I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Monday, January 3, 2011

Banning the Rigmarole of New Year's Resolutions

2011 is my sixth year of no New Year resolutions. Know what? I don't miss them.

I don't miss compiling the list. I don't miss wondering if I'd catalogued all the things I needed to do for the next 365 days. I don't miss the search for the lost list--usually about six weeks after I'd written it. I don't miss admitting I forgot most of my resolutions. And I most definitely don't miss the way the new year always rolled around again, demanding another list of resolutions--which I'd lose again.

Do you relate? Then join me in focusing on one word--just one word--during 2011.

I start mulling over my word for the upcoming year in late September. A word pops up in my quiet time. A particular verse thrums in my mind, alive with portent. This year, Isaiah 43:19 (NIV) jumped out at me:

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.

Distilled down to one word, Isaiah 43:19 speaks of hope. I hung a silver-plated Christmas ornament of the word "hope" over my desk. (See photo.) I printed out Isaiah 43:19 and taped the verses in my kitchen and bedroom. My husband tucked several "hope" mementos into my Christmas stocking.

What were my words in years past?
2006: gratitude (I kept a gratitude journal and found my "glass-half-empty" attitude revolutionized.)
2007: simplify (A severe illness turned this word into survival. I embraced simpler things in ways I never imagined.)
2008: content--as in "be content with such things as you have" (Hebrews 13:5) (I bought a lot less that year!)
2009 & 2010: forgiveness (I had a lot to learn and unlearn about forgiveness.)

Why not abandon the rigmarole of resolutions and adopt a word for 2011? Maybe you've already written a long list of want-tos and won'ts for the next year. Could you summarize them with one word? (Ah, the editor in me shows up!)

It's easy to forget a list of resolutions, no matter how good they are. But you'll be surprised how one little word can change you! Hope applies to all areas of my life: my relationships, my writing life, my faith.

So, what's your word for 2011?


  1. Great blog, Beth. My word for 2011 is "learn"... still searching for a verse on which to focus for the year. Any suggestions?

    Hugs, Becky

  2. Hi, Becky, and welcome to the blog!
    This is the first verse that popped into my head:
    Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for you souls." (Matthew 11:29 NAS)
    Here's The Message version:

    Matthew 11: 28-30"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

    I love the line: Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.

    Anyone else care to join in?

  3. How funny! Before 2010 came to a close, I prayed for what God wanted to show me in 2011. As a result, I dubbed 2011 as the Year of Hope. He is calling me to surrender control of different areas of my life so I can cling to the Hope in Him.

    Beautiful post, Soul!

  4. I like this, Beth! The one word that keeps popping into my life lately is commit. Two synonyms for commit are obligate and entrust and I claim them both for 2011. Obligate time to writing and entrust that writing to the Lord.

    I love "learn the unforced rhythms of grace".

  5. I love that we are focusing on the same word, Lisa! I'm focusing on Is. 43:19. Do you have a particular verse that your word is "parked on?"

    Love you, Soul!

  6. Pat, you do know commit, obligate and entrust equals three words, right? LOL! I noticed that your last sentence read, " . . . entrust that writing to the Lord."
    So, maybe choose "entrust" as your one word (knowing it involves commitment and obligation.) Just a thought. Or pick "commit," knowing it involves obligation and entrusting.
    Sigh, TEE shows up again!

  7. Beautiful, Beth -- thanks. The first name of the pen name God gave me is Hope. I'm tuning in now to see what my "word" might be for this year.

  8. You are truly a woman after my own heart! I've given up New Year's resolutions as well and I don't miss them at all. I always have a new verse for my upcoming year, but I've never boiled it down to just a word. I tried it after reading your post and immediately felt an answer.
    My verse this year is I Thessalonians 5:24 - Faithful is He who calls you and He will also bring it to pass. My word for the year is courage!
    Thanks Beth, as always, your keen insights help me grow closer to God.

  9. I love this, Beth! While I do definitely have a list of "want to/need tos" for 2011 (because I'm always motivated by lists whether or not it's New Year's-time!), your one-word/verse is such a wonderful idea...and your word and verse so resonate with me. In fact, before I even read your post this morning, I wrote in my prayer journal that I have so much hope for this coming year...And, I have that verse you mentioned written on a markerboard on my fridge! And during an extended family grab-bag this this weekend, I came away with a necklace with the word "hope" inscribed on it...so, I feel all kindred-spirity with you at the moment! :) Thank you for your post...and, if you don't mind, I think I'll be borrowing your word!

  10. Dee, I love that your pen name is "Hope"--how appropriate to a woman who is such an encourager.
    Edie, my daughter Christa's word for 2011 is courage too. This will help me pray for you.
    Melissa, borrow hope, by all means! I love kindred-spirit friends!

  11. Beth, I love your post. :) I never have done New Year's resolutions because I know I won't keep them. :) Last month, I began asking the Lord what word or concept He wanted me to focus on for this year. Yesterday at church, He brought together different things He's been showing me, and my word is: "disciple." Learning to be a fully committed disciple of Jesus. I'm still praying on my verse but the verse that jumped out at me yesterday during our service was Luke 9:23 ~ "And He was saying to them all,'If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me." This will be a hard one to live out, but I'm excited to walk more closely with Jesus as I learn how to be a more committed disciple.

  12. "Disciple."
    Wonderful, challenging word.
    Can't wait to see how God works this out in your life, Jeanne.

  13. Beth,
    This is another fabulous blog post! My word for 2011 is Prosperity (in the things of the Lord, not necessarily financially...). I'm still waiting for the verse. I think I'll search for it tomorrow during my quiet time with God! ;)

  14. Thank you for the encouraging words, Alycia!
    I am intrigued by the word you chose--prosperity--and your application of it. Like it, like it a lot. Let me know when you find that verse.

  15. My word for 2011 is actually 2 words. I know... I couldn't make it simple but this is what I'm hanging my hat on this year: NO EXCUSES!

    I'm my own worst enemy when it comes to writing. This year I refuse to accept any excuses from myself.

    Thanks for an outstanding post, Beth. You are, and remain, my hero!

  16. Right back atcha', Reebs!
    And I like your two words. TEE approves: No Excuses. Of course, you could whittle it down to one by putting the word "Excuses" inside one of those red circles with a line through it--know what I mean?

  17. Another fantastic, thought-provoking post, Beth! After reading it, I pondered words I would like to have for the upcoming year, words like "healing" and "freedom." I also pondered the words I have used to sum up years past, words like "long-suffering" and "seriously?!"

    In the end, your post sparked a wonderful discussion with my husband about the coming year and what we hope it will bring. I decided my word will be ENCOUNTER. The dictionary defines encounter as meetings that are either brief and by chance, or full of conflict and opposition. But definition #7 at dictionary.com was my favorite: "a meeting of two or more people...conducted to promote direct emotional confrontations among the participants."

    All three of these fit, as I want wonderful, God-ordained "chance" meetings that make a difference for the people I meet. I want to meet and contend against the difficulties and opposition that come my way. But most of all, I want to have a direct and emotional encounter with God this year. I want to seek Him and know Him in a new and meaningful way.

    Here is my verse:
    "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you ENCOUNTER various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." ~James 1:2-4 NASB

    I love you Beth, and I am so thankful for our Ponderer encounter!

  18. I found my verse! 1 Samuel 3:19 "Thus Samuel grew and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground."
    I don't know how many times I've read that chapter and missed that verse!

  19. JOY!!!!!!

    That's my word... and emotion for 2011!