A Four-Letter Word Helps Me Focus This Year

A Four-Letter Word Helps Me Focus This Year

Posted by on Jan 20, 2018

A Four-Letter Word Helps Me Focus This Year

For the last five years or so, I’ve chosen a word for the year. It focuses me; gives pathways to my thoughts and intentions. I like it! The year I retired, my word was JOY.


This year, I tried a program that generates a word for you. The word I received didn’t resonate with me after sitting on it for a day, so I clicked for a new word, and then another, Dense me, I finally prayed about what word God

wanted me to keep before my heart and mind. Quite frankly, prayer clearly held better prospects. Doesn’t it always? Duh!


How slow I am to learn the ways of God.

sun kisssed cumulus clouds with test that reads: OPEN

Open is my new word for 2018. After completing my first book last year and the gazillion things you need

to learn as a new author, I was ready to listen with an open mind and an open heart to what God wanted of me next. Open Mind, Open Heart, by the way, is one of my favorite books by Thomas Keating.

New Word = New Focus

When you’re pregnant, you suddenly notice other pregnant women. When you have a key focus word held before your mind, your awareness is drawn to references to that word in all kinds of places. I noticed it first in scripture.

I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Revelation 3:8 NIV

I like open doors. My mind sees them as symbols of new beginnings. Invitations to enter a new space or an old space in a new way.

… for a wide door for effective service has opened to me, and there are many adversaries. 1 Corinthians 16:9

There will be adversaries

Yes, there are adversaries of which we must be aware. When we open ourselves to the Lord’s service, the evil one gets irritable. He makes plans to dissuade or interrupt you. Opening our hearts in pure prayer and praise blinds him and makes him unable to act.

Then God made her eyes open, and she saw a water-spring, and she got water in the skin and gave the boy a drink. Gen. 21:19

If I am to be intentionally OPEN this year, I expect both obstructions from evil and grace from God. Jesus has so few who give Him their open hearts (according to Gabrielle Bossis in He and I which I reference often in my memoir, God’s Patient Pursuit of My Soul (click here to read more about it) and Elizabeth Kindelmann in her spiritual diary The Flame of Love).

Then the Lord made Balaam’s eyes open, and he saw the angel of the Lord in the way with his sword in his hand: and he went down on his face to the earth. Numbers 22:31

The Lord made Balaam’s and Hagar’s eyes open in a way only He can do. IMy soul delights to sit in centering prayer, a receptive form of contemplative praying, and wait upon the Lord in an attentive open soul stance.


Pray. Then write.


O Pen! This word holds a lovely exclamation for my favorite writing instrument. O Lord, what would you have me write this year?

Written in response to the word prompt – intentional – from my Five Minute Friday community. Check out what others had to say about intentional. Write something there yourself or share in the comments below what you like about being intentional.




  1. Writing has been interrupted by life events for the last couple of months. I don’t want to believe the enemy is at work; although, it may be true. I will pray, then write. Thanks.

    • Many times we can only see clearly in retrospect regarding who was at work in a disruption in our life. Sometimes, when I know I’m doing God’s work (e.g. Bible study, writing my spiritual memoir, visiting the sick) I am clear that the enemy is trying to distract or redirect me. Other times, we are not given to know. That’s when we must trust and obey and pray. I’m always buoyed by the thought of the Levites carrying the Ark of the Covenant when they stood on the banks of the River Jordan while it was flooding. They needed to cross it to get to Jericho, but the current was strong and they were carrying their most prized possession. Yet, until they took the first step of moving forward to cross the river, even though they had no idea how they would get across, God did not stop the waters. It wasn’t until the Levite priest put his foot into the water on that muddy slope that God stopped the river’s flow.

      I know God sees my every move. I take the first step by praying and then place the first word on paper or my computer screen. He guides all of us writers from there. I’ve lifted you up in prayer today, Suzette. May the circumstances in your life be restored to peace and calm. Thanks for taking the time to read my post. I appreciate you.

  2. I love it… I love that you prayed for the word that God had for you. I did the same thing. I want what God wants for me this year. Loved your word!May I too remember to pray. then write.

    • Thank you, Del. I’ll keep you in my prayers this week to give you encouragement to continue to pray, then write. I appreciate your kind words and the time you took to read my post. Blessings to you.

  3. Hi Chris – I appreciate your thoughts about being intentional and about the word OPEN. It is such a good word. I really like “o pen!” too. A reminder to be intentional about writing the things that God shows us as we are open to what He has for us each day.

    Jeannie (#104 in the FMF linkup this week)

    • Thanks for taking the time to share and encourage me, Jeannie. I so appreciate you1 Happy writing!

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