One Word 2017


Happy New Year!  It’s hard to believe 2017 is here already!

For many of us a new year means a new word to focus on.  If you haven’t encountered this before, the idea is that instead of making a list of New Year’s resolutions, you pick one word to focus on throughout the year.  I tried it for the first time last year with the word surrender and it was more powerful than I’d ever have imagined.  You can find the posts about my year of surrender here.

As I considered a word for 2017 I found it hard to narrow down.  The main words I considered were focus and courage, with dream and identity also in the running.  I finally settled on a word which is probably a bit unusual as a word for the year, but which I think encompasses elements of all the other words.

My word for 2017 is…voice.

I’m not sure exactly how it’s going to work out in practice (but I’ve learned to surrender so that’s okay 😉 )

Here are some of my initial thoughts:

It starts with listening: listening to God’s voice, recognising his voice, actively choosing to focus on his voice, the voice of truth, in the midst of all the other voices clamouring for my attention, and then stepping out in obedience to his voice.

“The sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.”  (John 10:3 NLT)

It’s also about listening to others: letting them know that their voices matter, taking the time to really listen and really hear them, especially those who don’t feel like they have a voice.

Then it’s about speaking:  For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven…  A time to be quiet and a time to speak.”  (Ecclesiastes 3:1,7 NLT)

It’s about finding my voice more and more- discerning when God is calling me to be quiet and when he is calling me to speak out, and finding the courage to do that.

I don’t mean only in the big things.  Words have tremendous power- for good or for evil.  That is something God has impressed on me more and more lately, and I want to be more ready to speak out words that are good- to be intentional about giving out compliments and encouragement, to give voice to these things rather than just thinking them but remaining silent.

It’s also about sharing what God has done- being a voice of truth and hope, especially to people who feel trapped and hopeless.

A verse that has been on my heart for several years now is:

“What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes.  What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear!”  (Matthew 10:27)

It is part of the reason I started this blog, and I was so encouraged to look at my stats for 2016 and find that there have been visitors from 62 countries!  I guess I’ve made a start on shouting it abroad, but I think part of what God is calling me to this year is using my voice more to tell others about him, both in writing and in speaking.

Two other verses I have been drawn to in connection with this are:

“Has the LORD redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies.”  (Psalm 107:2 NLT)

“Speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed.  Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.”  (Proverbs 31:8-9 NLT)

That is about as clear an idea as I have at the moment, but after last year’s experience I am excited to see where all this will lead in the year ahead.  I know that the first step will definitely be taking time to be still and listen to God’s voice.

Do you have a word for the year?  I’d love to hear what it is!  The comments section here is a place where your voice is always welcome!

Embracing Every Day      Holly Barrett             OneWordCoffee_Badge2





78 thoughts on “One Word 2017

  1. Thank you for your encouraging and inspiring post to kick off the new year!! The Lord laid “HOPE” on my heart for 2017, and I am eager to see all that He has in store as the year unfolds for us all.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love your word for 2017 and look forward to seeing God reveal more! My word for 2017 is Expect and there are layers as well, but the main one is to expect God in all things to be with me and for me (especially when I’m experiencing fear or anxiety). Blessings to you in 2017 Lesley as you use your voice to shine His light into the darkness! Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Michelle. I love the word Expect. While a lot about the year ahead is unknown, we can expect God to be with us to guide and help us. I hope you have a wonderful 2017. I’m encouraged by how you use your voice to speak truth and shine God’s light into the darkness too.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Gabriele. I’ve enjoyed getting to know you through our blogs and love reading your thoughts too. I like your choice of word and look forward to reading more.


  3. Oh dear Leslie., I love this!
    Praying you find your voice and hear His voice too.
    As you said with voice comes listening.
    Blessings to you and Happy New Year

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is lovely! I’ve known since September that my 2017 word would be INVEST. God is showing me how that applies to all areas of my life – Invest in heaven, my family, my health, my community, my business, and my peace. Blessings to you as God makes His voice clear to you and refines your voice this year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Liz. Invest is a great word- and I love how focussing on a single word can impact so many areas of our lives but it somehow seems more manageable than a list of resolutions. Blessings for 2017!


  5. I love reading about everyone’s word of the year. Yours is very unique because I am not sure that I have seen others who have chosen “voice” before. I believe it does begin with listening to God’s voice. I am excited to see where this journey takes you. I will reveal my word next week. Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Mary! It is really interesting to discover all the different words people have chosen and to see how they work out throughout the year. Look forward to reading about your word next week!


