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How to Choose Your Theme Word for the Year

How to Choose aI never thought choosing a theme word for the year was important. I lumped it in with fad diets and celebrity gossip, i.e. something that wasn’t worth my time.

Last year was the first time I ever took it seriously. My girlfriends opened me up to the idea by setting a theme for their new year and I didn’t want to be left out! Plus, I knew it was going to be a big year for God and me. He was leaving me little clues about how important it was to seek Him regarding a theme word.

And it is important for you. Too many times to count, I have heard stories from women whose word changed their year. If they hadn’t taken the time to seek God about it, they would have felt aimless and lacked perspective about what God was orchestrating during their lives that year. Their theme word was prophetic, meaning God used their word to reveal something to them only He knew about!

Now, it is your turn. Let me show you how it is easy but vitally important to find a word to define your year!

Download this easy step by step guide to discovering your year’s theme!


DSC04748 (2)Do you see this coffee mug? It seems like a cute, ordinary mug you may have in your own kitchen, right? This is no such mug, this mug defines my last year.

Jesus says if you ask for anything in His name, He will do it (John 14:14) and that faith will move mountains (Matthew 21:21). I believed I could, and by the grace of God, I did. I started Move the Mountains.

You may be thinking, “How lovely, you started your own little business. Good for you!” No. You do not get it. I had to move heaven and earth to build this business. I spent thousands upon thousands of hours building MTM. I sacrificed more than I care to admit to create something God called me to begin.

Screenshot_2015-12-28-06-58-21 (2)I’ve cried and screamed and cried again so many times in the launch of this business that I broke, many times over. All because God whispered to me, “Be brave.” It was my theme word for 2015.

I have had to be brave in ways I’ve never expected. I’ve had to be brave in the hard moments with my sons: In the quiet times with Jesus, in vulnerability with my husband, in trusting, in going as far as I thought I could and Jesus grabbing my hand and taking me a little farther. I’ve had to be brave in the quietest of ways that none but Jesus will ever see or remember.

These words have shaped my entire year, and now, this little coffee mug my girlfriend bought to commemorate it stands as a reminder that because I believed, I did it.

girl inwoodsIt was not pretty and I would love to forget some of it, but I did it. Blood, sweat, and tears, these words shaped my year. If I had not chosen these words or any words, my year would have been different. In essence, choosing a word for myself was prophetic.

In the times that I struggled, if I didn’t have God’s words to “be brave” echo in my heart, this blog may not be here today. Move the Mountains could have become one of those pipe dreams that a wanna-be entrepreneur thought up.

Thousands of men and women would not have received timely words of encouragement or the Bible Journaling Challenge. You may not ever know how important it is to choose a theme word for your year! These words helped breath life into all of these things, that is what makes them prophetic.

books on stairsGod may not be calling you to influence thousands of people, but He is calling you. He is always calling you trust His leading more. This is one of those small steps of faith that can have a big outcome.

So, if you are ready to chose your theme word for the year, then let’s get started!

1. Reflect on 2015:

girl writingThink about last year. What did you go through? What did God teach you? Is there a resounding message He has been trying to send you?

Spend some time journaling about this. Identifying God’s sign posts from 2015 can help direct 2016 more than you know.


2. Think about what you want out of 2016:

What goals do you have? In one year, where do you want to be spiritually, emotionally, physically?

3. What is your favorite Bible verse right now?

Sometimes, our favorite Bible verse can be a key to unlocking to what our heart is desiring. You may have a secret longing that you could never describe fully yourself, but you find the answer in God’s Word.

4. Ask God directly, “What word do You want to define my year?”

crumpledpaperIf you get thirty words in your head, right them all down and then go back over them. Choose the one that makes your heart sing.

If you draw a blank, that is okay, too. Visit the website myoneword.org by clicking here and they have a list of words that you can choose from. This is a Christian organization that specializes in helping people choose a theme word for their year. Write down the words that speak to you the most.

