A Year of Living Light

I’m trading resolutions for just one word.


I’m 14 days in and still fumbling around with what I want this new year to look like. So far, it’s looking a lot like the old year.

The problem is that I have a love/hate relationship with resolutions.

  • Option 1: I skip them altogether, knowing I’ll inevitably ditch them for my former bad habits, comfortable and familiar as guilt itself.
  • Option 2: I construct a complicated framework and hammer on so many intentions that, when the whole thing comes tumbling down, I’m buried alive under my own laws. It’s a lose-lose proposition.

So when the word light rose to the top of my mind a couple of weeks ago, bobbing just above the surface without ever sinking back to the bottom of my thoughts, it was an easy choice to follow the line and see where it led.

I started thinking about all of the ways light is defined in my life. Merriam-Webster lists no less than 48 definitions for the word light, the simplest of which is this:

Light: the form of energy that makes it possible to see things

Who couldn’t use a little of that kind of energy in their life?

Even more interesting to me, the Bible’s New Living Translation (NLT) cites 269 places where light is mentioned. There’s definitely study potential there for a woman who believes Jesus is the light of the world and longs to share that light with others.

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.
Live as children of light.— Ephesians 5:8

Then there are the even more obvious applications: lightening my load physically (the usual — diet and exercise), emotionally (see my previously confessed tendency to put myself under law), and mentally (just unplugging every now and then would help). Surely all of that’s more than a year’s worth of commitment, right?

So I’m obsessed with the word light. Is it possible that I could study, meditate on, and apply it to my life for an entire year and come out a better person than I am now? Intriguing.

But who does that? Who commits to a single word for an entire year?

These people do: #oneword365

I came across One Word 365 on Sarah Bessey’s blog (ironically, light was her word in 2013, but I didn’t know that at the time), and I immediately felt affirmed when I found out that lots of people chose one word for the New Year, making the most of it for 365 days straight. In fact, thousand of them have been doing it for 6 years now, so it must be working for them.

“Forget New Year’s resolutions. Just choose one word.”

That’s a tagline I can get behind. Sure, focusing on one word will take intentionality and discipline to make a difference. But a little discipline isn’t a bad thing, plus this still feels more doable than a resolution (or, in my case, a resolution house of cards). And it’s a definite improvement on doing nothing at all.

So here’s to a year of #light — living in it, sharing it, and embracing all it has to offer. Welcome to my year of living light.

Thoughts? Could you commit to one word for the year, and if so, what would it be?