My #OneWord365 for 2017

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I resisted my one word this year. We’ve lived in this house now for 13 years and I will always remember the New Year’s Eve when we sat in the living room, while there was a ping pong tournament happening downstairs. My mother-in-law asked us what ONE WORD we wanted to focus on for the next year. Not a resolution. Not a list of goals. Just one word.

God-breathed.

Divinely inspired.

Personal.

The candles were flickering and the Christmas tree sparkled and I knew then, like I knew truth in my bones, that my word was “Light.” Not just as in the opposite of darkness, but as in not heavy. I had been chasing down dreams and carrying burdens that weren’t mine to carry. I knew I was supposed to lean into Jesus’ reminder that His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

Light. 

So, that became my practice, year after year. Choosing one word.

Some were memorable. Some rocked my world. Some shook me in my boots.

In 2011, it was Roar.

In 2012, it was Soar.

In 2013, it was Exponential.

In 2014, it was Anointing.

In 2015, it was Gather.

In 2016, it was Write.

These words have been like golden threads throughout my year. When I would be distracted by the next sparkly idea, my One Word helped keep me grounded. It’s even become a movement.

I’d lost a bit of my sizzle this year. My word was “write” and I still don’t have a book to show. No book contract to celebrate. No publication date to announce. I’ve had to make peace with the idea that this book is yet another long pregnancy. SheLoves was a long pregnancy. My first book is too, it seems.

I was ready to get out the markers and make plans and shift direction. There must be something wrong with how I go about life and creativity, I said to myself. I need to be more of a Myers-Briggs “J.” The voice in my head was accusing me and waving a sharp finger at me. It hissed: Why don’t you do a better job of writing that book now, Idelette?

And then, on Christmas Eve, my mother-in-law called us into her room for our annual girls’ tradition. It’s a moment of gathering the girls together. She gives us a small gift—a scarf, a pair of PJ pants, a necklace, a pair of sparkly earrings. Always something meaningful. This year, she gave us a word. We got to pick a scarf and wrapped inside the scarf was a small green ceramic pear with a word etched into it.

I opened up mine and it read, “Serendipity.”

What does the word mean to you, Gwen asked.

O, great, I thought. Just when I think I should pull up my socks and become more of a Type A person, more left-brained, make more plans, this little word pops up.

I realized I had been fighting hard against the voice in my head.

I held “serendipity” in my hands and I let it speak to me, albeit reluctantly.

Go with the flow, it said. Listen to the Spirit. Live fully surrendered to the Divine.

This is how I live! I said, a little exasperated.

I had wanted something different. I had expected God to swoop in and tell me, Now it’s time to make some plans and follow through, Idelette.

But that was not the message.

Instead, I felt a gentle affirmation. A gentle light flickering, saying, Be who you are. Be exactly who you are. I’ve created you this way. Don’t give up on being you. 

Keep surrendering. Keep expecting surprises around the corner. Keep going with My flow.

The next morning, I opened gifts from my husband when I pulled out a beautiful frame. It had a Pablo Picasso quote in it that read: “Everything you can imagine is real.”

The tears started streaming down my face.

It said to me: Be who you are. Keep dreaming, Idelette. Keep imagining a different world. Don’t give up.

Don’t give up on being you.

In the afternoon, our niece gave me a beautiful word in golden scripted letters for my desk. It said, Dream.

One. Two. Three. Gentle, but profound affirmations.

Serendipity. Imagine. Dream.

Be who you are.

Ok, Lord, I am listening. I am listening. I am not giving up on who You have created me to be.

I won’t give up on being me.

Being me, with all my faults and shortcomings feels deeply humbling. It requires full surrender. It’s always an adventure.

That also sealed my One Word for the year. My word for 2017 is FLOW.

There is a River of Life … I know I am meant to feed the River this year. I am meant to go with this River and flow right along with the Spirit of God.

I want to keep going with my God’s flow. So, for 2017, I am jumping in and I am committing to feed the River. I want to be part of more Life on our earth, more Life-giving water and goodness. I can only do that fully immersed, fully surrendered to my God.

Deep breaths. Let’s do this.

____________________

My dear SheLovelys, what is your One Word for 2017?

