10 Words That Change Everything

Image/KarenJordanWhat was your “One Word” for 2016?

This year, 10 words changed everything for me. I focused on these words because they were the titles to several chapters in my book, Words That Change Everything, published this year by Leafwood Publishers.

I shared a little about the power of these words during an interview that Anita Brooks and I had on Bridges with Monica Schmelter on WHTN Christian Television Network.

I refocused on these 10 powerful words as I compiled the FREE 15-day devotional guide to Words That Change Everything: RESTNotes.

BookCover/WordsThatChangeEverythingBookCover/RESTNotesMy 10-word focus continued as I prepared to teach a Bible study based on my book at my church every week this fall.

I never imagined how a few words could change everything for me.

So for my last WordServe Water Cooler post for the year, I offer these 10 powerful words to you.

  1. REST. “The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:5-7 NIV). This scripture offers an effective prayer strategy for speaking truth to the warning signs of worry, symbolized by the acronym REST: Remember. Exalt. Surrender. Trust.
  2. Remember. “The Lord is near” (Phil. 4:5 NIV). We take the first step in overcoming our negative thoughts by seeking the powerful presence of God in our lives.
  3. Exalt. “In every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving . . .” (Phil 4:6 NIV). Praise can be a powerful weapon for us in our battle with worry. We can enter into God’s presence through praising Him (Ps. 100:4-5).
  4. Surrender. “Present your requests to God” (Phil 4: 6). In our day, the term “surrender” often means being taken into captivity. But in God’s kingdom, “surrender” suggests a renewed freedom from the enemy of our souls.
  5. Trust. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:7). God promises to guard our hearts and minds with His peace. God gives us specific instructions about how to embrace His peace—by changing our mental focus and exercising our faith.
  6. Solitude. “When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear” (Lam. 3:28-29 The Message). This scripture offers a powerful prayer strategy for stressful days. My writing life requires that I spend time alone without distractions. But at times, the isolation becomes my distraction.
  7. Silence. “Enter the silence” (Lam. 3:28). As we seek God in silence, the accuser (Rev. 12:10) always dangles threats and accusations.
  8. Prayer. “Bow in prayer” (Lam. 3:28). Prayer can be as natural as speaking with a good friend or as intimate as a whispered secret. It can occur at any time, no matter the circumstances. And God promises to listen when we call on His name: “And if we’re confident that he’s listening, we know that what we’ve asked for is as good as ours” (1 Jn. 5:15 MSG).
  9. Listen. “Don’t ask questions” (Lam. 3:29). How do you respond when someone won’t listen to you? Anger, rejection, or frustration? When Jesus instructed His disciples, He asked them on several occasions, “Are you listening to this? Really listening?” (Matt.11:15).
  10. Wait. “Wait for hope to appear” (Lam. 3:29). Waiting rooms can bring out the worst in us. Long periods of waiting hoist all kinds of emotional red flags—from impatience and worry to full-blown panic attacks. Reminders of past pain, traumas, and personal loss make our present trouble seem intolerable. The dark clouds roll in, and we can’t see the light of spiritual truth. However, waiting does not need to produce hopelessness for Christ-followers.

Do you have any “Words” that have changed everything for you?

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A Writer’s Life: Resolved — Ban New Year’s Resolutions

I failed at New Year’s Resolutions.

For years I prioritized my dos and don’ts for forward motion in the new year. I was eager. Determined.

And I always lost my meticulously prioritized list by mid-February.

Sigh.

Now I am all about one word.

One.

The Why of One Word

I’m repeating myself for those of you who have read my other blog posts about my now-seven year commitment to selecting one word for each new year. Pardon the re-run. I want others to discover the benefits of concentrating on a single word for 12 months — or as a friend pointed out, the 366 days comprising 2012.

The How of One Word

I start mulling over my word for the next year in early fall, usually around September. It’s woven into my faith journey. My prayer time and significant Scripture verses play a vital role in directing me to my word for the new year.

I know some of you reading this would say faith isn’t part of your life. At all.

Can we pause for a moment, sit on the opposite sides of the supposed chasm that separates us? What I’d like to whisper across that great divide is this: I respect where you are. I’m not shoving anything at you.

Your “how” will be different from my “how.” Consider the circumstances of the past year. Can you distill down to one word the forward motion you’d like to experience in 2012?

The What of One Word

In previous years, my words were:

  • 2006: gratitude (a gratitude journal revolutionized my glass-half-empty attitude)
  • 2007: simplify (severe illness morphed this word into survival)
  • 2008: content (being content with what I had — and yes, I bought a lot less)
  • 2009 & 2010: forgiveness (had a lot to learn & unlearn)
  • 2011: hope (choosing hope no matter the depth of my heartache)
  • 2012: trust
My words are examples to consider, not a mandatory list to choose from. If you remember nothing else from this post remember this:
Life is complicated enough. We’re writers. We deal with deadlines and word counts and reviews and real life people and imaginary ones (and both are frustrating.) The New Year’s Resolutions habit/guilt trip/expectation is another unneeded complication.
 
Think like a journalist. Or an editor. Or a novelist instructed to cut “x” number of words. Distill your dos and don’ts down to one word and then focus on that for the next 366 days. You’ll be changed when 2013 rolls around. Guaranteed — or your money back!
 
Are you ready to walk away from resolutions and focus on one word in 2012? Are you a one word believer? Have you already pick your 2012 word? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
 

Post Author: Beth K. Vogt

Beth K. Vogt is a non-fiction author and editor who said she’d never write fiction. She’s the wife of an air force physician (now in solo practice) who said she’d never marry a doctor—or anyone in the military. She’s a mom of four who said she’d never have kids. She’s discovered that God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” She writes contemporary romance because she believes there’s more to happily ever after than the fairy tales tell us.