FOCUS: Setting the Stage for an Amazing Year

“…I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward–to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us.” – Philippians 3:14-15 (MSG)

Happy New Year!

I bet you’ve been thinking about what you’d like to accomplish this year—what changes you’d like to make. Most of us do. A new year—a fresh start—always seems to be accompanied by hope.

But the excitement of possibilities can quickly be dashed by the reality that a new year is just 365 more days—days that will not see any improvement without some effort on our part. We must be intentional about where we’re headed or we’ll wind up right where we’ve been—or worse.

New Year’s Day has come and gone. But it’s only January 2nd! There are still 364 days left in 2015. And I’m hoping to make the best of them.

This year I’m keeping it simple. In lieu of resolutions, I am focusing on just one word.

You may already be aware of this concept. I was first introduced to it last year. Basically, instead of making New Year’s resolutions and pursuing goals, you choose one word that will become your focus for the year.

Now, I wasn’t really sure what that looked like when I started last year. But I can tell you that it had a big impact on me. My word for last year was SELFLESS. And as I placed that word in front of me throughout the year, God made me more aware of what it takes to let go of my own desires for the sake of others. He opened my eyes to ways I was not living this out in my life, and guided me through amazing opportunities to bless others. I wish I could say SELFLESS was clearly in my focus every single day, but I can’t. However, just declaring that one word as my focus—my theme—for the year, the Lord brought it back into my vision over and over again. And I’ve learned lessons that will stay with me as I go forward.

As I shared this concept with my husband, David, back in November, we decided to choose one word as a couple for 2015. We want our focus to be the same. In fact, we chose the word FOCUS.



One thing we’ve noticed the last couple of years is where we place our focus—our attitude and perspective—makes a HUGE difference in everything we do. We want to explore this more and see what God has to show us and how He will change us throughout this year.

What can you hope to gain by choosing one word to focus on this year?
•  A closer relationship with the Lord.
•  Direction on working through trouble areas in your life.
•  Improved relationships with others—especially your spouse and children (if you have them).
•  New knowledge and understanding of God and His truth.
•  Stronger faith.
•  Greater dependence on God.
•  A new perspective on life.
•  Becoming more like Christ.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to get to the end of the year and see that you’ve grown in all these areas?

Last year I sort of fumbled through the year. But this year I want to be more intentional about using this focused approach. So I’ve made a list of some ideas to make the best of a one word focus. If you are thinking about going the one word route, these suggestions might be helpful to you as well.


9 Ways to Make the Most of Your ONE WORD for the Year

Whether you choose to focus on one word this year or you are setting goals for things you would like to accomplish as a wife or husband or as a couple, January is the month to get it all going.

Throughout this month, we will have posts on how together you can set the stage for an amazing year. David will share Jesus’ teachings from the Sermon on the Mount that will help keep your focus on those things that will bring fulfillment in your life and marriage. And I’ll have some more ideas on ways to start this year off right and grow deeper in your relationship with God and your spouse.

Remember, you’re in this life together…you’re one in marriage. And for your year to be the best it can be, you need to spend time as a couple early in the year to get started in the right direction.

Couple Connect is a great opportunity to spend time together regularly to communicate with each other. It’s simply a scheduled time to meet together as husband and wife to talk about what’s going on and make plans. It’s also a time to work through issues and discuss decisions that need to be made. This month would be a great time to begin using this powerful tool in your marriage. You can learn more about it and how to design a Couple Connect time that fits your life situation in this post. Or download our free ebook here: Couple Connect – A Simple Weekly Plan to Stay Close for a Lifetime.

As you stand at the starting point of this new year and look forward, what do you see? Do you wonder what lies ahead? Are you full of hope that this will be an amazing year?

It can be, you know. No matter what comes along—good or bad. It can be amazing because God is with us and He longs to lead us, help us, and teach us. That’s what one word is all about. That’s what this life is all about. Getting to know Him better as we walk by His side and follow His lead. And isn’t that what we all hope for?

Are you ready for a new adventure this year? Why not try using one word…as an individual or together as a couple. This might just be the most amazing year yet!

We pray the Lord will bless you and your marriage this year in ways beyond what you can imagine!

Grace and peace,


For more about the one word concept, here are two websites with some good background and tips (including how to choose your word):  

Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Photo by Lichtmagnet via pixabay (CC0), cropped, text/filters added

About Sabra Penley

A simple wife and mom. Dedicated to the Lord. Cherishes her husband and kids. Delights in encouraging others and sharing the beautiful truths of God.