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Idelette McVicker
I like soggy cereal and I would like to go to every spot on the map of the earth to meet our world’s women. I dream of a world where no women or girls are for sale. I dream of a world where women and men are partners in doing the work that brings down a new Heaven on earth. My word last year was “roar” and I learned it’s not about my voice rising as much as it is about our collective voices rising in unison to bring down walls of injustice. This year, my own word is “soar.” I have three children and this place–right here, called shelovesmagazine.com–is my fourth baby. I am African, although my skin colour doesn’t tell you that story. I am also a little bit Chinese, because my heart lives there amongst the tall skyscrapers of Taipei and the mountains of Chiufen. Give me sweet chai and I think I’m in heaven. I live in Vancouver, Canada and I pledged my heart to Scott 11 years ago. I believe in kindness and calling out the song in each other’s hearts. I also believe that Love covers–my gaps, my mistakes and the distances between us. I blog at idelette.com and tweet @idelette.
Idelette McVicker

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Idelette McVicker
  • There’s so SO much that I love about this! I’m excited for you, Idelette. Yes, keep on being you please. Let the Spirit carry you. Feed the river. But also, drink deeply from it. I pray that 2017 would be refreshing to you.

    I am still awaiting my oneword for next year…

    Also, you have the coolest mother-in-law! I hope I can create meaningful traditions like this for my children that carry on into adulthood and can expand to include their spouses.

    • Thank you, Olive. Amen to drinking deeply from the River.

      I do have an amazing mother-in-law. I’m so grateful for her.

  • Melaney G Lyall

    Breathe Deeply!!! Let’s go river rafting!!

  • Karen Trigg

    This post! Oh my, how I love She Loves! And you!!
    This posts speaks deeply to me. To exactly the place I am.Thank you for letting us see inside. Thank you for encouraging us. I am excited to journey with you and others in 2017 learn to love well with this life we’ve been given.

    • Thank you so much, Karen! 2017 here we come!

  • Kelly Hausknecht Chripczuk

    Lovely, Idelette. I so relate to that internal argument and they gentle way God’s Spirit has a habit of breaking through and offering a more expansive way. Also, what a gift your mother in law is!

    • She totally is. Amazing woman.

      Thanks for reading, Kelly. May you have a beautiful 2017.

  • Tasha

    This is so beautiful. “Don’t give up on being you.” Your words are striking a chord in me. I can so relate to hearing that voice that also tells me I “need” to be more of a J, type A and left-brained, and that there is something wrong with me if I am not. Yes, please don’t give up! Your courage is is making waves and forging new streams of life for so many.

    • Thank you so much, Tasha. It means a lot to hear that echoed back.

  • Maggie

    My #OneWord365 for 2017 is Understanding. Finding the common thread that sews us all together. As well as going back and exploring my own story and understanding myself better.
    Thank you for this inspiration.

    • I think “Understanding” would be one of my life words. I always want to know how things fit together, how life works or how we belong together. I LOVE it!

  • “Don’t give up on being you” is coming through loud and clear.

    And it’s good for me to hear about your struggles, your internal wrestling match with yourself.
    Sometimes we imagine that strong women never doubt themselves and have arrived at a place of certainty all at once.

    • Thanks so much, Michele. I appreciate that.

    • Bev Murrill

      Michele, YOU are a strong woman. Do you ever doubt yourself?

  • I love how God uses gentle little affirmations to confirm to us His will. I had that happen throughout the past few weeks as well. So, 2017 is my year of “pause”. Actually one SheLoves posts help confirm that for me, just as you got three affirmations. I’m a little scared of this word because I am such a “doer”. I need to have things to do, things to concentrate on, to occupy my hands. But I have missed out on so many opportunities to minister to friends because I haven’t paused long enough to see the need there. The past few week has woken me up to the need to pause! I love your word (although that one would be scary for me too!!). Praying that we all grow this each and embrace our words!!

    • Beautiful, Keri! Thank you for sharing your word and the process … our whole theme this month was Pause. I love that it’s inspiring you to do the same. It always feels like we get to take a deep breath and walk a little slower and enjoy. May this word be a deep blessing to you.

  • sgibsonneve .

