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.
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)
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.
- 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
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 yes’s and no’s) 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!
*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.