Faith, Intentional Living, One Word

2017: One Word


wave-rolling+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

How can it be 2017 already? Though we’re in the middle of winter, what some may consider a drab season, a new year has begun, full of hope. Promise. Uncertainty.

There’s something within me that does little leaps when the calendar turns to January first. Call me crazy, but there’s always a sense of anticipation to see what God is going to do in the next 365 days.


For the last number of years, I’ve focused on one word. I’m always surprised at how God brings them to life in my heart. These are my previous words:








I read the One Word post I shared this time last year, and my heart smiled. God did what I’d hoped and so much more as He made the word “Authentic” real in my life. He taught me what living authentically looks like.

And He worked some big healing in my heart. I wasn’t sure what I expected. In some ways, learning to live this word was harder than I imagined.

This past year held ups and downs as the waves of life ebbed and flowed on the shores of my heart. Sometimes gently. Other times, with crashing ferocity.



Here’s a brief recap of what God showed me.

Authenticity begins with honesty.

God showed me I wasn’t honest with anyone—not even Him—when it came to how I felt about the things happening in my life.



For decades, I’ve stuffed those emotions I deemed “unacceptable,” because I didn’t want to be rejected. I won’t elaborate on that here, but you can check out some of my other thoughts on rejection if you’re interested. I learned early to hide those emotions that could induce this painful response.

God challenged me to deal with perceptions I had from my past. As I journaled about some of the hurtful experiences in my girlhood, He helped me reframe those painful situations and see them through different eyes.

He also called me to be honest with others about what I really felt when life got hard, or I felt hurt. As I began doing this, I experienced freedom.



When we know we are always loved, we learn how to trust from deep places in our hearts.

I’ve known God loves me passionately. I’ve said it here on this blog. But, I learned it in new ways last year. He brought me through disappointments. He helped me process the emotions and share honestly with my hubs and close friends.

He showed me the beautiful healing that happens when we invite others into our pain.

As September rolled around, I began praying earnestly about what my word for 2017 would be. I was 90 percent certain God had more to teach me about authenticity. And, He probably does. I continued to pray . . . and wait.

I believe He confirmed my word on December 30th.


My theme verse for the year is Psalm 86:11.



As I ponder the things God helped me focus on last year, I’m seeing how these words will dovetail in my life. As I learn how to live authentically, I’m going to be intentional in my daily choices. In how I set my priorities. I think He’s begun showing me some of the areas where He’ll focus.

I don’t know how God is going to work, but I’m excited to discover what He has for me. I’m continuing to pray for God to reveal what He wants me to learn about living intentionally.



I suspect the things I learn will be tested as life’s waves roll across my days. I’m certain I’ll be stretched and changed. Most of all, I expect I’ll learn how to love God more and how to live more authentically for Him.

What about you? How do you begin a new year—goals? Resolutions? One Word? If you’re a one-word person, I’d love to hear your word and what God’s shown you about it.

Click to Tweet: God did what I’d hoped and so much more with my One Word

Today, I’m linking up with Holly Barrett’s Testimony Tuesday and Kelly Balarie’s #RaRaLinkup

39 thoughts on “2017: One Word”

  1. Intentional is a great word, Jeanne, and I think you’ll find it more than validated.

    Last year I picked SnOoPyDaNcE…seemed like a good idea but it wa a horrible fit. This year I’m tempted to go with ‘Whatever’, because after the last 24 hours, I’m too beat-up to care.


    1. Andrew, I liked your word for last year. I’m truly sorry it didn’t pan out. Let’s see . . . whatever. That has possibility. Knowing God loves you whatever may come . . . being open to whatever opportunities come along . . . and “Whatever” when the days are too hard for anything else.

      On a serious side, I’m continuing to pray my friend. And I truly am sorry your past day has been beyond miserable. 😦


  2. Happy New Year, Jeanne! I love your summary of the lessons you’ve learned from your focus on the word authentic. 2016 is the first time I had a word for the year and it was more powerful than I’d ever have expected.
    I love your choice of intentional for 2017. My word for this year is voice.


    1. Thanks, Lesley. My original draft for this post was much, much longer. I tried to keep things succinct. 🙂 I’m so glad God revealed so much for you with your word. God has creative ways of drawing us closer to Him through words, doesn’t He? I am looking forward to seeing how God uses YOUR word in your life this year.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Intentional – what a great word for this year. Authenticity and honesty don’t come naturally – so we must be intentional about seeking them from the Lord. I appreciate your honest words, here, Jeanne.

    My One Word is “ASK”- I feel I tell God a lot, and need to ask Him more.

    It’s so great to catch up with you. Happy New Year!


    1. You’re right, Karen. Authenticity and Honesty are choices, aren’t they? I so appreciate your encouragement. Ask . . . what a unique word! And I am eager to see how God works through your word this year!!


  4. Oh how i love the word intentional. It is powerful and sums up its meaning in the word itself. I can’t wait to see how this unfolds for you this year. Happy New Year!


    1. Happy New Year to you, Mary! Though I think I have a glimpse of what God is going to do through this word this year, I am certain He has plans that I haven’t conceived yet. Shocker, right? 😉 I’m looking forward to seeing how God is going to grow me this year.


  5. Intentionality is crucial for even the tiny details of life — God meets us in the everyday, and as we yield every part of our schedule to Him, it’s all meaningful! It’s going to be great to read about how God uses this word in 2017!


    1. You’re right, Michele. We do need to be intentional, even (or especially?) in the little details. I’m so glad God does meet us in the every day. I love that we can yield “our” schedules to Him and trust that He will work His ways into our days.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Intentional is such a great word, Jeanne. One thing I have discovered is that if we are not intentional in our walk with God, we will miss what He has for us. It will be interesting to read all that God shows you as you live intentionally this year. Happy New Year!