    Thank you for sharing this! As I read, I could feel the struggle and then, I felt as if a weight was being lifted and I could feel myself breathing deeper. It sounds like a wonderful, affirming and life-giving word.
    I could relate to a lot of this. My word for 2016 was “present” as in, be here, in this moment. I’ve done some growing and it HAS had an impact. My word for 2017 came to me back in November and I feel its power already. My word is “Unashamed.” I have been so torn by my feelings of inadequacy, of failure, of SHAME in the last few years. I thought that motherhood and family would give me more strength in my identity and would take away that uncertainty – I had no idea how being a parent breaks you open and forces you to deal with your brokenness. I know that my lack of believe in God’s grace FOR ME and my beauty and rightness in His eyes is holding me back. My faith baggage makes me uncomfortable even saying those words and this year, I want to learn how to be humble and yet also, loving embracing who God has created me to be.

    • It was like a weight was lifted—you’re so right.

      Unashamed sounds strong and beautiful and with a face radiant towards the Son.

      Blessings,
      xo

  • Laurie

    My word for 2017 is beauty, I feel God asking me to see, notice and seek out the beauty that is all around me on a daily basis.

  • Barbie Warwick

    Oh my word, I was just fantasizing about daytimers and schedules!
    This is something I do because I am such a creative/random person and often envy my friends who know their way around a spreadsheet.
    Idelette, this post spoke right to my heart. I will not be a better person by being someone else. I am who I am.
    My word for 2017 is:

    Be.

    • O, Barbie … This is for us, isn’t it? Let’s remind each other to BE who we were created to be. I love your word.

  • Helene Burns

    Your words brought me to tears Idelette because I know your beautiful heart… yes to flow! Yes to being who you were created to be. I love this post so much. I love you so much. xo

    My word is Harvest… I believe it will be a year of gathering and reaping, and sowing and gathering and reaping…. ‘You crown the year with a fruitful harvest; the paths are worn down by carts overflowing with unstoppable growth.’ Ps 65:11

    • O, that is the perfect word for you! I LOVE IT!!!!!

  • “I want to be part of more Life on our earth, more Life-giving water and goodness. I can only do that fully immersed, fully surrendered to my God.” Me, too! I want to stay fully surrendered, because then I can really be the me God wants me to be. It really is a freedom when we surrender everything to God so we don’t carry burdens that aren’t meant for us. My one word 2017 found me. It has been showing up everywhere and jumping out at me. It is “wait.”

    • Ooooooooo, now that’s quite a word …

      Thank you, Gayle. Your words here are an encouragement.

  • I love this. I love that you are going to be who you are. My last three words have been hope, rooted and this year ‘take hold’. I’m really not sure what next year will be. ok that’s not true! I think it might be supposed to be ‘pray’ but I am resisting 🙂

    • Hahaha. Resistance is a good sign. 🙂

      Thank you so much for your encouragement.

  • Nichole Bilcowski Forbes

    Idelette … I love this! Why would you ever think of trying to be other than the magnificent you that God created you to be?! 💙 You are pefecrtly His and that is all you ever need be.

    I’m still feeling out my phrase for this year. Since November I’ve been meditating on two thoughts that I believe will frame my 2017. The first is the idea of living open-handed. What does it look like to live a life that is an ongoing offering to God? What does it feel like to keep an open hand in relationships? To hold loosely on to hurts and offensives so God can easily heal those tender places? To offer goodness and love to others with gentleness and dignity?

    The second idea is what does it mean to be a witness? To receive the stories of others and to relay them in a way that is healing, life-giving and empowering? To speak (and live out) the goodness of God in such a way that it draws others to Him? To observe and drink in my own life so deeply that I don’t miss a moment.

    Somewhere in there is my 2017.

    • O, well … sometimes I really think I “should be” more organized, etc. etc. etc. 🙂

      Now you know what I struggle with. Hehe.

      O. My. Word. I love that piece about being a witness … stunning.

      And to live a life as an ongoing offering to God? Beautiful.

    • Also: PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE consider coming to Rise Up. I seriously feel like you need to be there. If there’s any way …

      • Nichole Bilcowski Forbes

        Lol. I am considering it. Deeply considering it and trying figure out how to make it work. Please keep praying!

  • Leah Kostamo

    YES!! — we need you to be who YOU are, Idelette. We are all the better for it. xx

  • Colleen Reid

    I am in tears. There is nothing like that confirmation from the Spirit. The full sense of being loved, being known.

    • Absolutely. Thank you, Colleen!

