That “One Word” for the New Year Thing in 2020

That “One Word” for the New Year Thing in 2020

It happens every year. People all over the world choose one word for the new year and share it with others. Maybe the thought is that in sharing, we’ll be held accountable.

I’ve jumped on this wagon before but not every year; however, as the calendar turned to 2020, my mind seemed to be waking up with this word… Alert. One word to focus my attention in this new year –2020.

Whether or not you are called to be a writer, if you are a follower of Christ, you are called to pay attention. Be alert to all that God is doing around you, and write what you see. Then, if God entrusts to you a message and a following, you will be ready to step into the calling God has envisioned for you.

Michele Morin
(“How Do You Know You’re Called to be a Writer,” The Perennial Gen, January 2, 2020)

Sharing the Message

Reading through the story in Exodus 3 of Moses’ “burning bush moment, ” I saw with new insight a very interesting part of the story.

God had created a scene — a burning bush that wasn’t actually burning up — to speak to Moses a crucial word that He was sending him to help deliver the Israelites from their oppression by the Egyptian enemies. Everything was set up by God — clear as day — to speak to Moses through an unmistakable, miraculous sign.

But fresh eyes fell on verses 3 & 4 …”And Moses said, ‘I will turn aside to see this great sight why the bush is not burned.’ When the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush…”

There was a miraculous sign right before his eyes but being alert and giving attention to the miracle — turning aside to SEE — was the moment when God actually spoke to him out of the burning-yet-not-burning-up-bush.

And I have to wonder, are there miraculous signs and wonders and “burning bushes” all around us that God is just waiting and watching for us to be alert to and actually “turn aside to SEE?” Is He longing for us to be alert and pay attention long enough so He can speak clearly to us a word, or direction, or share the sheer love and comfort of His voice?

A few years ago hearts not made by human hands began showing up all over the place for me. The Spirit whispered in my ear that these are a message from God to tell me He loves me and wants me to tell others how much He loves them as well. It started a #heartsareeverywhere movement of sorts and people share their “heart-sightings” with me all the time now.

This phenomenon began to open my eyes. I began to see …look for …pay attention more to my surroundings …to be alert to God’s glory “shone around” much like the scene of the heavenly angels appearing to the shepherds in Luke 2.

It’s one thing to ask God to show me His glory but it’s another thing to actually LOOK !

Seeing God’s Glory in Creation

I see the sun streaming through the window on an orchid blossom. The bare branches of the trees in winter reaching up to the sky — waiting for fresh green leaves to dress them again in spring. The breeze blowing the swing in the back yard. The squirrel running along the power line. The brushed angel-like shape in the middle of the pansy flower at our front door…

Creation shouts all the time. Do we hear it? Do we turn to see what it’s shouting about?

Staying Alert in the Every-day Moments

Are we alert? Are we paying attention? Do you see what I see?

Another neighboring friend asked to park her “treasures” in our yard for safe keeping. It’s starting to look like we’re starting a parking lot for carts and buggies while neighbors wait for the metal recycling plant to open for another week of business–extra income recycling trash into treasure.

She showed up in the middle of a few neighbors and friends getting together for breakfast next door. We invited her to join us. Sammy is deaf so she communicated to us by writing on the back of a paper plate. Her message: her birthday was coming up this month. She further shared that her mom never gave her anything for her birthday.

Trying to be alert in the moment, I shared the paper plate’s message around the room and then did what any preacher’s kid might do …I turned the plate back over and passed it around like an offering plate to collect some extra cash for our friend. After all, no get-together is complete until someone passes the plate, am I right!?

She taught us how to sign “happy birthday” and we all gathered around her singing and signing, “Happy birthday to you!” An alert moment for all of us. Engaged. Paying attention. God’s glory displayed through our sweet friend.

Simple Act of Being Alert

Could it be that every moment has a story to tell? …signs and wonders all around?

Can a simple act of being alert reveal the miracles we’ve been praying for might be right before our eyes?

One word has the potential to deeply impact our lives. If you have one that’s waking you up right now, what is it? Feel free to share in the comments below. It might wake us up as well!

And may our one word for the New Year keep us alert to hear God’s voice a little better each day.


Here’s another great article my brother-in-law, Bruce Martin,  wrote to inspire your “one word for the New Year.”  You can read it HERE.   Enjoy !

Joy Waters Martin

My kids tease me sometimes that my definition of a situation going well is often described as, "It was 'life-giving' " -- meaning, it may have had some conflicts or uneasy moments or stress but all in all , something about it breathed life into the situation and the people involved...something of the heart was moved in a good direction. I'm all about LIFE ... life with my husband, life with 4 adult children, their spouses and 8 grandchildren (to date, that is :), life in our home and life in a wild adventure we tend to label "ministry". In reality , all of these categories mesh together to make up the "organic me". Relational , redeeming and restoring are some of my favorite words and they give life to my soul as I walk it all out with Jesus Christ, the Giver of all life. Profile Photo by: Melody Martin

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Bruce Martin

    I love this! I wonder how many burning bushes I’ve missed over the years?

    1. Joy Waters Martin

      I know right!! But we’re looking now for sure! Progress on … 😉

  2. Joy3

    Beautifully written as always sis!!! You have definitely taught me to intentionally look for God’s signs!!! I’m very thankful for you!!! 💛🦋

    1. Joy Waters Martin

      It’s time to go on a God-hunt together soon — walk, coffee, etc. 🙂

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