One Word 2018: Fearless

For five years, instead of making New Year’s resolutions, I’ve participated in One Word 365. I usually start putting out intuitive feelers for my next word around Thanksgiving. I think and pray about what I’ve been struggling with, what I want to work on, my hopes and goals for the new year. I make a mental shortlist, spend time with each option to see which feels right, and don’t make a final decision until the last minute. Well, that process didn’t quite play out this year. 2018 came to me earlier and more clearly than any of the others. I like to get a word-related piece of jewelry each year, and I was so sure of my choice, I went ahead and ordered a bracelet.

On New Year’s Day, I got a sense that 2018 will be a quieter year for me, more about rooting than charging out and conquering. I could be wrong – and I don’t intend to sit on the sidelines – but I think it’s a time to be peaceful and enjoy reaping a harvest. As I thought about this, I suddenly wondered if I made a mistake, if I chose an aggressive word on autopilot because that’s just what I do now. But I’ve decided these hunches and my word are not mutually exclusive. In fact, I need some external peacefulness to have the internal capacity to wrestle with this word. So I give you:


There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. – I John 4:18

Be truthful, gentle, and fearless. ― Gandhi

Becoming fearless isn’t the point. That’s impossible. It’s learning how to control your fear, and how to be free from it. ― Veronica Roth

There are no guarantees except this one: if we dwell on our fears, we will definitely miss the joys of the unexpected. — Arianna Huffington

Fear is not real. It is a product of thoughts you create. Do not misunderstand me. Danger is very real. But fear is a choice. — Will Smith

In our particular historical situation, waiting is even more difficult because we are so fearful. One of the most pervasive emotions in the atmosphere around us is fear. People are afraid – afraid of inner feelings, afraid of other people, and also afraid of the future. – Henri Nouwen

We get used to living one way, even if it’s a bad way or a hard one. When that’s gone, there’s a hole to fill. It’s in our nature to try to fill it with anxieties and fears. It can take time to fill it with good things instead. ― Cassandra Clare


On the far side of any life-altering trauma, fear is a tricky thing. On one hand, surviving something awful gives you the strength and confidence to feel like fear should have no more power over you. On the other hand, you have a permanent limp and are unsure how much more you can survive. As an Enneagram Six, I’ve struggled with fear and anxiety all my life, but the last eight years have changed the landscape. I’m stronger than I ever thought I could be, but I’ve also felt sure at times that one more blow would do me in. Even the improvements in my circumstances have produced new fears, from taking more chances and having more to lose. The continuing evolution of my faith and how I’m living it out freaks me out here and there. Meanwhile, on a macro level, the world is an increasingly scary and unstable place.

In 2017, I found myself paralyzed by fear regularly. Rarely for more than a few moments, but more often than I deemed acceptable. I think I’ve dealt with it okay, but in a momentary get a hold of yourself type way. Growing beyond that is what I’m after with Fearless. From the first moment it popped into my brain, I’ve never meant it to be about crazy stunts or anything. This is about my mind and heart. I prayed for abundance, and amazingly, I got it. Now I have a lot of fears to shake off:

♥ Fear of failure as I learn a job I haven’t done before.

♥ Fear of consistently being vulnerable with my boyfriend, trusting the process of a relationship between two imperfect people, and maintaining that it doesn’t have to conform to anyone else’s expectations.

♥ Fear of permanently returning to an emotionally and spiritually low place. Always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

♥ Fear of God (and not the “good” kind). My relationship with God is mostly on a sliding scale between wariness and outright fear. Ultimately, I believe most of my spiritual reconstruction has been healthy and good. This part needs more work. I have to overcome my fear of God in order to trust him again. I don’t have a clue how to accomplish that, but this word is my way of offering up good intentions. I also subscribed to a daily “fear not” e-mail (“fear not” is the most frequent command in the Bible, though the actual number of times is debated).

♥ Fear of disapproval as I stand up for my beliefs and rights, and the rights of others. I’ve made progress in this area – I’ve had to – but it’s still excruciating. That fear is part of what’s kept me pretty silent here. I know there’s a cost for writing more honestly.

♥ Fear of disappointing people as I continue to set boundaries and say no to things. Turns out I’m not superhuman and cannot do everything everyone asks of me, even when they think I should.

So there you go. #Fearless2018. If you have a word for this year, tell me about it!

Wrap bracelet by Sunchaser Fine Art


About my previous One Words:
2017: Abundance // 2016: Light // 2015: Enough // 2014: Alive // 2013: Focus

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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One Response to One Word 2018: Fearless

  1. Anonymous says:

    I like it! I’ve been reading your blog this year and am excited for you to see where this takes you. X

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