  • Bev Murrill

    I don’t know my word yet, but I do know that God has given me that scripture from Ezekiel – there is a River whose streams make glad the City of God. God is in the midst of her. She shall not be moved – and it’s done me well in this tough year. I’ll ask God for my word. Thanks for the encouragement Oh Mighty One. x

    • That is so stunning. Thank you for the reminder, Bev.

  • “I am jumping in and committing to feed the river.” Love this so much.

  • Emily B

    Although I don’t comment often, I feel that I need to share my word today…
    My one word for 2017 is ‘first’. I adopted my 2 year old little girl just 8 weeks ago, and it has been a blur of emotions, challenges, whirlwind meltdowns and fragile foundations.
    Although I am resisting it because I know it will be hard, I think that this word seems to be whispering to my soul…
    – See and appreciate so many ‘first’ moments with my little girl
    – Put my little girl’s needs first, with intention
    – Acknowledge that the ‘first’ thing I may need to do when I have a rare moment to myself is NOT the washing up, but stopping and breathing and creating and writing…
    – Remember that I am ‘first’ in the eyes of an amazing God, even when it feels like He is so far away…
    Loved reading the words of others too – so encouraging.

    • fiona lynne

      Emily, I just wanted to write and encourage you – how beautiful to have a brand new daughter in your life this Christmas! I love the word that you have picked, and the intentions behind it. May you know truly that God FIRST loved you and your wee girl and that love will carry you on the good days and the hard days. x

    • This is so so beautiful, Emily. Thank you for sharing! I love your word.

  • fiona lynne

    Oh I really love this. I compare myself far too quickly to people who are nothing like me, and then wonder why I struggle when I try and copy their strategies. “Don’t give up on being you.” I am learning that the greatest gift I can give myself is to own who I am fully, without apology. And somehow, when I do that, I find myself knowing God better too.

    I didn’t pick one word last year, I think because I was in a space where I felt stuck. There already feels like there is greater freedom – internal and external – this year, and a word keeps inviting itself in, so maybe I’ll try the practice again.

    • I hear you … and I’d lost some of that OneWord sizzle this year too, but it was so good to reflect and take it up again. I can’t wait to see you so very soon.

  • Karen Brown

    “Be who you are. Be exactly who you are. I’ve created you this way. Don’t give up on being you.” AMEN! I just wrote about my OneWord: Ask. I’ll share it this week. Your post inspires me to ASK God to help me be the best version of me… and not someone else. Breathe deep grace…
    Thanks for sharing this.

    • Thank you so much, Karen! I am so grateful these words inspire others too.

  • Love this! I can’t wait to see how God uses this in your life and SheLoves this year. My word for 2017 is rhythms. I wrote about it today, how I am seeking to find the unforced rhythms that will help me grow deep this year: http://www.nicoletwalters.com/2017/establishing-unforced-rhythms/ Breathing deep with you today!

  • Flow… What a hope-filled word. I think of the power, strength, and vivacity of a river but also its peace and life-giving nature. My word for 2016 was Enough and as I mulled and prayed, Capacity kept coming to mind. I found a peace through “Enough” but know that some areas I can do more and others I need so scale back – I’m praying for discernment as I maximize my Capacity this year. (So this month’s theme here is especially fitting!)

  • I loved this! And I am enjoying the comments below….I love the diversity of words.

    This past year was such a difficult year that I’ve been a bit hesitant to step out and hear for 2017 to be completely honest but this has given me the kick I needed. Thanks much lovely lady! x

  • O Idelette! I just needed this today. Life has been upended again and I’m needing to reinvent myself… again. The urge is so strong to be someone else, to navigate this as someone else. I need to be faithful to the one who has brought me this far, and to who He is making me. So much love to you, beautiful friend!

  • kanishanashay

    Mine is expansion!

  • Tracy Nelson

    ABUNDANT

  • I am having trouble finding the words to express myself. His spoke to me so deeply. I hadn’t thought of having a word for the year but I will now. Thank you for giving me something to ponder tonight.

  • Melanie Avila

    My word for 2017…Be.

  • Shelley Taylor

    These words are beautiful and truly spoke to me this morning albeit, i’m reading them months after you posted them. They came, today, truly God-sent! I LOVE WORDS and when i read what your husband gave you, my heart sank in deep gratitude for all He’s blessed me with. You bless us deeply and FLOW God’s words that we know came straight from your heart, not just your lips. Thank you for this! All my love, xo