My One Word for 2017: Magnify

Right before Christmas break, my school required all teachers to submit a technology inventory. There’s nothing like standing on your head to try to read teeny-tiny serial numbers to make a girl realize she’s not as spry as she used to be.

I used to pride myself on my excellent vision. I could read the tiniest print and see street names from a long way off. Those days are over. Nowadays, I find myself squinting to see the board from the back of the room. I finally resorted to using a magnifying glass to get those serial numbers recorded. It’s time for a visit to the eye doc, I suppose.

It’s not just my physical vision that’s not what is used to be. My spiritual vision has been out-of-whack for a while now.

It seems my heartache and hard stuff are in hyper-focus while my blessings are a blur. I find myself squinting to foresee the future while pushing the here-and-now into the periphery.

As the new year approaches, I sense the Holy Spirit nudging me toward a “word” for 2017. A focal theme to guide me toward a deeper faith and a fuller life. My word for 2017 is MAGNIFY.

When I think of the word, my memory pulls up one of the most beautiful segments of the Christmas story. When the angel informs young Mary of her destiny as the mother of Christ, she asks a few humble questions and then moves straight into acceptance and then, later, unbridled praise. “My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior” (Luke 1:47 NKJV).

Think about this young girl whose life was turned upside-down by God Himself. The Christmas carols make it seem all tender and romantic, but I know things had to have gotten ugly. The angel didn’t fill in Mary’s parents or the town gossip about the supernatural pregnancy. There had to have been pain involved in the story long before the labor and delivery.

Yet Mary magnified the Lord and rejoiced in the Savior growing in her womb.

My life (and yours too, I suspect) is a bumbling, beautiful hodge-podge of triumph and trial, dreams and disappointment, laughter and lament. Miracles and muddling through.

I believe magnifying God’s character and God’s fingerprints on my life will help me keep a healthy, holy perspective no matter what I’m going through. I don’t know what 2017 holds, but I know Who holds me. I want to see Him at work in my life and in the world so I can cooperate instead of complicate.

What about you? Would you like to join me in praying this “be magnified” prayer? “Oh, magnify the Lord with me, And let us exalt His name together” (Psalm 34:3 ESV).


When I look back on my life, it’s easy to see how You held and helped me through every moment. You’d think Your perfect track record would be plenty of proof that You’ll come through for me again this year. Though my hindsight is sharp and sure, my forward vision is pretty fuzzy. I don’t trust myself to see things right, Lord. I have a habit of distraction I want to kick to the curb.

Be magnified in my life, Lord! I don’t want to miss a thing. 

“I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken” (Psalm 16:8 ESV).

I want to see You at work so I can say to the distracted world around me, “Look! See what my God just did!”

I want to recognize Your fingerprints on my life as evidence of Your loving, purifying touch.

I want to see every road sign You post on my path…the flashing neon and the fine print. And I want to follow those signs as if my life depends on it. Because it does.

No matter what I face this year, may I echo Mary’s song. “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name” (Luke 1:46-47, 49 NKJV).

I hold this year with upturned hands. Be magnified in me by the power of Jesus, AMEN

I’m excited about living life with the magnify mindset! What’s your word for 2017? If you want to learn how choosing a word for the year can help you live a fully, more focused life, check out my friend Rachel’s book, My One Word.