On Words and the Future

by | Jan 3, 2014 | Uncategorized


Sometimes I fret about what I’m writing here and then I envision giving myself a smack on the face like Cher slapping Nicholas Cage in Moonstruck. Snap out of it!  I need to remember why I’m blogging in the first place.

For me, writing isn’t about eloquence; fashioning the perfect stories so you’ll bow at the altar of my writing voice – bleh and ick. I’d be less than truthful if I didn’t admit that positive feedback fuels my passion. But for me, blogging is about community, transformed lives, and a spark of hope or tiniest hint of grace from a paragraph that evokes one to notice the presence of God’s nearness in a seemingly insurmountable circumstance.

Mostly I want you to know that God is personal, not an ideal or a principle.

Over Christmas, the greatest gift I received wasn’t tied with a ribbon. It was an email from a blog follower who I now consider a dear friend. We haven’t met in person (yet) but God has joined our hearts through the Sabbath Society. We pray for each other and she’s allowed me to speak into her life. Why was her letter so special? She told me how this blog and the newsletter I send out every week have restored her faith in the Body of Christ. I can’t think of a more meaningful gift, really.

In the The Alphabet of Grace, Frederick Buechner tells about a response during a job interview for a ministry position — You like to be in the limelight –that spawned deep conviction within him.  He writes, “And out of his mouth issues a sharp edged sword and his face is like the sun shining in full strength. He has named my name. The limelight.”

While I don’t make resolutions, my only goal this year is to be named by God and give myself away more generously for the Kingdom. And while that may sound lofty and pious to you, I can assure you it isn’t.

I am weak in remembering the truth and in desperate need of saving — daily. If I’m honest, perfectionism has named me because I’ve allowed it.  This year I’m trading my perfectionism for the one who is Perfect. This isn’t my magic mantra; it’s a daily surrender of smacking me in the face with the truth. (Not literally, for those of you who are concrete thinkers.)

While the limelight looks appealing, I know the realities of the platform because I’ve lived a life around it. I know how easy it is for influence to become an idol. How unattractive selfish ambition looks from the vantage point of someone seated in the audience watching.

I don’t want to be that person.

Lord, save me from myself.


Last year, I didn’t follow the crowds of bloggers choosing one word to welcome the New Year and that seemed to be a curious declaration for many when I wrote about it. This year the word found me. Trust. It’s the word God is giving me for 2014 through sacred echoes.

Behind the broad chested posture of trust is the phrase I tend to repeat to myself in such a small whisper it’s barely noticeable, unless I’m quiet. Are you ready for it? Here it is:  But what if– then I add the scenario.  And trust doesn’t have buts in the sentence because trust doesn’t control outcomes; it lays them at the feet of Jesus, walks away, and doesn’t look back.

There are things in my future that cause me to bite my lip and lose myself in spiraling unresolved thoughts. My husband chants, “Are you listening to me,” a lot lately. I’m stuck in but Ville. Can anyone relate?

The words agent, book proposal, and writing a book are in the forefront of 2014 for me. Did I just say that? I have a Speaking tab on my blog now which makes me want to hide underneath the table one day and push my way through the frontlines of a battleground on the next. My daughter is going to college this year and well, does that really need any more explanation? This is just a few of the ways God is saying, “Trust ME.”

So, while I’m taking the plunge, naming my year Trust, I know it won’t be a cakewalk. That’s why I’ve decided being open-handed is the only way to experience it.  Because this is the faith paradox: we give our lives away to find them.

I’m giving you permission, as someone who follows my journey, to tell me — Snap out of it– if you read me writing from but Ville.

Have you joined the One Word Challenge? Share your word in the comments.


Subscribe for Shelly’s stories and free resources here: https://shellymillerwriter.com/free-resources/


  1. Christie Purifoy

    Great word! I’m looking forward to sharing 2014 with you.

    • Shelly Miller

      You are good company Christie. Looking forward to seeing how God expands your tent too.

    • Valorie MacDonald

      Aw, Ro…I’ll be praying for you as well as for Shelly! My heart leapt as I read your words. SO where I’m at right now!

    • Shelly Miller

      You’ve been one of my greatest encouragers Ro and I don’t take that for granted. So thankful for who you are and thankful for your honesty. It matters.

  2. Michelle DeRusha

    Joining with you as you trust, Shelly. {and cheering madly for you as you step into book-writing and speaking!}

    • Shelly Miller

      Thank you so much Michelle. Your friendship is such a gift to me.

    • Shelly Miller

      Present, what a great word Sandy. Yes, lets hold each other accountable. Excited to see what is new on your plate this year.

