On Resolution (My Word of the Year) – 2011

January 1, 2011 at 10:07 am 4 comments

The last few year’s I’ve tried a new means of resolution.  It involves a simple thing…nothing complex, not great program, no huge attempts at goals, programs, projects, or to the other extreme, vague notions of health and well-being.

I simply pray and ask the Lord to give me one thing to work on, one thing to change, one thing that stands out as a glaring area that needs polishing in my life.  I usually get it in one simple word.

I post my word on the wall.  I look for quotes about it.  I perk up when I hear it.  I pay more attention to it.  I make other goals around it.

I build with one starting block.  One word.

Past Years:

The first year I can remember, the word was “Smile”.  I had had some “down” circumstances causing me to look grim, worn, frustrated, and torn.  I had stretched myself to the point of being stretched completely out of shape.  I was confused, shaking my head, shutting down, and crawling in a hole.  I said, “Lord, keep it simple.  But, I need one thing I can do different to pull out of this messy head.”  He said, almost immediately, “Smile.”

I knew that was it.  People in my life around me deserved my smile.  My light.  My joy.  My gift.  I had it, and I could give it.  I took some work.  It wasn’t easy.  I failed many times.  But, I knew I still had something important people I loved and cared about needed from me.

The next year, my word was “Magnanimity”.  The name of this blog.  It means to be “big-hearted”.  I was surprised to run across this large wordin scripture, even!  I heard my pastor use it several times, and he hasn’t used it since.  It encompassed a “life word” for me.  I believe I found it first reading “Purpose Driven Life”.  It’s a big word.  It means to live a life of service, to be forgiving, to have a heart like Jesus.  Still love that word.

The next year, my word was “Pursue”.   I ran across it many times in the course of the week I was seeking my “word”.  I ran across it one Sunday during church and I just knew that was it.  2 Timothy 2:22, “Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”  I had always focusing on the “flee” part, but had assumed that if you stayed away from the bad, the good would just sort of be there and happen.  This verse says you must pursue the good!  Strive for it, push into good habits, really seek them, and cultivate them.  Things like faith, love, and peace aren’t just things you carry around in your pocket, pulling them out when the situation calls for them.  They must be things you press toward, hone.

I Timothy 6:11 expands on the idea more:  “But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.”  More things I needed to “pursue”:  perseverance, gentleness

Not yet having attained the “word” of former years, but pressing on to a fresh viewpoint, a fresh focus, today I seek my “word for the year”.  The last month, I’ve sensed it…the need for more of it in myself.  This week, I’ve seen it’s fruit in my daughter.  I  know in my heart what it is, but to pin down a single word?  It is kindness, perhaps?  No, not just kindness.  An encompassing sweetness.  Sugar. It is a disposition.  An attitude.  A joyful countenance.  A sweet tone.

What is the one word?

And I pray, asking for guidance.  I see faces, those who display it with good habit.  Those who have a disposition more suited to it naturally.  A servant-minded attitude more concerned about others than self when responding.  The verse behind my word comes to me: Ephesians 4:23. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Most of the time, people need more kindness than harshness.  They need more love than anger.  They need more understanding than judgment.  They need more time than tension.

Michelle Duggar is a woman from media I admire in this area.  Her sweetness of tone, kindness of words, not using anger to correct, but gentleness and love.  I want my children to know that gentleness in me, not harshness, rudeness, or cynicism.  It’s not so easy.

What a challenge this will be.  I will need constant reminder and the help of the Lord.


No, no one wants to eat a sour apple, no matter what nourishment they may need.

Let me be sweet, dear Lord.  Help me to move forward in this area, especially in my mothering and my family life.

Sweet.  The word almost seems too…I don’t know.  Passive?  Not the “live strong” matra I tend to have moved toward since my “pursue it” year.  Yet, that is it, isn’t it?  To pursue…with sweetness.  To have a magnanimous heart, and to show it.  Sweetness adds a focus of “others” back at the center, not just service, not just giving, not just smiling, but all of them together.  Jesus lived that way: strong, focused, obedient WHILE being sweet, kind, considerate.

I am visualizing a good cup of southern tea (stevia please, if you have it).  Strong, but sweet. Satisfying hyrdation.

This photo was one I took of my daughter several years ago, having a Christmas “tea party”.  How fitting for this post.  It’s been there in my sidebar all along, just waiting for this post. 🙂

So, there you are…my word of the year, absurd to me, almost.  Yet, there it is.  And let’s get on with it.  Word, I’ll be looking for you this year.   By year’s end, and by the grace of God, I hope to see more of you in me.

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jamie  |  January 4, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    I’m glad I stumbled upon your blog – and this post in particular. I was given a theme this year as well – and even started a whole new blog based on the concept of choosing to really dedicate each of my years to a theme for me to focus more fully on the life God desires for me. (thus the name of my blog – this year I was given “Lovely” via Philippians 4:8) I love the word study idea you’ve given in this post – it is a great exercise I’m going to add.

  • 2. Jenn  |  January 29, 2011 at 5:55 am

    Oh, I love this concept. You have inspired me to do this as well. Thanks so much for sharing this with us. Now I am off to find my Word. By the way, please continue writing, you are very good. Your words have motivated me. Thanks again.

  • 3. Maggie  |  January 29, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Thank you for your kind comments. I haven’t written as much lately…encouragement is always so nice. loved reading your blog, Jamie.

    Jenn, I am interested when you settle on your word, when you are ready to share.

  • 4. Carolee Cyrulik  |  December 2, 2011 at 6:15 am

    An interesting insight into the subject at hand; I’ve learned from it. Thanks a lot 🙂

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Sifting the joy from the mundane:

recording, photographing, learning, creating.

I am married to the love of my life, as we raise three children, learning the ways of grace.


Magnanimity (derived from the Latin roots magn- great, and anima, soul) is the virtue of being great of mind and heart. It encompasses, usually, a refusal to be petty, a willingness to face danger, and actions for noble purposes. Its antithesis is pusillanimity. Both terms were coined by Aristotle, who called magnanimity "the crowning virtue."

Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary of the American Language defines Magnanimity as such:

MAGNANIM'ITY, n. [L. magnanimitas; magnus, great, and animus, mind.] Greatness of mind; that elevation or dignity of soul, which encounters danger and trouble with tranquillity and firmness, which raises the possessor above revenge, and makes him delight in acts of benevolence, which makes him disdain injustice and meanness, and prompts him to sacrifice personal ease, interest and safety for the accomplishment of useful and noble objects.[1] (Source: Wikipedia)



"We shall not waste our time in looking for extraordinary experiences in our life, but live by pure faith, ever watchful and ready for His coming by doing our day-to-day duties with extraordinary love and devotion." ~Mother Teresa



"Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not come. We have only today. Let us begin." ~Mother Teresa




A kind heart is a fountain of gladness, making everything in it's vicinity freshen into smiles. --Washington Irving




When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn. -Harriet Beecher Stowe


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