I select a word and a verse each January to focus my life. I choose an area I believe I need the most growth, help or improvement. On the fall of 2010, I began to experience some physical issues in my body. In January that year, at a Christian Wellness week sponsored by First Place 4 Health, some blood tests returned that shook me to the core. I had been working out daily, I had been eating what I thought was healthier in my choices, yet my weight kept going up- and now I was slapped in the face with the reality that my health was at risk unless something changed!
I knew I wanted to live long and strong for God.
I also knew one of my books was going to be re-released under the new title 10 Secrets to Living Smart, Savvy and Strong—and I felt like none of that was true of me at that moment. I was so discouraged—so I instinctively picked up my Bible reading through my Logos Bible software I scanned for verses on being STRONG! I was so discouraged and fearful so when I read this familiar passage, I dug in:
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
Joshua was also not feeling very strong, courageous and he too was discouraged and looking for help and hope. I felt I had found a comrade in arms!
The word strong here means to grow to be strong—so God says it is a process! Courageous is also verb meaning to make strong, bold and victorious. The word discourage is a pretty encompassing emotional word and God was saying, “don’t tremble, be in terror, be dismayed or adopt dread or fear—Pam don’t let this “shatter” you!” The answer of HOW to overcome these negative emotions is in the context of this verse:
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:7–9)
The path to strength and victory seemed clear in verse 7, “obey ALL the law (the Word), don’t get distracted (go left or right). And from verse 9, remember “The Lord will be with you wherever you go.”
So I hung my heart on the word STRONG.
It became my word for 2012, and I selected Joshua 1:9 as my verse for the year to focus my heart. I adopted the motto, “Stay strong.” And God made me strong enough to:
- Call a new doctor
- Believe God would cover these price of tests
- Give me the willpower to apply the wisdom that doctor gave
- Be honest with friends and family so they could pray and tangibly support me
- Add to my exercise regime more strength training
So what are the results of meditating on the word STRONG and studying how God makes one strong? I got strong! I shed over 50 pounds; I went from walking to running; I moved from health risk to health strength. People today comment using words like svelte, power, fit, radiant when they speak about my appearance. But this kind of strong goes to the core.
I strongly believe God can accomplish what seems very impossible. This is a strength that will allow me to speak boldly of a God who will walk you through anything. God can make and keep you strong for the journey. In my book, Becoming a Brave New Woman, I make it a goal to give women a bigger, stronger, view of God. I quote A W Tozer who says, “What we believe about God is the most important thing about us.”
In what area of life do you need God to make you strong?
Find a word that reflects this desire, make it your one word prayer for the year, find a verse that reflects the heart of this word, then dig in to as many verses as you can find in which that word appears and watch—God will empower you to cross the finish line as a victor too! (For more ideas on how to select and dwell in a word for the year, check out the book, My One Word by Pastor Mike Ashcroft & Rachel Olsen )
What is the word you need to hang your heart on this year?