Conntecting the Dots

How Does a Yearly Focus Word Help Us Grow?

how does a focus word help you grow

 

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

14 Responses to “How Does a Yearly Focus Word Help Us Grow?”

  1. Lisa Swinger

    My husband felt ‘Next’ was the word God had given him for 2023. The word God has given me closely aligns with his, but my 2023 word is ‘New,’ and He brought the Scriptures you mentioned in Isaiah 43:18-18 to my heart. I look forward to all God shows us in the year ahead. Sending you love, Grace. Your heart always ministers to me. Thank you. ❤️

    Reply
    • Grace Fox

      Hi Lisa! Both of those words are good ones, and I like how they align. May 2023 be one filled with unexpected delights in your faith journey.

      Know you are loved,
      Grace

      Reply
  2. Pat Neudorf

    I had chosen a scripture – your verse -Isaiah 43:18-19 -have just entered my 80thyear- watching and waiting to see the “ne thing”. Thankful HE is the One making the way–

    Reply
    • Grace Fox

      Hi Pat:

      Isaiah 43:18-19 are such beautiful verses and filled with hope. Congratulations on your 80th, and may 2023 be filled with joy, my friend.

      Know you are loved,
      Grace

      Reply
  3. Kathy Dickson

    The word I received for this year is “hope.” 2022 was a devastating year for me in so many ways that I despaired even of life like Job. But thanks to Grace’s testimony to having a word for the year, I asked God for a word for me this year and He graciously gave me “hope”, just what I needed. I don’t expect this year to be better but at least I can thrive knowing I have hope in Jesus.

    Reply
    • Grace Fox

      Hi Kathy:
      I’m sorry that 2022 was devastating in so many ways. I can kinda relate to that. So many heartaches, so much loss. Your word for 2023 is a good one. We all need hope; without it, we perish. I want to encourage you to do a Google search for Bible verses containing the word “hope” and write them out. Personalize and pray them aloud as life-giving words. Expect God to meet you in the hard places. Expect Him to strengthen you and take you deeper in your relationship with Him. Expect Him to do exceedingly abundantly above anything you can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3). May 2023 be one that restores your hope and fills you with joy and peace.
      Know you are loved,
      Grace

      Reply
      • Kathy Dickson

        Thank you for your wonderful suggestions. I will definitely work on searching and applying scripture, especially praying them. My daughter received your devotional for Christmas and also gave her daughter one of yours as a gift as well. Thank you for your ministry, as it gives me much “hope!” Know you are also loved and appreciated,
        Kathy

        Reply
        • Grace Fox

          Thank you for the encouraging words, Kathy! I’m excited about your daughter and her daughter reading my books. I pray that they’ll find them to be a great blessing.

          Reply
  4. Sara Milgate

    The word the Lord gave me was refresh. I just had my 70th birthday and I struggled earlier this year as I faced this milestone birthday. I am encouraged to anticipate refreshment as I allow the Lord to use me to refresh others in perhaps new ways now that I’m 70! 😄

    Reply
    • Grace Fox

      Hi Sara:

      Congratulations on your milestone birthday! You’ve reached a good place where you have lots of life wisdom to share. “Father, please give Sara creative ways to refresh others and be refreshed herself in 2023. Fill her with joy and peace in abundance each day.”

      Know you are loved,
      Grace

      Reply
  5. Gerry Blumberg

    I’ve been choosing a word for the last ten years and have learned so much each year. This year my word is adapt. Last year was a difficult year and my word was season and I certainly walked through several seasons. Life changes daily around here so being able to trust God and adapt is going to be necessary.

    Reply
    • Grace Fox

      The ability to adapt is important, that’s for sure. On one missions trip I led to Romania, we referred to adaptability as being like a wet noodle. We could flex as the circumstances required.

      Reply
  6. Chrysanthemom

    During my first day back to journaling, I received the word “Comfort”.
    I’m thinking it over for a week and seeing how It fits . I try to find a new angle to looking at a word for different perspectives as the months roll by. In the past I’ve usually done well focusing on the word for a few months and then it gets lost in the busyness of life. I’m hoping to keep it in focus this year. I’m a quilter and I make a lot of quilts and give them to charities that “Comfort” and bless those whom need it. This quilting connection may keep me focused.

    Reply
    • Grace Fox

      The quilting connection is a great idea for staying focused on “comfort.” I once went to a craft store and found a decorative board to hang on the wall. It’s about eight inches long and six inches high. Then I found magnetic alphabet letters and spelled my focus word on the board to remind me daily.

      Reply

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