How a Change in Tense Changes Choices

Jan 14, 2013

Y’all there are so many thoughts spinning in my head and I’m having the hardest time getting them to come out “perfectly”. So I’m throwing off perfection and gonna do the next right thing…which is tell you what God is telling me.

Last New Years when bloggers wrote about their “one word” for 2012 I scoffed and sarcastically claimed “survival” as my word. At a time when everyone made fun plans for the year and talked about their trips and projects and God-dreams, I knew my year held one major life-altering event…a baby.

Given my wuh-wuh, Debbie-downer state of being last New Year’s Eve, I decided to celebrate for reals this year. There would be laughter and smiles and excitement. Since my parents were in Dallas for the holidays (thank you Lord) Bruce & I headed out of the house for a fun night on the town…downtown, in fact.

During uninterrupted dinner conversation I shared my excitement about saying “adios” to 2012 and welcoming a new year. My optimistic husband’s glass is not only half-full, it’s overflowing. So he responded with, “What was wrong with 2012? I thought we had a wonderful year. We had Knox & made so many great memories.”

There wasn’t much of a pause before I made sure to burst his happy bubble. “Are you kidding me? This year landed me in therapy? Our house was broken into. I spent 2 weeks on crutches with a newborn. My grandmother died. It was NOT my favorite year…”


Remembering this was my night of laughter and smiles and excitement, I attempted to recover from my rant with, “But I’m really excited for 2013. Some people even pick a word for their year, instead of making lots of resolutions they won’t keep. In fact, a book just released called, “My One Word”. I went to their website, read the info, and decided on a word. What word would you pick?

I don’t know why I ask these questions of my husband. He needs time to process the answers to questions like, “What kind of adults do you want our sons to become?” and “If you could live in any country where would you live?” Yet I still ask him and get the same answer, “I don’t know. I’ll have to think about it.”

It may seem silly to think a word can change the coarse of a year. But in the two weeks since I’ve picked my word, the word has come to my mind at least 10x a day. My focus on it actually affected making time to write this post.

So, what’s my word? (drumroll please…)


Not the noun, but the verb. As in ,”to be present”.

But also like the tense, not living in the past or over-planning for the future…but focusing on the present time.

Here are some of the scenarios which prompted me to pick this word:

  • When Watts wants my attention and says “Mommy” four times before I look up from my phone. Then when I do respond, it’s with an annoyed, “What?”.
  • When I’ve been given the opportunity to write for 3 hours and I’ve spent about 30 minutes writing and 2 1/2 hours on social media.
  • When my brain is thinking about all the things I want to write about and I don’t hear Price telling me about his newest invention idea.
  • When I take the effort to wake up early to spend time with God but end up spending more time thinking about what Scripture I could tweet.

I desire for this to be a year in which I attempt to be fully present.  With my family. With my friends. With God…

“Breaks in the day used to be small windows of replenishment for body & soul-like driving in a car, going for a walk, having lunch with a friend-are now filled with noise, interruption and multitasking…No wonder we feel disconnected from God; we are rarely able to give him our full attention in solitude and silence.

-Ruth Haley Barton

Monks left the “world” to pursue His presence. My goal is to be in the world but not of it. To make space in this place to see Him. To choose His ways over mine. To stop checking what everyone else is doing and pay attention to what He is doing in my moments.

I love to check Twitter and Facebook and to escape the crazy waves of my life. But I was made for my life. I want to live it. So I’m going to make the hard choices to be present in my life.

My prayer,

O God, give me moments when I am fully present to you and to others in love.  Moments when I am connected with what is purest and most authentic within me and able to respond to your presence in that place.” (Ruth Haley Barton)

Did you pick a word for the year? I’d love to hear what you chose (if you are reading from your email, click here to share).


  1. sarahfarish

    I have read many “one word” posts since I’m participating too, but this one is by far my favorite. It slapped my hand a bit…awakened me too:). Thanks!

    • GodCenteredMom

      you are so sweet! thank you for your words of encouragement. this has been my personal conviction, but perhaps the Spirit is moving others to be less distracted and more engaged in His presence. be blessed!!

  2. Jeanette Edgar

    Present – amen to that!

  3. Erin

    My one word for this year is “adventure!” Felt God leading me to live more freely in Him and live the adventure He has for me. 🙂 Also, to have more adventures with my family and show my kids how to live!

    • GodCenteredMom

      your word is so awesome and exciting! can’t wait to see what adventures God brings you this year.

  4. christie elkins

    I love reading your posts because I feel like we are having a conversation 🙂 And I totally neglect my writing time with social media, too. My word this year is “hope”. I have hope that God will grow and change our family in a thousand ways, and have hope that we will respond to His will! My husband’s word is “simplify”, ridding ourselves of things that we do not need, either tangible items in our home or mental stressors.

    Oh, and yes. I too, ask my husband questions like “If you could change one thing about me, what would it be?” and “What actor would play you in a movie of your life?” right at bedtime 🙂

    • sarahfarish

      Christie…my word is “hope” too!

    • GodCenteredMom

      you are a dear!! wish we could have more “real life” conversations, but i guess our online connection will have to do.

      “Hope”…such a wonderful word. (i wish i could adopt your husband’s word as well…desperately need to simplify around here).

      Glad to hear I’m not alone in asking these ridiculous, probing questions…at the wrong times. 😉

  5. Jennie

    Love this… Being present is always a goal of mine… 🙂

  6. Sandy

    I’ve never commented before but regularly read and am encouraged and challenged by your blog. Really like your word “present”, it made me stop and think about how future oriented i tend to be.
    My word is HEALTHY
    I want to be healthy spiritually, mentally, socially – and can’t forget physically 🙂

  7. bloggertiff

    My word is perseverance…I’m blogging about it on Saturday 🙂

    • GodCenteredMom

      great choice Tiff! thanks for sharing!


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