    1. Thanks, Joanne. I found myself praying a lot about what my word would be this year. I didn’t want to choose the one I wanted. Something about this word, and the verse struck me, and I believe it was the one God wanted me to focus on. 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by!


    1. I know, Liz. “Undivided heart” just resonated. I read this verse in NIV first, and then in other versions. The NIV just spoke so closely to what I sensed God was showing me about it. Thanks so much for stopping by. 🙂


  7. Woah. Um, that may be the word that I have, too. I’m still in the middle of listening, but it’s an amazing word. Here’s to being intentional with all we do!


    1. Wow, Melinda! I suspected a little while ago that we might be kindred spirits. I guess this just confirms it. 😉 I’ll look forward to hearing what word God wants to weave into the fabric of your life this year. Blessed by you!


  8. You’ve done it again. . . or God has done it again. I love your “one word” for the year. Perhaps I will pray and see what God will give me if I pray intentionally about it. :))


  9. I’m looking forward to what God teaches you about being intentional, Jeanne. Since I only “met” you recently (and I’m so thankful for that), I hadn’t read your last year’s post about being authentic. It really resonates in my heart. I found myself fighting tears. I still struggle with being authentic. Especially when I’m person to person, I tend to hide my real thoughts and emotions, and I think if I’m honest with myself, it is often from a fear of rejection. Have a wonderful 2017 living intentionally in Christ Jesus!


    1. Trudy, I am truly glad we’ve connected. Your sweet transparent spirit is an encouragement! I believe learning to be authentic takes time, making mistakes, accepting grace and trying again. Choosing again. I am certain as God continues to work healing in each of our hearts we’ll grow better at living authentically. I am blessed by you!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh, wow! God really worked in you to become authentic in 2016. And I see how intentional follows so well after learning authenticity. Intentional with authenticity makes all actions have stickiness (for lack of better word) I believe! Your words on authenticity last year ministered to me and I look forward to seeing where God leads you on this next part of your journey!


    1. Lynn, you know how it is. There’s so much God teaches us, but we either don’t have the space, or we don’t know how to put it all into words. I am certain God will continue to teach me about living authentically. I’m also certain He will teach me so much about how these two words will integrate within me, if that makes sense. I so appreciate your encouragements. Happy New Year!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I like your word, “Intentional,” and that Psalm 86:11 goes perfectly with it. I never thought of choosing a scripture to go along with my word. I’m going to do that too.

    Thanks for sharing about your experiences last year with authenticity.


  12. First, your photos are absolutely beautiful!
    Second, I love this idea of choosing a word for the year. I’ve come across this from one of my favorite youtubers and now you, so I think I might prayerfully put that into practice 🙂

    Third, I’m currently reading “Uninvited” Lysa Terkeurst. It’s been such a blessing. I think you’d like it if you haven’t read it 🙂


    1. Thanks for your kind words, Neli! I have found focusing on one word each year to be profound in my understanding about God, and about living life well. I hope you are able to find the best word for you for this year!

      I haven’t read that book by Lisa Tyrkeurst yet. Thanks for the recommendation!


  13. I feel like this word is going to produce big things for you, Jeanne. I feel like intentionality seems so easy in hindsight (doesn’t everything?!) but it takes such, well… intention…. to remember to stop and pray and live in this moment. Prayers for you on this journey of 2017. I’m excited for you!


    1. Thank you, Annie. You’re right. Intentionality seems so easy in hindsight. It’s the living it out in the daily now that can be the challenge. 🙂 Yes, stopping and praying is huge. And thank you for those prayers. I’ll take them. 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by too!


  14. Loved hearing all about what God did with you last year, Jeanne. Fantastic photos, as usual :), and a great new word for your new year as well! Bless you!


  15. Wonderful word, Jeanne. I’ve so enjoyed reading your posts this past year … your authenticity really does shine through your writing. Intentional living is a big thing with me too (though I often miss the mark completely) and I will look forward to learning from you as you embark on this journey! As for me, I do have a word for 2017, but I haven’t written anything about it yet. Maybe for next week? Hopefully before the end of January!


    1. Lois, I already know I’m going to miss the mark in intentional living. I’m already seeing the potential for discouragement. I’m going to have to realign my thoughts to accept the reality that I WILL fall short. 🙂 I look forward to reading about your 2017 word! So grateful for you.


  16. Oh, Jeanne … love your word. Intentional … one thing I’ve learned is that if we want anything accomplished, we have to be intentional. Intentional in teaching our children about God, spending family time, reading God’s Word. Things won’t just happen … we have to be intentional. I say that all the time. 🙂 Now … I need to go be intentional. Lol.


  17. Wonderful post and pictures, dear Jeanne. Your words have inspired me to think about my chosen one from last year: hope. 2016 was a difficult year that started off with me having to drive a loved one to the hospital. He recovered slow but sure. Because I wasn’t aloud to talk about it, I was forced to find all my hope in God alone. And God granted me special providential blessings I knew had to be from Him. He showed me He’d heard my prayers and seen my tear-stained pillow.
    I hadn’t thought too much about this year’s word.
    But as I read your post, I heard: “Believe.”
    And after hearing how God has helped and held you; and after remembering how He gave me hope during 2016—I do indeed believe.
    Blessings on your intentional year ~ Wendy


    1. Wendy, I’m so sorry last year was a difficult year. I’m always curious to see what God does with the words we focus on. Some years are harder than others, aren’t they? Finding all our hope in God is always good, even if the lessons come through difficult circumstances. I love reading that God met you where you were.

      Believe is a strong word! I look forward to hearing/reading how He weaves this into the fabric of who you are. 🙂

      So thankful for you, friend!

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