  3. Tara_pohlkottepress

    so proud of you. you’ve got this!

    • Shelly Miller

      Tara, you just don’t know how much it means to me to have you here and believing in me. Love you friend. I saw your new writing gig on FB. Congrats to you!

  4. Tresta Payne

    Yes! This is my brain and heart, here. I’m still praying over a word for the year, vacillating in my cynicism. But you inspire and community CAN break cynicism. Looking forward to following your journey this year, Shelly.

    • Shelly Miller

      How is your transportation adventure going Tresta? You know I will forever associate you with the stories you wrote about your van and the wreck and living with the outcome.Thanks for being here. Praying God gives you a word to sink into that causes your heart to beat wildly.

      • Tresta Payne

        Aw, thanks Shelly! We have been blessed with a new-to-us black van (and perhaps cursed with black carpet interior – why?!).

  5. Lori Tintes Hartmann

    I just love this post. Not only because I love the way your writing aways speaks to me but because it really hits things on the nail for me. I am pretty sure But ville is my hometown so can totally relate to that. Pretty much daily I pray or I should say cry out to God “Please save me from myself!” So far he’s doing his job. 🙂 This is the 7th year I have picked a word for the year. For me it’s been life changing. Once I put that intention out there to God, He seems to bring about the life experiences for which I am to learn what I putting out there to him. Last year my word was FearLess and while I fell down a lot and fell to my knees in desperation a lot, He was faithful in bringing me to a place where I do fear less than I did before. This year my word is Free. It’s time for me to tear down the prison walls and barriers that I have created. Time to stop making excuses as to why I am not living fee. Time to get rid of the yoke of slavery and start living free. I started back going to church this past year and I am still stuck with walls around me because I am so afraid to trust christians. And honestly I am not so sure I want to drink their koolaid. Here’s to 2014 and moving away from Butt ville!

    • Shelly Miller

      Lori, I’m so touched by your words. First, seven years? Wow. And life changing sounds like your journey here. I want to stay in touch as you experience what being Free really means to God’s heart. I’m expectant that this will be a good year for you, maybe not easy, but the best things in life are rarely, if ever, easy are they?

  6. Karrilee Aggett

    I adore this… and you. and But Ville… hehe…
    My OneWord is Vision… my call this year? He said to be a Visionary. No Big Deal? Trusting with you, friend and so excited for you!

    • Shelly Miller

      What an exciting word full of possibilities Karrilee. Can’t wait to see how you live into it. Sounds exciting.

  7. Barbie

    You have a beautiful heart. I’ve picked One Word the last three years, but did not do to this year. I want to be available to go where God would have me go. I am open to a Word, if the Lord would bring it. Trust is also something I’m learning more how to do. Blessings!

    • Shelly Miller

      I felt the same way you do last year Barbie. I think sometimes he takes us on a treasure hunt for the name instead of making it simple because He is anything but simple that isn’t he?

  8. Valorie MacDonald

    Oh….Shelly… I’m praying for you and your Speaking Tab!) I didn’t realize Jumping Tandem is so far away. Ah well, that’s how it is living in the tiny.toe.tip of Deep South TX. One day I believe we will meet and just…Know… We’re talking kindred spirit stuff!) I have always said “faith?.. or presumption???” since around age 10 I found out my uncle ruined his family, financially and with affairs, and finally leaving my aunt and cousins, all in the name of “God says we just have faith and we can name/claim anything our heart desires” In the end I erred on the side that led my down a path to full.on fear in place of the “balance” I thought I was after. My last 5 years have been marked by a string of losses, The church thing? Check. Check! The crash? Yup. I was driving; my 2 babies were in the car with me and though all were safe, miraculously walked away with the most minor of injuries, it somehow has affected my life, even in strange ways like my then.17.year.old.twins not wanting to learn how to drive…so now they’re 19 and I’m playing chauffeur. Sound selfish? I don’t mind helping them BUT need them to walk forward, to start helping themselves, to move forward!!!
    Which will necessitate ME choosing to fully move forward…. my one word? Feels like Lost has given way to Stuck and neither of those are what I want to proclaim as a banner over my new year!
    Your story of hope and the mall? Check on that too. Last year I thought I had discovered, quite by accident, my one word for 2013: Jump. That lasted just long enough to find a place in supporting others. WHICH IS FINE, DON’T GET ME WRONG!.. But when there’s this fire burning in me, like never before, to move, to plan, to dream…for what God has put in me PERSONALLY, for the first time in my life, rather than defining myself solely as a supporting character, well… for this lifelong “pleaser,” Well, again finding myself supporting everyone around me with NO clue how to begin for myself….to say it was like a bucket of cold water on my tiny little flame is understatement to the Nth degree. SOUNDING SO WOE IS ME!…And I hate that. But if the place to start is to find someone else who knows the value of honesty…then maybe just reading this and joining the discussion, is a start of some sort..?
    Anyway don’t mean to be all debbie.downer, but even if it doesn’t sound like it, you have brought me great encouragement today! A Happy Sabbath to you and yours!

