My one-word tradition for 2023 took me on a challenging voyage. I spent weeks reflecting on which word reveals where I am in my life’s journey and what I expect to be a key concept for growing and moving forward this upcoming year.

A history of my one-words over the years; 2017 – Discipline, 2018 – Peace, 2019 – Mindfulness, 2020 – Rejoice, 2021 – Presence, and 2022 – Boldness. Each of these words, apart from 2022 has helped me keep a steady focus on my journey.

My one word for 2023 is ‘Battle.’ Why is “Battle” important for me in 2023?

I am not fighting as much as I need. I have been ‘getting by’ mainly on momentum from past efforts and success. I am coasting on my innate talents, gifts of faith, physical health, job skills, being a good guy, etc.  However, getting by isn’t good enough. As a coach I know that talent that doesn’t work hard is wasted talent.

I am facing the same issues over and over; being distracted at work, lack of paying attention to details, practicing empathetic listening. I’ve put some weight back on, and I am confessing the same sins at every reconciliation. I have not addressed these concerns with enough vigor to put them far behind me. I also know that in the words of Margaret Thatcher, I must fight a battle more than once to win it. The key concept is ‘fight.’

“To be nobody-but-yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you somebody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight and never stop fighting.” – e.e. cummings

I believe God’s plan is to have these tough conflicts, so that I can learn perseverance and determination. We all have seen the ads about the “Easy” button. Just hit the Easy button and things become easy. I once had one on my desk, it doesn’t work. In life, there is no Easy button. Instead, there is an internal Battle button. We need to hit the Battle button inside of us. Victory can be more dependent on perseverance and how long and hard we battle, than on talent.

If you are not familiar with a poem most often attributed to Mother Teresa, “Life Is,” I highly recommend reading it. The closing line is “Life is Life, fight for it!” Mother Teresa didn’t write it herself but was so fond of the poem she repeated it often. It is an inspirational message that challenges us.

Fight against our enemies. Endure against our fears. Contend against what’s holding us back. Resolve to grow to be the person we desire. Struggle against self-sabotage. All of this doesn’t just happen – it takes effort and a fight. Every battle is a vote for the type of person we wish to be. Per Stephen Covey, public victories are a result of private battles that were turned into private victories.

For a time, I consider a word related to farming as my one-word for 2023. I feel much of what I do is plant seeds and build for future growth. However, as I reflected on farming compared to battle, I realized farmers battle all the time to deliver their crops every year. They battle weather, pests, environmental, even politics. They are also fighting between new and traditional ways of farming with no till, cover crops, and soil regeneration.

There is talk today that people are rejecting “hustle culture.” I am not sure what their definition of ‘hustle’ is. Hustle to me means working hard. It means doing the things other people won’t do and doing them with a sense of joy and purpose. It means battling. It has never meant being a workaholic. My College football coach would run top speed to the next drill with a determined look on his face, prodding everyone to “hustle up.” His lesson was, we need to make the most of the time we have. George Koufalis is the author of “The Dream is Free, but the Hustle is Sold Separately.” It is the story of a boy who lost his innocence early on and grew up with the constant companion of painful hardships and suffering, yet never gave up his quest for something better.

Per Herm Edwards, “we play to win the game” and to win the game we need to win the battles. We need to compete and win the 50/50 balls, win along the boards, win in the trenches, win at the point of attack. This applies to sports, business, volunteering, life, and faith. It applies to all areas of our life – character, values, standards, and commitments.

I blogged before regarding the “small” sins, the kind we think don’t really matter. The kind we believe we don’t have to battle and remain “good” Christians. Life is full of situations where it is easier to avoid the battle. However, we need to confront what matters in our life. We need to battle against the storms.

2 Timothy 1:6-7, “For this reason, I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control.” A spirit to battle. Scripture is filled with battlers, just to name a few – Joseph, Daniel, Ruth, David, Esther, Maccabees, Paul, and Stephen. One of my favorite patriotic songs is the Battle Hymn of the Republic. The stirring American Civil War song uses biblical imagery and likens the battlefield to God’s judgment.

Jesus has won the war, but we must fight spiritual battles daily. The battle between good versus evil or now and later. Will we do what God says and enjoy the benefits later, or will we do what we want and enjoy the benefits now? We must continuously battle against the principalities and powers, to win for His glory and our salvation.

Scroll to Top