My Favorite Practice for the New Year

Last year I tried something new. Rather than choosing one word to launch me into the next year, I chose one verse from God’s word. (We did this with Contenders of the Faith in October when we based a month-long series on one verse—ok, two—from Jude.)

I can look back over my shoulder and see how God has taken one verse and used it to weave together all the lessons He’s taught me over the course of a year.

I’m loving the practice so much that I’m repeating it this year.

My Favorite Practice for the New Year

Choosing one verse as my anchor for the year allows me to connect everything God is teaching me. It naturally fosters intentionality in what I choose to listen to, read, and study. It helps me better communicate what God is teaching me, because “What did you learn this year?” can be a ridiculously overwhelming question. With one verse, it doesn’t have to be.

One small verse can propel us toward big picture perspective.

My husband gave me this bracelet, and I can’t get the words out of my heart. They originate from a precious verse, Ruth 3:11, my one verse for 2018: And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman. (ESV)

Ruth 3:11

I want to share with you how I’m asking God to use this one verse in 2018. My prayer is that you might choose your own verse and let God roadmap your year as well. (If this verse resonates with you, then I’d love for you to join me. I’ll share some specific things I’m learning throughout the year and tag them with the phrase “one verse” to make them easy to find.)

Here’s how I’ll use one verse for the next 365 days:

First, I’ll break my one verse into three chunks; those sections will guide my year.

  1. And now, my daughter, do not fear
  2. I will do for you all that you ask
  3. For all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman

I’ll read other books and study other passages, but this will be my framework for 2018. It will be the verse that everything points back to, the truth that ties together my future chapters in this fresh new year. I’ll begin and end with bookend words God has chosen in all His kindness to speak over me: “my daughter” and “worthy.”

I like the simple notion of hinging my bible study and my reading, (even my yess and nos) on one line uttered from the mouth of God. It seems like an uncomplicated way to hide His word in my heart and let everything else flow from that place of trust.

In the spring, I’ll start with that first section: And now, my daughter, do not fear.

I’ll explore Lot’s daughters’ and Pharaoh’s daughter’s stories. I’ll study Esther, brought up by her cousin, Mordecai. I want to become more familiar with the bleeding woman whom Jesus called daughter. Next I’ll examine the phrase “daughter of Zion” and “daughter of my people,” which pops up all throughout the prophetic books. Then I’ll finish up by comparing the only other place in scripture that both “daughter” and “fear not” appear together: the book of John.

I’ll select books to read (from all genres*) that elaborate on familial bonds as well as wounds, on courage, and the delicate thread of trust that weaves together our deepest relationships.

During summer, I’ll focus on the second phrase: I will do for you all that you ask…

I’ll scour scripture for stories of God’s faithfulness, I’ll count the promises He’s kept. I’ll ask questions about desire and longing, prayer and petition. Most importantly, I’ll focus on God’s character and how the depth of my understanding of it affects my faith in Him. I’m saving Isaiah Old and New (a book that’s been on my list for ages) for then.

Finally, I’ll dig into the phrase: for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman.

I’ll let it launch me into a study of God’s omniscience. I’ll seek to understand the term “worthy” in biblical context. Then I’ll dive into Jesus’ view toward women and finish the year by reading stories about women and searching for books written about the beautiful truth proclaimed in scripture that we are intimately known by God.

If you have practiced this habit of choosing one verse for your year, how has God used this, what do you love, and what are you changing?  I’d love to hear from you!

Happy 2018!



*A side note on books: 

I love to select books written by authors whose life experiences and backgrounds differ from mine. When I limit my choices to books written by people who think as I do, believe as I do, and live exactly as I do, I tragically limit my learning. When I invite God to help me choose what I should read next, it always surprises me how He can use any voice He wants to teach, inspire, and heal.

With that said, I always, always get to know the author before I dig into their story. I flip to the back of the book or click on the About the Author link before investing in the story. Who we are and what we believe shapes what story we tell. Though God can use any voice, He always speaks the clearest to me through His word, because He is the Author who wants nothing more than a relationship with us.

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2 Responses to My Favorite Practice for the New Year

  1. Misty January 3, 2018 at 6:35 am #

    Kelly I love this! You have inspired me! I think I will do the same. I have prayed about one word for the year for the past couple of years and the Lord has not really given me one. However, I came across a verse while studying Scriptures pertaining to inspiring women of the Bible and new beginnings. That verse was Proverbs 31:26. “She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness.” (NKJV) I don’t normally use the NKJV of the Bible, but the words “the law of kindness” really caught my eye. It was if the Lord was wanting me to focus on wisdom and kindness. I spent the Fall doing a lot of volunteer work with my family for various organizations and kindness has been on my heart. Not only teaching my children how to be truly kind to others outside of our home, but how to be kind to those inside our home as well. I did a search on the law of kindness and came across commentary and a book called the law of kindness written by a pastor’s wife. I began reading the book and now your post has inspired me to take the verse and what I learn about the law of kindness and implement it in my own heart and within my family so that we may demonstrate kindness to those the Lord places in our sphere of influence. Thank-you for your inspiring words. They are further confirmation for what I have learned over the past few days and weeks. God Bless you Kelly.

    • Kelly Sobieski January 3, 2018 at 7:15 am #

      This is beautiful, Misty! I’m so glad you shared. I can’t wait to hear how God uses this one verse to lead your family in 2018! I love it!

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