomly sorted.

2. Comment on 1 or 2 other links. Grace & Truth linkup encourages community.   

3. Every host features one entry from the previous week. To be featured, include this button or link back here on your post (mandatory to be featured, but not to participate).


Grace and Truth_Meet Hosts

We encourage you to follow our hosts on their blogs or social media.

MAREE DEE – Embracing the Unexpected
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

LISA BURGESS – Lisa notes
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

TAMMY KENNINGTON – Restoring hope. Pursuing peace.
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

Now Let’s Link Up!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

On the Blog—November 2021

Here are brief summaries and links to all the posts on the blog in November 2021.


10 Books I Recommend—November 2021

“Each book is a mind alive, a life revealed, a world awaiting exploration.”
– Dean Koontz

Below are books I recommend from what I finished reading in November.

Underneath the recommendations by me is a list of recommendations for me that I gathered from participating in Nonfiction November this month. It’s a wonderful way each year to discover the best nonfiction books to read. The linkup to see more “New to My TBR” is with Jaymi at The OC Book Girl for Week 5 of #NonficNov.

[See previously recommended books here]



1. Good to Grow
Embrace an Abundant Life in Your Good Body
by Amanda Reynolds

Good to Grow Amanda Reynolds

This is an encouraging invitation to view our bodies in a more holy way, regardless of what our bodies look like or how much we like or dislike them already. Amanda shares lessons from personal experience and from scripture about how to grow our body image out of the weeds and into fruitfulness.

2. Factfulness
Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think
by Hans Rosling


Most of us are wrong about global trends on world population, people in poverty, women and schooling, etc. This book is a fascinating approach to setting us straight and finding hope for our world.

3. Grateful
The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks
by Diana Butler Bass


Being grateful doesn’t always come naturally to us. This is a great jump-start to improving your gratitude attitude.

4. Embracing Uncertainty
by Susan Jeffers

Embracing Uncertainty

An oldie but a goodie. The only thing we know for certain is that things will change. This book helps us make peace with that. It’s a perfect fit for my One Word 2021 UNCERTAINTY.

5. When Everything’s on Fire
Faith Forged from the Ashes
by Brian Zahnd

When Everything's on Fire

Instead of walking away from faith altogether when it becomes too inconsistent to believe any longer, Zahnd offers a solution of renovating our faith instead. And encourages us to hang on to Jesus no matter what.

6. God Can’t
How to Believe in God and Love after Tragedy, Abuse, and Other Evils
by Thomas Jay Oord

God Can't

While I like to think about things God CAN do, it’s also comforting to know there are things God CAN’T do (for example, God cannot lie; God cannot do evil; God cannot be unloving; etc.). I like to be challenged in my thoughts of God, and this book does that as Oord addresses the problem of suffering. Just as with all books, you can take or leave the authors’ thoughts as you read them.

7. Benefit of the Doubt
Breaking the Idol of Certainty
by Gregory A. Boyd

Benefit of the Doubt

I found great encouragement in this book to not measure our faith by our certainty of it. The blurb on the back of the book says it best: “Embrace a faith that doesn’t strive for certainty but rather for commitment to Christ in the midst of uncertainty.”

8. Everything Happens for a Reason
And Other Lies I’ve Loved
by Kate Bowler

Everything Happens for a Reason

Kate Bowler was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer at just 35 years old. She walks us through her next steps, rooting out helpful and nonhelpful advice along the way.

9. Reasons to Stay Alive
by Matt Haig

I’m working through all of Matt Haig’s insightful books. This one tells us how he found reasons to continue living while he dealt with depression and anxiety.

Reasons to Stay Alive


I did squeeze in one novel during this Nonfiction November month. And it is quite the page turner.

10. Before I Go to Sleep
by S.J. Watson

Before I Go to Sleep

This is a great story about Christine’s journey with memory issues. Every day she wakes up to a new world, even though it’s exactly the one she left the night before. What role does her husband Ben play and how can she discover the real truth?

Reading Now

  • The Story of You
    An Enneagram Journey to Becoming Your True Self
    by Ian Morgan Cron
  • The Divine Dance
    The Trinity and Your Transformation
    by Richard Rohr
  • The Wisdom of Your Body
    Finding Healing, Wholeness, and Connection Through Embodied Living
    by Hillary L. McBride
  • Anatomy of a Miracle
    by Jonathan Miles

Adding to My TBR from #NonficNov Readers

What good book are YOU reading this month? Please share in the comments.



My books on Goodreads
More books I recommend

sharing at these linkups

Share Four Somethings—November 2021
—Grace & Truth Linkup

Near the end of each month I share something I love, something I read, something I treasure, and something ahead with others at Heather’s.

Plus here’s my One Second video from last month . . . 

[click here if you can’t see the video]

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Something Loved


I’ve been wanting some new photos with all three of our grandchildren. We got some wonderful pictures a few weeks ago. I’ve already picked the best one for our Christmas cards.

