I think I’m skipping New Year’s Resolutions for something that for me and many others, has seemed to work much better. I’m referring to building my year around one simple, clear theme that reflects where my spiritual, mental and overall life wheels have been turning.
You can read more about the idea behind the idea here.
What’s interesting is that in establishing that one-word theme, you have no idea at the start where it may take you. My one word for this past year was Lean. You can read more about it here. This year I have learned much about leaning in, leaning on the Lord, and getting lean than I bargained for. Some of that was a case of seeing the light; some was a case of feeling the heat.
To be clear, I didn’t always lean well this year. But I learned more, experienced more, accomplished more, and was challenged more by that level of focus on that one word than if I had made a list of New Year’s resolutions.
So. What about now? What’s this year all about?
To get a clear idea, I knew I’d have to go to the Sanctuary – to that place where I seem to hear the Lord more clearly than anywhere else.
Time to head to the shower.
I happened to be in Athens, Georgia for my nephew’s wedding, and my hotel room just happened to have a shower readily available. So there in the steady spray of life and spirit made possible by the Holiday Inn Express, I began to wait on the Lord and search for my Descants of the Soul. What has been the “back beat” – the song behind the song – of my life over the most recent seasons?
If I had turned it into a dialogue between me and the Lord, it would have gone something like this:
Me: Lord, what should my One Word be for next year?
Me: Exactly. Just one word that’s the theme for what you are working into my life and where I need to focus.
Me: That’s right. Just one. Not a long list of resolutions. Just a single word.
Me: Yes, that’s what I’m saying – just…
Me: Huh? Ohhhhh!
(Sometimes it takes a little while for some things to sink in.)
A Building, Recurring Theme
This year’s theme of One began early last year, when the folks at Dr. Pepper played this commercial during the National Championship Game. The song, by the Nashville group Vinyl Hearts, inspired this post and later inspired the theme for a Single’s conference where I was blessed to speak.
Then a couple of months ago I was having a conversation with someone about heaven and had one of those heard-myself-saying-something-that-had-to-be-the-Lord moments. “Do you know what I think heaven’s going to be like?” I said. “A place of complete oneness and unity. That’s why Jesus prayed that we all would be One in John 17. He wanted us to be one as He and the Father are One. That’s heaven.”
Then every once in a while there is something in my temperament that has to be reminded to reel some things in. I tend to be a scattershooter who can be “pretty good” at a lot of things, but get too restless to focus enough for knock-‘em-dead excellence. I hate saying no to anything that looks like an opportunity. So by not ever saying no to anything, I am saying no to everything in terms of results. I seem to be in one of those seasons where the message seems to be, Focus, Focus, Focus.
So, My One Word for 2014: One
Clarity of Focus
What if I began every day the way I am beginning this year? What if, rather than a list of urgent things to be done, I approached each day with one target – one focus? What if I took on every day by asking, “What is the ONE thing that, before this day is complete, I need to get done?”? In other words, instead of focusing on productivity in the urgent, I’m focusing on productivity in the important.
It’s not that the urgent things are ignored or neglected – that just leads to emotional anarchy. It’s just that the main thing for each day becomes the true main thing. And I believe if we get better and better at doing this, our lives will reflect more order, better priorities, more peace, and yes, more saying “no” to the trivial.
Unity of Heart
The more I understand of the heart of God, and the older I get, the less patience I have for the constant bickering that is American life. I’m tired of culture wars, worship wars, political wars, denominational battles and (please!) theological wars.
I’ve about decided that American church members are going to be a bit lost in heaven (assuming they get here) because in heaven there’s nobody to fight or argue with.
Sure, conflict is inevitable in a fallen world. But that doesn’t mean I have to frame my entire life around it. Nor does it mean that I have to approve of or agree with everybody I connect with. What if we spent a year focusing more on how we share life than on how we disagree or disapprove? What would that do to our fellowship? How would that affect our level of wisdom or love? What would that do for the spread of our gospel or message?
Integrity of Life
Integrity means more than telling the truth. It means being true to who we are, both in the ways all of us are alike and even more so in the ways we are all unique. And the wonderful part of being one-in-a-billion is that we don’t have to give up our uniqueness to walk in unity or fellowship.
You are nobody’s clone and you don’t have to be. Your one assignment is to be the one person that one God has designed you to be. Live as the person you are naturally talented, spiritually gifted, and gloriously saved to be. Do that, not as an expression of selfishness, but as an expression of love for God first, then others.
What if we focused every day on being the one? The one person that only we can be? The one role only we can play? The one task or purpose only we can fulfill?
That’s what “One” means today. One focus. One heart. One life. And that’s my One Word for 2014.
I’d love to hear yours. Feel free to click on “reply” below, enter the Resolution-Free Zone, and let me know what your One Word is.
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