    • Shelly Miller

      Wow, some of our experiences are really parallel aren’t they? I didn’t take your comment as Debby Downer at all Valorie, just an honest awakening of your life. I think it is good to call things as they are instead of living in denial. Glad you walking with me along the journey. I will be praying for you, you know that already.

  9. Amy Young

    Hi Shelly I love seeing that your word is trust! My word is “trust” too … if you want to read my post it’s

    I’m thinking the third Tuesday of every month hosting a “Trusting
    Tuesday” link up where people can link up what they are learning or
    where they are in their journey of trust. If you’d be interested, let me
    know at messymiddle@gmail.com.

    Amy 🙂

    • Shelly Miller

      We were at each other blogs at the exact same time Amy, how fun is that? I think that is a great idea about doing the link up.

  10. Megan Willome

    Trust? Eek!

  11. Jeri@got2havefaith

    Leap. As in leap of faith. Like you, I blog for me…but who doesn’t like positive feedback? Lol great post, by the way. I like your style.

    • Shelly Miller

      Exactly Jeri. Thanks for stopping by.

  12. Beth

    My word is JOY and I really am all excited about the word God gave me this year. But can I also say…when you share your word TRUST, I think that could be part of my word. What I mean is, trusting Him that JOY really can be found through this deployment. There will be ups and downs, but He wants to make my heart leap with joy. There is fear too. I keep saying to myself, what if? What if there is a big bump along the way? Will I be able to find the joy? Will I still trust Him? One thing is for certain, He is so present right now. Sorry for rambling a bit here. :)))

    • Shelly Miller

      The way you are pressing into God through your husbands deployment is so inspiring Beth. Instead of being downcast, you are using it as an opportunity to grow and that says so much. I was thinking about how your neighbor shoveling your walks and driveway was such a God-gift.

  13. DeanneMoore

    So glad God gave this word, spoke into the depths of you…This you, vulnerable real and ready you…even when you are biting your lip. I will take you up on the accountability request…if you’ll do the same for me…Oh, you’ve done that! I have I told you thank you?

    • Shelly Miller

      You are the absolute best accountability partner Dea. We are overdue for a catch up. Just saw your comment at Laura’s.

  14. Beth

    Shelly, keep writing, keep trusting, God has given you a gift that is blessing others and bringing Him glory. You keep being obedient and TRUST Him for the outcome! Walking the senior year with you:)

    • Shelly Miller

      Thank you Beth, your words bless me. Can’t believe our girls are seniors. Where did the time go?

  15. Shelly Hendricks

    My word for this year is Perspective. Looking forward to the journey! <3

    • Shelly Miller

      Oh, that is a good one Shelly. So lovely to meet you, thanks for the follow.

  16. Mary Gemmill

    Shelley, I am a long-time reader of your ispiring blog, but don’t often comment. however, your phrase about God naming you spoke to me today. He has named me “listener”, and this year’s word is to run parallel with this- encourage, He explained to me that I am to listen to Him as I listen to people, and to encourage them withe words I hear,
    May I practise on you?
    I hear him say that you will indeed grow to trust Him so fully this year, as He takes our ministry from faith to faith, from strength to strength and from glory to glory. The plans He has for you are for GOOD and not for harm- He will make all things beautiful in His time.I see that numerous women are going to be blessed because you are a “called out one”, set apart for His use, and He will fill you continuously so that you are always giving out of the overflow.
    I see a glorious wonderful year ahead, strewn with love notes from Abba wherever you tread. He will give you the ground you stand upon, and it shall be called Holy Ground. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there will be freedom, and great JOY in His glorious Presence.
    Wow- He is pouring out His love all over you Shelley-enjoy!
    You are indeed being blessed to be a blessing.
    Love, Mary, New Zealand.

    • DeanneMoore

      So very beautiful, Mary. I believe Abba with you in this blessing over Shelly’s life and ministry, her book, her voice, her words.