This picture below isn’t the Christmas card photo. But it’s one of my favorites because this one is real life. 


~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Something Read 


Grateful by Diana Butler Bass

One of the books I read this month for #NonfictionNovember is Grateful: The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks by Diana Butler Bass. Here are two insightful quotes from it.

“Gifts come before givers. We do not really give gifts. We recognize gifts, we receive them, and we pass them on. We all rely on these gifts. We all share them.”

“God gives all gifts, and we human beings accept them and pass them on to one another. We never owned them to begin with. We are only mediators and stewards, not benefactors in our own right.”

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Something Treasured

  • FAMILY AND FRIENDS WHO LOVE ME (especially on my birthday)

It’s been a challenging month. But I’ve survived it with the help of some great family members and wonderful best friends.

If you ever doubt your help is useful to your friends in times of crisis, trust me: it is helpful. Whatever it is. If you do anything at all, your friend will notice.

Yesterday was my birthday. I received so many beautiful messages. I appreciate every kind word. God has been present in each one.

One of the gifts I’ve received is from the ever-thoughtful Kay, one of my besties. (She’s given me a lot of gifts AND time AND attention this month!). She bought two copies of Glennon Doyle’s new journal, Get Untamed, one for her and one for me, so we could do them simultaneously and talk about them.  

Get Untamed: The Journal by Glennon Doyle

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Something Ahead


I have LOVED the One Word 2021 community that’s been gathering here this year!

I’ve been tallying results from this survey to see if there is interest in continuing into 2022 with our group (spoiler alert: yes!).


I’m receiving great suggestions for next year. I look forward to putting it all together in the next few weeks and offering a signup for 2022. 

Did you have One Word for 2021? Do you have one already for 2022? (I think I know mine already.)

Featured Post

If you haven’t already read Barbara’s post from last week, you might want to read it now. She gives us many reasons why we shouldn’t give up on God just because God’s people don’t get things right.

But don’t walk away from Him because of them.”

Read all of it here, then link up your own blog posts below.


Share your thoughts in the comments.

previous Share Four Somethings


1. Share 1 or 2 of your most recent CHRISTIAN LIVING posts. (No DIY, crafts, recipes, or inappropriate articles.) All links are randomly sorted.

2. Comment on 1 or 2 other links. Grace & Truth linkup encourages community.   

3. Every host features one entry from the previous week. To be featured, include this button or link back here on your post (mandatory to be featured, but not to participate).


Grace and Truth_Meet Hosts

We encourage you to follow our hosts on their blogs or social media.

MAREE DEE – Embracing the Unexpected
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

LISA BURGESS – Lisa notes
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

TAMMY KENNINGTON – Restoring hope. Pursuing peace.
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

Now Let’s Link Up!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Is This Really Nonfiction? 3 Books Almost Too Weird to Be True
—Nonfiction November

The theme for week 4 of Nonfiction November is “Stranger than Fiction.” Link up with Christopher at Plucked from the Stacks.


Here are 3 nonfiction books I’ve read this year that almost don’t seem real.

1. Leaving the Witness
Exiting a Religion and Finding a Life
by Amber Scorah

Leaving the Witness

Amber Scorah was living her life as a faithful 3rd generation Jehovah’s Witness. But little by little, she began to see cracks in her religion. And she wanted out, even though she was now an undercover preacher in China. This is her story.

“Was I a good person? The righteous war of black versus white, right over wrong, good against bad, had given meaning to my life. It was comfortable to know that everyone was wrong and you were right.

“I had known who I was by which side I was on. But there are not only two sides, there are thousands of dimensions to things.

“Living in uncertainty is humbling and terrifying. Uncertainty is pain.”

2. The Biggest Bluff
How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win
by Maria Konnikova

The Biggest Bluff

Is it possible for a journalist to to learn how to play poker and become a professional tournament winner in a year? This book is about far more than just the game of poker though. Konnikova also learned lessons about how chance works in life.

“Here was the cruel truth: we humans too often think ourselves in firm control when we are really playing by the rules of chance.”

“More often than that, it’s not the best hand that wins. It’s the best player.”

“Thus my first real poker lesson isn’t about winning. It’s about losing.”

3. How God Works
The Science Behind the Benefits of Religion
by David DeSteno

How God Works

This isn’t actually about how God works per se, but about how religion works. DeSteno shares fascinating research about religious rituals among many belief systems from around the world.

“Uncertainty in the realms of morality and fate—the realms that religions dominate for many people—is taxing not only because it requires the brain to simulate so many options, but also because of the emotional consequences involved. And it’s here that belief comes into play.

“With belief—that God will intervene, that a ritual will heal, that a choice never to lie or cheat ensures the best outcomes—comes certainty.

“And with certainty comes a kind of inner peace.”

[more thoughts here on How God Works]

Have you read a nonfiction book that seemed almost too strange to be true? Share in the comments.