By Claudia Duff

New Year’s Resolutions all year long

Happy New Year! We did it! We made it to another year. It feels like Christmas all over again, doesn’t it? Another year to do things better, harder, stronger, and happier. When the clock strikes midnight it feels like we have been given a million more opportunities to get it right.

So much promise and hope to bask in and then it’s January 28th and things look a bit different now. Not as much hope and joy as before. By now many of you have already backslidden on your “read through the Bible in one year” plan, cheated on your diets, skipped the gym more times than you have gone, and you have no idea where you left your daily journal.

Don’t worry, you certainly are not alone. You have many friends right there with you and I am one of them! But, don’t fret, the most important person is right there as well: Jesus! He’s right alongside all of our fallen dreams and plans. And he is rooting for us! He is saying, “That’s ok; get up and try again.”

So, here I am getting back up and bringing you with me, lol! I’m starting off slow, with just “One Word.”

For the past few years I have chosen “One Word” to focus on for the entire year. 2019 is:


My past words have been courage, strength, forgive, and brave. I have waited six years for the word “peace” and this year it is mine! All mine!

When I hear the word peace I immediately think quiet, solitude, rest, and all of it taking place in an atmosphere of relaxation. Who in their right mind would not want that? I want it. I want it all, right now. Soon after I had settled on the word peace, I immediately began looking for a verse to focus in on and to give the word peace a bit more depth. This is the verse the Lord led me to:

“Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.” (Psalm 34:14 NASB)

Seriously? That’s the verse I get for peace? There is absolutely NOTHING restful or even quiet about this verse of Scripture. It’s more like a road map for all kind of shenanigans.

There is lots of movement going on in this verse. Let’s look at it.

Depart – requires not just movement but direction.

Seek – means I am in a fervent mode of operation. I am not just looking, I am actively searching.

Pursue – yep, I am now in a flat-out chase.

Think about it. When you read all of these words you get a sense of urgency and a need to really get up and get moving. All of this to say, be careful what you ask for. You just might get it.

So, here I am with my long-awaited word of “peace” and I am a bit scared, but in a good way. Peace has become something altogether different for me. It is no longer a place that finds me, but, rather a destination where the peace is the journey.

I am always up for an adventure! What about you? What are you chasing down this year? It doesn’t have to be just “one word.” It can be a verse, a sentence, or even a book of the Bible. Embrace it and then go after it.

Each year I usually do about the same things to aid in my faith walk. I don’t usually change things up because new stuff tends to fall away quickly. I am a creature of habit and new stuff takes time to click. Here are a few of my standards that I use on a daily and weekly basis:

How to Flourish in Peace:

  1. Daily devotional. A couple I like are: The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms by Timothy Keller and New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional by Paul Tripp.
  2. War binder. That is what I call my personal journal where I write prayers, worship songs, and sermon notes.
  3. Weekly Bible study. I attend a weekly Bible study at my church.
  4. Worship playlist on YouTube. Right now I am totally into People and Songs! They are awesome, so check ’em out.
  5. Daily Prayer Alarm. I have 0700, 1400, and 1600 alarms on my phone to remind me to pray for specific people. The app Echo can help with this.

Occasionally I try and mix it up a bit and do a bit of Bible journaling that looks more like stamping, coloring, painting, and scrapbooking in my Bible. I haven’t done this a lot in the past few years, but have recently felt that need to color and glue stuff. So, I am pretty excited about adding that back into the mix.

If you are struggling with spending time with God, just start out slow until you find your jam. This works for me, the emphasis being on “me” and my life as it is right now. It didn’t always look like this. When I was surrounded by little people my quiet time took about 90 seconds unless I got up extra early or stayed up extra late. God has promised to bless and multiply whatever time you offer up to him. We serve a gracious God who is for us. As much as you desire time with him, God desires it even more.

Flourish is our theme for this new year. I sure hope you will join us as we walk this out each week in our blog posts. There will be challenges, prayers, encouragement, and lots of ideas on how we can all flourish together. We plan to touch on all of the hot topics: marriage, kids, jobs, deployments, you know, all the good stuff we deal with daily.

I hope you are encouraged to get up and get going. I sure am. Even when I feel defeated, I am still victorious! The Cross is just that big; it covers it all.

So, Happy New Year! It’s gonna be a good one. I’ll check back with you guys from time to time to give some updates on how this path of peace is working out for me!


Dear Lord, although I may fail, I am NOT a failure. You see me as forgiven and loved. Lord, help me DEPART from evil, and do good, SEEK peace, and PURSUE it. Let me feel your forgiveness daily. Amen.