A yearly focus word is a great tool to help us grow in our faith journey. One year, my word was “joy.” It reminded me to reframe the way I viewed difficulties. I learned to see them not as hindrances but as opportunities to experience God’s presence and promises in new ways.
Another year, my word was “listen.” It encouraged me to keep an ear open for the Holy Spirit’s whispers during the course of the day. It also prompted me to listen more intentionally to other people—to minimize distractions and truly hear the heart behind the words they were speaking.
In 2022, my word was “guard,” and it was ideal. Last year was one of the most difficult I’ve ever experienced. So much loss. So much pain. My focus word helped me guard my heart from sinking into despair and succumbing to anger over circumstances for which there were no easy answers. It helped me guard my tongue from speaking words that were not helpful. It even reminded me that God’s promises surround me, standing like a guard around my heart to protect me from the enemy’s fiery darts.
This year’s word, I believe, is “restore.”
“Restore” is a hope-filled word defined as “a bringing back to a former position or condition.” In some cases, the object restored comes back stronger than before and receives new purpose.
After last year’s onslaught of loss and disappointment, I welcome restoration. What will that look like? I have no clue, but I’m trusting the Good Shepherd to fulfill His role mentioned in Psalm 23:3 – “He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” (ESV)
The Bible contains 136 references to God’s restorative work and tells many stories of lives and relationships healed. I would love to spend a day away to dig deep and discover what each of those 136 references say about “restore.”
For now, though, here are three Scriptures that have already encouraged me:
- 1 Peter 5:10– “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
- Mark 8:25 – “Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.”
- Isaiah 43:18-19 – “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
God is up to something good, and I wait with anticipation to see what He wants to do.
Do you ask God to give you a focus word at the start of a new year? If so, what’s your word for 2023? Leave a comment, okay? I’d love to know, and your comment might inspire and encourage another reader.
#bgbg2 #oneword #restore