Theme Words: The Power of a Well-Chosen Word
Do you believe in the power of words? Growing up we all heard the singsong playground rhyme, “Stick and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” If only that were true! We know words hurt, but they also build up and strengthen us.
Picking a theme word has not been one of my yearly traditions. However, I have a collection of letters and cards from over the years stashed in my closet. One is a letter of recommendation I received in High School! Occasionally I pull them out and reread the life-giving words others have poured over me. These words, encouraging and truthful, remind me to stand tall and be brave because I’m loved. Words are powerful!
As the new year rolls around, many people choose to select a theme word. From productive words like “Focus” to more whimsical words like “Flourish,” seeing our world through a themed word changes the way we interact with it. Words become the filter by which we view ourselves and our circumstances. These powerful words reflect our values and our course for the year.
Have you ever picked a theme word for the year? How did that affect you and your mindset? Words become the filter by which we view ourselves and our circumstances.
Theme Words in the Home & Community
When our children were young, my husband and I had key phrases and value words that we employed often to help teach our children how to interact in our home. Over the years, they have morphed and developed, but a few remain.
“If you get it out, clean it up.”
“I am responsible.”
“You are seen, known, and loved.”
These three simple phrases affirm the community and values in our home. The phrase “I am responsible” covers a lot of territory.
What does this look like in real life?
It means if you get something out, you clean it up. If you see a family member struggling, you offer to help. If your work is not done and you need help, ask for it. This simple phrase empowers us to work heartily and be helpful as individuals. It reminds us to cast our eyes beyond our own interests and duties in order to see the needs of others around us.
However, our words matter in the workplace, church, and community also. For example, have you used or heard any of these value phrases?
Focus and Finish
Choices and Consequences
Have Courage and Be Kind (Yep, I borrowed this one from a movie! It’s catchy.)
Does your church have a mission statement? Are there catchphrases at your work that color the way you engage in your projects? What about your neighborhood community?
Whether you pick a word for the year or stash cards in your closet like me, words stick with us. As our year dawns fresh and new, consider choosing a few theme words that reflect your values and set the tone. These words can change your perspective, strengthen your character, and affirm your faith.
Scripture as a Theme Word
For the past three years, I’ve actually prayed through a scripture verse for my yearly theme. In fact, God had me keep the same verse for two years in a row. I guess I really needed to write that one on my heart! The beauty of the repetition was how different aspects of the verse really defined each year.
“The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.”
Isaiah 58:11, NKJV
For the first year, God and I parked in the drought. He strengthened me and walked me through a really difficult season. My lifeline was the lovely promise that He would be guiding me continually. Then, the next year, He showed me how there is life and refreshment on the other side of that drought. The image of a watered garden blooming in the midst of drought brought me both comfort and joy in those days. Oh the manifold goodness of our Lord!
This year, I’m in I Peter 5: 10 and praying through a word each quarter: restore, confirm, strengthen, establish.
“But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
I Peter 5:10, NKJV
My theme words have been God’s Word written on my heart. I’m excited to see how God works out this verse in my life over the coming months!
The Power of Choosing a Theme Word
Whether it is a word, phrase, or scripture, consider prayerfully choosing a theme for your year. Words are powerful and when applied to our lives over time, they become a filter by which we see the world. When I chose the scriptures for the past few years, I set aside time to pray and consider how God was at work in my life. The following could also be considerations as you choose a theme word:
I love photography, painting, and all things beautiful! Each year I have painted the verse to capture it in my mind, or I create a lovely graphic of it online to post around my house. Keeping the theme at the forefront of my mind reminds me to look for the ways God is working in my life.
I pray that as you move forward into your year, the power of a well-chosen word colors your life with wisdom and grace.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
Ephesians 4:29, ESV
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