      • Mary Gemmill

        Deanne- I am sure Shelley will be blessed that ur spirit witnessed to the words i wrote- as I am blessed- thank you=encourgement is always such a welcome gift. May God Bless you, too 🙂

        • Shelly Hendricks


          “That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.” – 2 Corinthians 4:16

    • Shelly Miller

      Mary, I read this just before crawling into bed last night and then read it a second time out loud to my husband while choking back the tears. I am so thankful that you practiced on me. What a gift. I’m printing out your words and putting them in the beautiful journal Dea gave me. You are both the very best gifts God could give me this first week in the new year. Thank you so much. I’m undone and humbled and filled with gratitude for God’s faithfulness.

      • Mary Gemmill

        Shelley- having you receive the gift was a great encouragement for me= thank YOU.
        I don’t often get as much as I got for you- so I knew God was wanting to pour out His love for you for a reason. We don’t always know why and it doesn’t matter- but sometimes giving such a word can feel like putting your neck on the chopping block- so when someone receives what I have heard it encourages me to keep on listening~!
        Please email me any time you would value prayer for something specific- it is my joy to serve in the Body as a pair of ears [lol]

  17. Natalie

    Shelly, what a great word and what necessary insights. I’ve been thinking about my word and think I won’t choose one. Two reasons. First, I think it will find me, just as it always does. Second, my brother teases me that I give essay answers to short answer questions. One word is not an essay. My last word was a phrase: Old Dog, new tricks. It found me and stayed hard on my heels for over a year and a half. I realized recently that that time is over and I’m waiting with both eagerness and trepidation to see what work is next to be done.

    Cheering for the next exciting leg in your journey.

    • Shelly Miller

      I think that sometimes following the crowd isn’t God’s plan for us. I like that you have the confidence to let the word find you instead of trying to fit in with the masses. So glad to have you walking with me on the journey Natalie.

  18. Carey Christian

    You found me on One Word 365. I’m there with you in “but Ville” looking to move out. Let’s get our bags packed. A friend told me to “buckle up” when I told her my story. That instantly made me nervous. I had to redirect to the reality that today is all I have. I can trust God with this moment. I can trust Him with the next. So I will move my things out of “but Ville” one moment at a time. Blessings on your 2014 journey!

    • Shelly Miller

      Glad to know we are in this one together Carey, let’s keep in touch this year and see where He takes us on the adventure of trust.

  19. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Shelly, for a number of years, I have lived with themes that God has placed on my heart as a means of focusing, purifying, guiding, and yes, trusting. I love how you are not looking for any platform, but raising up HIS! I don’t like the word, which I realize is just a standard publishing term, because it implies to me that we, ourselves, are raised up. You are so different from that, because you are simply stepping up to the challenge, trustingly, of whatever He has called you to do, be it blogging, writing a book, speaking, ministering one-on-one, and praying. I don’t know about you, but I realize that sometimes after something goes awry in my life, to which God had led me in the first place, then I shy away from trust…..not from Him, Himself, but just in stepping out for Him. It’s then that I must realize that in the past, I have likely preconceived what an outcome should be; I haven’t trusted my outcomes to Him. Trusting is stepping out in faith, and following wherever He leads, negligent of worrying about the outcomes. I truly trust when I obey and also entrust results to Him. In the end, I’ve found that He works everything together for my good and the good of others–even things that don’t seem good to me at the time. He has never failed. He *can* be trusted. I’m so proud of you for stepping out where He is leading. He is calling you, walking alongside you, and He is waiting for you at a destination you’re not yet aware of. He has it all in His capable and caring hands, and He will not fail you. He will enable you to do whatever He asks. Yes, you are right to trust Him.
    Much love and Happy New Year, 2014!

    • Shelly Miller

      Thank you so much for your encouragement. He is giving me breadcrumbs along the journey already. It’s amazing.

  20. Teresa Richardson

    My word is STILL. God wants me to be still before Him and focus on His voice

    • Shelly Miller

      That word resonates with me Teresa. I’ve been observing Sabbath with a group I started here on the blog called the Sabbath Society. Much of my experience has been learning how to still and listen for His voice. I would say I’ve grown more in that area than any other the last year. If you are interested in joining us, click on my tab to learn more about it. Would love to have you.

  21. Shelly

    Hi Shelly. I found you through OneWord365, we’re in the Trust Tribe together. I look forward to the Trust Journey of 2014. And removing But, What if and How out of my faith vocabulary.

    • Shelly Miller

      And our names are spelled the same way, how awesome. Thanks for stopping by and introducing yourself, my goal is to visit everyone eventually. Can’t wait to hear the stories as we adventure into trust together. And all those words are good ones to consider silencing, yes?

      • Shelly

        Yes! Our names are spelled the same. And it’s my name not a nick name! 🙂 Looking forward to the adventure, the stories, the journey, the ‘faith stretch’… And yes silencing those other words both in my head and out loud!


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