One Word 2016: Light



2016 will be my fourth year of participation in One Word 365. The practice of adopting a word for my year, instead of a list of specific resolutions, gives me a little purpose without a lot of pressure. I see my word as a guidepost, both for the year and for long-term growth. I’ve learned if I need a concept enough to sit with it for a year, it’ll probably stick with me longer than that. So I choose carefully, considering what I need and what I think God wants me to focus on. 2015 was a difficult year in my heart, and I wanted a fresh word for 2016, a word that conveyed newness and hope. After rejecting a few ideas, I found it.


God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. – I John 1:5-7

The first word that you ever spoke was: light. Thus time began. For long you said no more. – Rainer Maria Rilke

I’ve grown tired of smoke and mirrors. I yearn for the clean, well-lighted place… This is the honest way I want to live and love and write. – Amy Poehler

Still there are darkened places deep in my heart
Where once was blazing light, now there’s a tiny spark.
Oh glory, come and find me. – Paramore

There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. – Leonard Cohen



(n.) brightness from the sun, fire, or electricity

My Florida upbringing made me a child of light. I soak up sunshine like a plant and battle SAD with a sun lamp all winter. I’ve always needed a lot of light to be happy and healthy. Sunlight, candles, campfires, twinkle lights… these are all connected with good times.

(n.) understanding of a problem or mystery; enlightenment; spiritual illumination by divine truth

I’m naturally pretty honest and transparent, but over the last couple of years I’ve thrown a lot of unresolved problems and heart-things into a dark room and shut the door. Nothing sinister, just stuff I got weary of wrestling with. It’s also scarier than it used to be to talk/write openly about my thoughts and feelings – I’ve gotten more defensive and untrusting. But living in the light means being real about my fears, messes, and mistakes, at least with God and myself… and being with people who value my particular light and bring their own to the table. I also hope for spiritual enlightenment this year, more light on my path to give me direction and understanding.

(v.) become illuminated; ignite

I want to be a light in dark places, a candle lighting other candles. I believe encouragement is one of my gifts, but feel handicapped by darkness. It’s really hard to give hope to others when I don’t have much for myself, or energy when I’m burned out and not operating at full strength. I want to be re-illuminated and fully alive. I want to see light win here and now, not just in glory by and by.

(adj.) having little weight, not heavy

My life is carefree on the surface, but I’ve carried some burdens for a long time. I want to shake off the ones I can shake, somehow develop a lighter heart about the ones I can’t, and generally eliminate stuff I don’t need (both literally and metaphorically).

Common usage: bring something to light; in a different light; the light of someone’s life; the lights are on but no one’s home; light a fire under someone; see the light of day; cast light on something; the light side of the Force; light at the end of the tunnel


What really excites me about this word is its abundance. Like light itself, the concept of Light surrounds us and permeates our culture. It’s so rich that I really struggled to narrow it down enough to write this intro. I’ll have plenty of reminders of it and new angles to consider. Most of all, I like its life-giving connotations and the idea that it’s something I’m open to receive, not something I have to strive for. Bring on the light!

PS: Follow my ongoing inspiration at my Light Pinterest board!

About Brenda W.

Christian. Memphian. Reader. Writer. True blue Tiger fan. Lover of shoes, the ocean, adventure, and McAlister's iced tea. View all posts by Brenda W. →
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4 Responses to One Word 2016: Light

  1. Mia says:

    This looks amazing! Light is a really exciting word! A great way to embody the year :)

  2. Bethany says:

    Love this! Very well-chosen, and well-explained.

  3. Meredith says:

    I was looking forward to reading what your word would be this year. Love the choice!

  4. Pingback: The 2016 Survey | Don't Stop Believing

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