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Just a Word


Graphic by Carolyne Parker

New year. New possibilities. New goals. New me.


As I prayed in fall of 2022, asking how I needed to change. What I needed to stop and what I needed to be or do, one word kept coming to my attention – INTENTIONAL.


I stopped making new year's resolutions a couple years back. I mean, what is a resolution anyways? My handy, dandy Bing dictionary defines resolution as “a firm decision to do or not to do something”; or “the action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter”.


One day I was talking with my women’s connect group leader and she shared how she chooses a word each year. Intentional may be the word God is giving me. I thought about it. No setting goals that end up cast aside before Easter, saying they actually survive the frost of winter. No separate goals for my personal and professional life. I liked the sound of that. Intentional became my word for 2023. My precious one word. One word to rule them all!

Intentional

For twelve months I’ve been intentional in how I choose to spend my time and every resource He has given me. Intentionality began with getting to know Jesus better and allowing knowledge of Him to permeate every single facet of my life. I traveled back in time to the once trending question, “What would Jesus do?” And set out to do that to the best of my ability. Before I knew it, I had a greater awareness of how I spoke to others and responded in various situations. Intentional has been a game changing word for me.

Intentional (adjective) – “done on purpose; deliberate” (Bing)

I was ready to carry my one word into 2024. Then as the year was closing out, I heard His whisper – listen. I must admit, I did chuckle in my devotion and prayer times and say, “Are You sure, Father? I mean, I really like this one and I have grown a lot with it. I could totally do another 12 months with being intentional.” I believe our Creator is a lover of conversation and He knows my heart. I speak to Him seriously and sometimes I get a bit silly. I enjoy spending time with Him. I can be myself with Him because – well, He knows me! He created me right down to my squishy brain matter and my funny bone! He let me be silly, then He just kept bringing the word listen back into my thoughts through the preached word, devotions, scripture-digging, and conversations.


Haven’t I been more intentional in my listening these past twelve months? While I have been working on my listening muscle along with other sensitive muscles of watching and feeling, I sense His prompting that the new year will require me to exercise this particular muscle in a greater, more endurance-training kind of way. I am not to put away what I have already learned, but to continue growing. I believe He is preparing me to need it more than ever before. So, here I go into 2024 – ready to listen – with intentionality.

In the beginning was the Word,

and the Word was with God,

and the Word was God.

John 1:1, NIV

There is so much to be considered in our words. We are reminded often to choose our words carefully when we speak. Words spoken at the right time can cause others to take a step back and reconsider their actions. Words spoken calmly and eloquently can be a blessing to the spirit of the hearer. Words can tear us down and words can build us up. Words can be defeating or life-giving. People’s words are good and bad. God’s words only bring light, never darkness.


God’s words formed all of creation when He said, “Let there be…”. – Genesis 1

He is the Word. – John 1:1

The Word lives in Him and He lives in me. – John 1:14

His Word is life. – John 4:50


My friend, if someone has spoken darkness and pain into your life in 2023, it’s time to give their words to Jesus. You have the choice to carry into 2024 the hurt of past years or to open the door of 2024 with a new freedom.


Jesus's words gave life where there was death and with His words the leper was healed. Jesus can, and will, lighten your burden and replace your darkness with Light.


If the Holy Spirit inside of you is reminding you of pain caused to another by your words, take those to Jesus, too. Ask His forgiveness. With His love and forgiveness, listen. Listen to how He wants to restore your heart and the heart of the one who received those words in anger. Listen to what your part is to be – then do your part.


I’m leaning in. Listening. How about you?


Send me a message so I can pray with you and for you in 2024.

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