Shining the light of God's word into our confused world.

Leaning Into God: A #OneWord365 Review


About this time last year, I had a theme all picked out for the shiny new year of 2016. It was going to be my “Year Without Fear.” And then I found out about One Word 365, which presents the challenge to eschew New Year’s Resolutions and goal setting and instead, in their words, choose “One word you can focus on every day, all year long… One word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live.”

Of course if I already had my theme figured out my word was a no-brainer: Fearless! Or maybe Brave. Or should it be Courage? Hmm. I figured I’d better pray about it before committing to a definitive word. So I did. And the word God gave me instead?


This made me wrinkle up my brow in confusion at first. “Lean? What does that mean? How is that a guide word? What does that have to do with not letting fear control my actions?” I thought of the old hymn, “Leaning On the Everlasting Arms” and decided that God was telling me I needed to spend 2016 learning to be more reliant on Him.

And boy howdy, was 2016 filled with reasons to lean on God. My husband’s health battles alone gave us both ample opportunities to lean on Him for strength, for provision, for wisdom, for courage, and I’m sure for many other things. There also seemed to be a bit more than our fair share of things breaking or falling apart and we had to completely rely on God’s provision to take care of it.

But as the year wore on, it became clear that I wasn’t only going to be challenged to lean on God, but also to lean into what He was doing inside me. This included a major work of spiritual healing that involved confronting some things in my past, allowing myself to grieve and process all of the negative emotions, forgiving those who hurt me and finally rejecting all of the negative words spoken over me throughout my life. I realized that the Lord wanted me to lean into becoming the woman He always meant for me to be, but first I had to deal with identity confusion caused by trying to either live up to or prove wrong the labels that had been placed on me both by people who meant well and by people who wanted to hurt me.

2016 became the year that I was released from the bondage of trying to please people and win their approval and discovered the freedom of being true to who God made me to be. And all because of that one little, unexpected word, hallelujah and amen.

This One Word thing worked out so well that I’ll be doing it again in 2017. Based on last year’s experience, I spent quite a bit of time praying about what my new word should be, and again, it wasn’t something I would’ve chosen for myself, but after studying it and mulling it over I can see why God thinks it’s something I need to focus on. I’ll reveal my One Word for 2017 in the next post.

Did you have One Word for 2016? Leave a comment letting us know what it was and how it worked out for you.


PS: Find more encouragement for your soul at these linkups:

Holley Gerth’s Coffee For Your Heart

Missional Women’s Faith Filled Fridays

#DreamTogether at God-Sized Dreams

PPS: Looking for some a-MAZ-ing tools and resources to help you be more productive, write better and/or generally do life while keeping your sanity? I’ve got the goods — sign up to receive Daydreamer Dispatches, a once- or twice-a-month newsletter from yours truly, and you’ll automatically receive a super-sekrit link to My Absolute Must-Have, Can’t Live Without Tools and Resources list! Click here to get your link!

JeanA Jesus girl through and through, Jean Marie Bauhaus is on a journey of healing and rediscovering who God purposefully created her to be and figuring out how to do life within that context. She’s the wife of Matt and mom to a crew of four-legged dependents, all of whom make their home in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Jean counts coffee, dark chocolate and a yarn addiction among her vices. She’s the author of Restless Spirits, a family-friendly paranormal romance/mystery now available from Vinspire Publishing. You can learn more about her novels and short fiction at





  1. heather marshall

    I love how your one word carried you through a tough year! ♥ Last year was the year of ‘brave’ for me. This year, flourish. It’s so awesome how God gives us strength and direction at just the right time– sometimes just through seeing our ‘one word’ splashed somewhere- it’s like his love note to us. Thanks for sharing Jean and I can’t wait to hear what your word for 2017 will be! God bless!

    • Jean Marie Bauhaus

      Hi Heather! “Flourish” sounds like a great word. And I know what you mean — in both instances, once my word came into my consciousness I suddenly kept running into it everywhere. It felt like little winks from God.

  2. Karen

    Love your word for 2016. all of us could do more of that. Mine is “rest”. I’m a ‘doer’ a ‘planner and and organizer, so rest isn’t something I do well. But after some meditation, I realize that only things that begin in rest in the Lord really accomplish anything for Him. Thanks for your post… blessings on your 2017

    • Jean Marie Bauhaus

      I’m right there with you, Karen. Rest is such a struggle for me because I’m always thinking about and trying to prepare for what’s next. That’s something I’m really working on this year as well. I’ll have some blog posts on that topic coming up in the future.

  3. awriterbecoming

    Last year’s word for me was ‘grace’ and I was so blessed by the practice of looking, giving, noticing, and recognizing grace and God’s voice in it throughout the year. This year’s word is ‘gentleness’, and, so far, I am having to start with being gentle with myself.

    Thank you for your beautiful writings and the sharing of your heart. You do my soul so much good. ^_^ Blessings and love.

    • Jean Marie Bauhaus

      Aw, thanks Mel! It does me good to hear that. Being intentional about noticing, seeking and giving grace sound like sounds like it could do amazing things for your faith. And gentleness sounds like an extension of grace. It’s definitely one of the fruits of the spirit I could stand to cultivate more of in my life.

      Hope it goes well! ♥

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