5. Choose the word that resonates within your heart.

featherheart2 (2)It needs to be a word that will challenge you but also, excite you! Choose something that will inspire you and be helpful in guiding your year ahead. It should be something that you hold onto and a reminder when you are face down on the ground and asking yourself, “Why?”

6. Choose a verse to go with your theme word.

Using Google or eSword, use your word and search for verses that contain it. Like, “verses about joy,” or “verses about strength”. Then choose a verse to commit to memory that will remind you of your theme.

7. Create a piece of art to commemorate your theme word for the year.

joshua19My “be brave” drawing from above was never finished. It looked terrible and I was embarrassed by it. Thankfully, when I chose my verse, Joshua 1:9, I created my best piece of art to date!

It is important to create something to remember your word. It has to do with using both sides of your brain to enforce an idea and make it stick. If we don’t keep the important things in the forefront of our minds, they have  a tendency to slip from memory thereby diminishing the importance of the experience and its ability to influence us.

Pray about your word with God to make sure He approves of it, too. You may love the idea of “happiness” for your new year but depending on your heart posture, it may be a tad self-centered. Or, if you want to choose “adventure” but God wants your year to be filled with rest, those two ideas don’t go together well. Ask God for His final approval and then confidently claim the word for yourself for the year. 

FEARLESSKnow that God can change your word. My girlfriend also chose brave last year for a much different reason from my own. In September (before the year was over), God told her she didn’t have to be brave anymore because she was fearless now.

Set the right tone for your year if you haven’t yet! It is not too late! Download your free guide to choosing your theme word!


What word did you choose?

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About Author

Amanda Schenkenberger

I'm a wife to a hard working man and a mama of four little adorable boys. We live near Portland, Oregon and we love it. Portland has a great vibe and we love sharing the good news of the gospel with the people here.

I'm a stay at home mom first, then a work at home mom. The kids have to come first. I love people, hiking, coffee, converse, and Jesus. I also love coffee. And another favorite thing of mine is coffee. :) If you like coffee, we should be friends.

My one ridiculous dream I'd really like to come true is to collect one of every Starbucks mug that is related to a city or country.

Have a blessed day!


  1. My word for 2017 is “New”. My verse is actually my life verse, Isaiah 43:18-19. I’m also doing a scripture verse search each month with the word “new” in it to help keep me accountable to scripture memorization–which I’m horrible at!

    1. I love it as a year theme and a life verse, He is doing a new thing in you! 🙂 And what a marvelous idea about memorizing related Scripture! I am also not very good at this and I think taking one verse a month will allow it to really get stuck in your head. If you’re the crafty kind of woman, I suggest each month creating a new piece of art with the new verse to display somewhere that you look a lot. Creating it and seeing it more will help you memorize it even better!

      Thanks for sharing, Susan!


  2. This article is very helpful! Thank you! I’m still praying about my word even though I think I have an idea what it is.
    More later,
    Happy New Year!

    1. Hi Pamm,

      I’m glad I could be of help! I think praying about your word and mulling it over is a great and thoughtful idea!

      Thanks for commenting,

  3. Originally picked patience but habe changed it to “resolute” and hope God approves of this one. Patience was not doing it for me and i felt guided to my new word. I need to.research in the Bible now. We live in Panama part time and need to sell our property beause of medical reasons and return to Atlanta full time. It has been very hard dealing with everything that is being thrown our way. I really thank God for putting you in my path. I have loved your series and learned so much. God bless you in your mission to gather souls for Him!

    1. Hi Elaine,

      Thank you for sharing what you have been going through, I am sorry to hear to is a tough season. But there is refining done in the fire! I can personally attest to that ;). And I think it is completely okay to change your word, especially when you feel a particular draw to it. I have also felt like doing this a time or two and I am glad to hear you are going with the flow and then doing a Bible study with your word, I think that’s fabulous. Resolute reminds me of Abraham who, despite his crazy circumstances of being old and Sarah being old, he didn’t stop believing God to fulfill His promise of making Abraham a father of many nations.

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the series, and thank you again for sharing!


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