Tuesday, February 22, 2011

One Word

Not long ago I was talking to a friend about finding a single word to define where you are in life, or that describes what you feel the Lord is working out in your soul, or expresses a goal you have for yourself for this (still relatively new) year. She shared hers with me.

Until a few days ago, I didn't give much thought to what that One Word might be for me. Did I really need one? Nah. I didn't. Probably couldn't settle on just one word anyway. Why bother trying?

But it seems that word was out there, waiting, and didn't take kindly to my indifference, even after repeated hints as to its identity kept dropping into my lap. Yesterday it decided to insert itself into the one place I could not possibly overlook it, which is kind of ironic when it turns out that word for me is...


It all started a week or so ago with a quote I read in a post from author Kathleen Popa. It's attributed to Adel Bestavros, and I've been meditating on it ever since.

Patience with others is Love.
Patience with self is Hope.
Patience with God is Faith.

Like other writers I know, my writing journey has been a long one. By December of this year it will be twenty years since I first picked up a pen with the notion of finishing a novel and seeing it published. I've finished quite a few novels since then, and come close to getting more than one of them published. But I'll confess. Not every moment of the past twenty years has been spent in perfect peace. Impatience, anxiety, a sense of being left behind, of missing my chance of being published over and over again, even despair of being able to write, ever again, after a serious illness midway through this journey, have been allowed to get the upper hand from time to time.

Yet I know right where to turn when those thoughts come like fiery darts and I find my stomach coiling up and the pressure on my chest and the tightness in my brow... I look up to the verse I have taped above my desk.

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you. Isaiah 26:3

My thoughts are fixed on His goodness. 

My thoughts are fixed on His perfect timing.

My thoughts are fixed on Him. Wherever this journey takes me just might not be as important as the One I'm taking it with (can I get an Amen?).

Yesterday I was unexpectedly inspired to rewrite the opening lines of Jesse, my novel in progress. I wasn't happy with the first sentence in particular. It seemed to me that I could have better captured the character's voice from the very first word.

Would you like to guess what the new first word (as this draft stands presently) of Jesse turns out to be?

But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:4

You may have seen this notion of One Word for a year elsewhere. I've seen other blog posts about it. Do you know what yours is? I invite you to share it in the comments. 

portrait: Emma Hart as Ariadne. George Romney, 1785


  1. I just heard about it at the end of last year. My word choice is Fire. That's because I figured I needed to start one under every aspect of my live -- scripture study, writing, reading, work. It's been fun finding scriptures relating to fire and then applying them into my every day life.

  2. Amen! Patience is a trait I find myself working on constantly, or so it seems. Thankful for His faithfulness in that as in all aspects of life!

  3. Anonymous4:44 PM

    Interesting, I'll have to start pondering my word. Hum….after finishing A Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp last night, I am thinking my word might be Eucharist or thankful :-).

  4. That's lovely, Lori! I never would have thought of connecting patience to Faith, Hope and Love in that fashion. I wonder if I could find a word for me...

  5. Lori, what a beautiful heart you have. The thoughts on patience here are truly a blessing. My one word for many years was "relinquish". During that time I had to put my own hopes and aspirations on hold, in the sense of without expectation and learn to let my expectation be from the Lord alone and not my own plans or time line. I continued to write, but not with the same all-consuming diligence. Last year it was "believe". I had a certainty that my time for getting published was drawing near. I didn't know how it would happen, but it seemed to be something the Lord put on my heart as a promise perhaps. This year it is "transition". Although I am celebrating that I will be published, it is still far away. And I got my start in an unusual way and it is not with the writing that I have longed to see published, it was something new and different. I'm glad I learned the lesson of relinquishment or I would missed out on the joy I now have. But even though I celebrate there is so much waiting and an extra level of hard work as I hope to lay down my current vocation for another and this comes with much frustration. I also had to wait 4 months before my 1st contract arrived and it is a 14 month wait from the time I got notified of publication until the book releases. Lots of waiting, but at the same time I must keep pressing on toward my goals. Perhaps the Lord knows I need this year of transition. I'm continuing to learn to trust His ways. I have every confidence that we will be reading your novels soon and with great delight! Bless you for your example and encouragement to me today.

  6. Thanks for the great responses everyone!

    Kav, I had a Year of Fire. That was 2004 for me. The good thing is, those fires tend to keep burning and can still be a factor years down the road. Burn on!

    Ruth, Amen!

    Karen, I have to read that book. I read her blog now and then. She has such a lyrical way of seeing the world and expressing her soul.

    Deniz, I'd never equated faith with patience either, and I can't stop meditating on the idea. It's not a complete definition, still it resonates deeply with me.

    Karen S., thanks. I'm glad you dropped by for a read and that something in it touched you. :)

    Carla, bless you for your confidence in me (and more in the Lord). Transition, eh? Perhaps that will be my word for next year. :) You are having an amazing writing year. It's such fun to watch you walk through it, and to be alongside you. Perhaps these are the stories that will open doors for the ones you long to share with readers.

  7. I think my word for this year is faithful. Regardless of what happens in my world and the world around me, when the Lord returns, I want to be found faithful.

  8. Joan, may we both remain faithful to the desires God has placed in our hearts!

  9. Lori, dear friend, this post blesses my illness-weary heart. I've been ill for almost two months. Your words give me courage (my word for this year) to endure. Thank you!

  10. Judy, I'm so glad this post encouraged you, but... oh dear. I don't like to hear you've been ill this long. I've just sent you a FB message. [[[[Judy]]]]

  11. Great post Ms. Lori,

    I didn't expect the word patience. My word is hope. Yeah, I have ample dreams and am just hoping that they come true. Blimey, I am not working with full heart for them. Ha Ha !!

    with warm regards

  12. Thanks allmyposts. Hope is a good word. The absolute expectation of coming good. I find that hope in Jesus. His dreams for me will come true, and they will be better than anything I can dream up.