  6. Oh, Lesley, this sounds like it will be a transformational year for you! I like your unique word. I look forward to reading what God teaches you and what He dos through you in the coming year.

    My word is Intentional. I know God has many things to teach me. And I’m going to be doing a lot of seeking Him to learn how to live intentionally as He wants me to.:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Nicole! I’m sure listening to God’s voice above all the others is something we could all be better at. I’m definitely hoping to learn to do that more this year.


  7. I love the WORD you chose for 2017, very unique. Your post was very encouraging! I love reading all the different WORDS that the Lord has given to everyone in the comments. The WORD the Lord gave me was ABIDE. Happy New year! Linking up with Tell His Story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Tammy! I’m glad the post encouraged you and I agree, it is really interesting to discover the different words everyone has chosen and the reasons behind them. Thanks for sharing your word too- abide is a great focus. Happy New Year!


  8. I loved reading your thoughts on surrender and your new word for 2017. My family and I always seek the Lord’s will together and try to come up with our word. So far, we have some ideas, but the Lord has not made anything real clear. I am sure He will, in due time. Until then, we wait. God bless you abundantly in this new year, Lesley!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I haven’t always “officially” chosen a word for the year. At least not right at the beginning of the year. I always enjoy reading about other people’s words.

    This year I do have one and it is “Steadfast”. I’m joining in at The LPM blog for Scripture memorization and the focus of my verses this year will be on steadfastness.

    Happy 2017!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is really interesting to read about all the different words people have selected. I like the word steadfast, and the idea of memorising verses that tie in with it. That’s something I’m planning to do too. Hope you have a great 2017!


  10. Hi Lesley,
    I love your word! It’s unusual and yet as you shared what it means to you, it felt so right and so exciting! I’m looking forward to read what God shows you about that word in the year ahead. Listening for God’s voice is truly an act of discipline but so magnificent when we hear words just for us, through his word or prayer or through the voices of others. Happy 2017! xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Valerie! It does take discipline to listen for God’s voice but it is so worth the effort. Looking forward to seeing how it turns out. Happy 2017 to you too!


  11. Lesley, I guess I’ve never paid much attention to Matthew 10:27 … what a great verse, and what a wonderful word for 2017. I love how it’s so multi-faceted–listening to God and others, knowing when to speak and when to be quiet, giving a voice to those who can’t speak for themselves–so powerful! I will be looking forward to seeing how this all takes shape for you this year! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Lois. It’s funny how different verses stand out to different people. There is a lot to the word “voice” and it will be interesting to see how it works out. Blessings for a great 2017!


  12. Oooh I like your word! I love seeing what people choose for their word and I think this is the first time I have ever heard anyone choose voice! I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds these next 365 days!! Happy new year, friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Kylie! It is interesting to see all the different words. I haven’t heard anyone else choose voice before either! Happy New Year, and hope you have a great 2017!


  13. Hi Lesley, I loved reading your post and learned so much from the verses you shared. Learning to listen and what to say when we do speak is an art we all need to acquire. My phrase for 2017 — Beauty for Ashes.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I love that you chose Voice. I don’t think I’ve seen that word come up before. You are in for an interesting journey I am sure. My word for 2017 is “Let Go.” God is teaching me that I am constantly grasping for control over all the things. I’m in a season and place where God is giving me little control over nothing and it has been frustrating. He is also giving me a growing list of things to “let go” of.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Deanna. I haven’t heard of anyone else who has chosen Voice either.
      I’m sure your journey with “Let Go” will be interesting too. Last year my word was “Surrender” which is pretty close to that and it did involve giving up control of various things, It definitely wasn’t always easy but I’m glad I had that focus and God used it to do a lot of work in me. Look forward to seeing how things work out for you- hope you have a great 2017!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Hi Lesley,
    I am here from Bonnie’s link up (Faith Barista) I really enjoyed reading your post and how God is speaking to you to listen carefully to his voice and also to be courageous to speak out what he is giving you. I also really appreciated how you described being careful to listen well to others and showing God’s love and care for them in this way. God is speaking to me in similar ways and I hope to share more together throughout this year.
    Thank you for the powerful verses that you have shared as well. They are a great blessing.
    God bless you,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Susan, thanks for visiting. I’m glad you liked the post and that God is speaking to you about similar things. And thanks for sending the link to the article- it was interesting to read and I love how something as simple as being listened to has been proven to have such an amazing effect on people. Blessings!


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