I began setting annual themes a few short years ago.  My themes, so far, have been one word with a scriptural foundation.  For example, my theme in 2017 was REALITY.  The scriptural foundation is Philippians 4:13 – “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”

Hopefully, you will be ready very soon to say, “my theme for 2018” is ___________________.



A theme does not have to be set annually, but the new year is certainly a good time to think about one!

When the right and left turns happen throughout the year, having a theme helps you remember why you do what you do.  It’s never about the what; it’s always about the why.


It’s never about the what; it’s always about the why. Click To Tweet


Each one of us have been created for a unique impact in this world.  The journey to fulfilling our vision(s), our impact, will get difficult and we all need reminders that God is the one ordering our steps, no matter how well we lay out the plans.

To keep headed true North, amidst the struggles and opportunities (perceived or genuine), it helps tremendously to begin with a firm foundation.  That which will keep us focused.



When the word “reality” came to me, it didn’t make sense.  I remember stepping back and thinking,”WHAT?”  Even though I didn’t get it, the word would not leave me.  Then, the scripture came to me.

This was not a new scripture to me as had been the case with my theme in 2016.  I am very familiar with Philippians 4:16 as it is the foundation for the Celebrate Recovery my husband and I have been leading for 12 years.

I could see that the word and scripture definitely went together, but what did that mean for my upcoming year?  God rarely (almost never) gives us the full vision or reason beforehand.

God rarely (almost never) gives us the full vision or reason beforehand. Click To Tweet


Although I had uncertainty, I accepted my theme and moved into 2017.  I believed wholeheartedly that God was speaking even though I didn’t fully understand.


Here are some of the “reality” events that took place for me in 2017:
  • I published my first book, Choose to THRIVE – Conquering Your Inner Conflicts.  A book that was 4 years in the making (that’s a whole other story!).
  • My first retreat out of state took place (my retreats have been in Missouri since 2010).  In 2015 I knew they would be moving to Colorado, but I thought it would be much sooner than May of 2017.)
  • My youngest child graduated college and my husband and I became true empty nesters.
  • My husband retired (in our plans this was happening in 2018).
  • My husband and I gained a second (truly beautiful inside and out) daughter-in-law.
  • My husband and I became great grandparents for a 2nd time.
  • I started a women’s group on Facebook, Healthy Boundaries for Women Who Lead.  This is something I fought for a long time (yet, another story).

That’s quite a bit of REALITY!


When choosing your theme, I suggest:
  1.  Active listening.  What have you heard?  Take some quiet time, with journal in hand, to write down what you believe you’ve heard.
  2. Pray.  Ask God what His plan is for you in 2018 and what word(s) would keep His plan in front of you.  He is not likely to give you “the plan,” but a word or two that helps keep you on track.  In my case, “reality” kept fears at bay and pushed me forward with courage and perseverance multiple times as I was reminded that God is in control.
  3. Journal, journal and journal some more.  The processing that goes on in our mind and heart when we write things down is much different and thorough than when we don’t.  Also, journaling provides reflection and support as you go through the year.
  4. Spend time in God’s word.  Ask God to lead you to the scripture that will keep you firmly grounded throughout the year.
  5. Don’t over analyze!  Accept what you hear.  You can question things forever.  There’s no perfection here.  Go with what you hear.  Things will be revealed as you travel the path ahead.



I place my theme on the top of my goal sheets so it’s always in front of me.  I also place it in the front of my planner and I write it throughout my planner as the year progresses.

My journal connects the dots throughout the year and helps me rejoice when God clearly shows His hand.  It also provides the place to pour out my heart when I need to.

Especially for leaders, a theme is central to staying focused and centered on God’s plan and what’s truly important.



I love looking back at my themes over the years and being able to see more clearly how God has moved.  Reflecting on how much I’ve grown and the awareness of joy in the abundant gratitude because of all that God is and all that He does.

My theme for 2018?  The word that keeps coming up is, “launch.”  The scripture that has come to me is Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know that plans I have for you, says the Lord.  They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Honestly, this is not a word that I can see very far ahead with, at this point.  Interestingly, my husband and I have been talking about selling our family home.  That could mean a lot for new things that could “launch” in the future.

I can also see other possibilities from the road God has had me on.  One thing I know for sure, “if I can figure it out, that is not what God is going to do.” (Original quote).

I can guess and try to figure it all out, but that would be pointless.  Walking in obedience to the Holy Spirit is the only point.


Please comment below.  I WOULD LOVE TO KNOW YOUR THEME FOR THE UPCOMING NEW YEAR!  Know others who could benefit from this article?  Please share!

Having a theme is part of my coaching program, Foundations for a THRIVING Life.  If you are interested in this program, simply contact Debbie.


It is my prayer that your New Year is all you hope for

Happy New Year!!!


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