Immediately embracing New Year with my one word

I made a conscious decision before the new year not to add any additional resolutions or goals with timelines, until I completed the ones I was working on in 2017.

I was intrigued with people who had chosen one simple word to focus on throughout the year as an alternative to the new years resolution. One word of the year, where you set your intentions.

In the book “My One Word,” Pastor Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen explain choosing one word “that represents what you hope God will do in you, and focus on it for an entire year.”

They explain that the first step is to determine the kind of person you want to become by the end of this year.

I admit I haven’t ordered their book yet. But I have thought about the idea a few dozen times since I heard about it a few years ago. I can proudly say it was definitely on my radar to choose my word of the year — or even set a new years resolution to choose a word by Jan. 1.

And like a young girl dreaming about her wedding day, I did have grandiose daydreams that my first word of the year would be something lovely like: peace, grace, love or even patience. On, one women named Heidi, alongside many others, chose the word “rest.” I don’t know Heidi, but I like her. MIDZ posted that her one word was “rest” and added: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” — Matthew 11:28

I was anticipating a word that I could lean into with ease. So on Sunday morning, Dec. 31, 2017, mere hours before the new year began, I was quite excited when I heard my word of the year as Pastor Tom Harrigan preached his sermon from Matthew 14, which was entitled the “The One Who Walked On Water.”

The word was used three times in Matthew 14:22-36 — and when Tom gave the examples, my brain suddenly flashed to a few other citings. I whispered to the hubby: “that’s my word of the year — “immediately.”

A few hours later, I began to feel “word of year” remorse. I began to resent and envy Heidi and MIDZ who claimed the relaxing, peaceful word “rest.” I began second-guessing my choice of “immediately.” Why would I — a moving-kinda-slow-like-Uncle-Joe-at-the-Junction-type-of-gal — choose “immediately?”

I immediately began to feel anxious and started fretting. But then, almost immediately, I opened up my Bible and found out there are 106 references to the word immediately.

Matthew 4:20: “Immediately they left their nets and followed him.”

Matthew 14:22: (Jesus walks on the water) Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of him to the other side, while he sent the crowds away. (So he could go and pray.)

Matthew 14:27: But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”

Matthew 14:31: Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

I suddenly realized that I was focusing more about what I would have to do immediately, than what Jesus already had done immediately.

Immediately, I embraced “my one word.”

Janet Hommel Mangas grew up on the east side of Greenwood. The Center Grove
area resident and her husband are the parents of three daughters. Send comments to