My wife Sarah does this thing. She chooses words or phrases that she hopes will define her year. In 2008 she had "Looking Great '08" (pronounced "O-8"), 2009 was "Freedom '09" and 2010 received the unfortunate and somewhat violent moniker "Execute 2010." It took a few years for Sarah to get over the ramifications of "Execute 2010", but she triumphantly returned in 2012 with "Balance 2012."
The idea is that these simple phrases would shape and guide her year. Looking great 2008 meant a dedication to fitness; Freedom '09 meant removing unwarranted guilt and shame, Execute 2010 meant...well...we don't really talk about that year...and 2012 meant bringing a healthy balance back to her life.
A week ago during dinner with some friends on New Year's Eve, we began discussing the endless possibilities 2015 brought:
- Fit and Lean 2015
- Simple and Clean 2015
It got me thinking. Maybe this is something I should try. The wheels started turing. Then on January 1, I rather serendipitously stumbled upon the following devotional on this Bible app:
New Year’s Resolutions don’t work!
50% of resolution-makers fail by the end of January and 9 out of 10 quit by March! So instead of resolutions, get One Word for the year…but be careful! It might just change you.
If you have the “get-it-done” mindset like we do, you’ve done your fair share of goal–setting at the start of each New Year. However, as time goes by, we felt frustration as we fell short on our ambitious plans. We tried to do too much and as a result, we didn't do anything very well.
In 1999, we started the simple discipline of developing a One Word theme for the upcoming year. That’s right—One Word. Not a phrase or a statement, just a single word. By focusing on just One Word we have experienced incredible life-change year after year. When you discover your One Word for the year, it gives you more clarity, passion and purpose for life.
The One Word exercise brings simplicity and focus. It cuts through the distractions and keeps us focused on what really matters. It has stretched us in all areas: spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally, relationally and financially. God has transformed us through this exercise; God delights in life change.
There is a reason why we say, “Get One Word for the year…but be careful.” As soon as you discover your word, the battle will begin. It will initiate a process of teaching, developing, refining, and molding. God will use your word as a light and a mirror – illuminating your path and revealing things that need to change. It facilitates a great journey of highs and lows all designed to make you into the person you are created to be.
It has been our experience that God quickly reveals His plans for the year regarding your One Word. That word (be it a discipline, fruit of the Spirit, character trait, or attribute of God) will brand you for the year! So discover your One Word for the year and share it with others! It might just change your life!
So I began thinking and praying about my word. Rarely, if ever, do I receive an instantaneous response from God. But this was one of the few situations where I felt like I clearly heard (not audibly) the Lord's voice. The word He "spoke" was ...
Although "faithful 2015" doesn't necessarily have the same rhythm as a "Freedom '09" or "Fit and Lean 2015" it did seem to be quite applicable to my upcoming year. I think God is reminding me to be faithful to the things he's called me to. Be faithful to finishing seminary well (five classes left...unless Greek kills me in the process), faithful to starting a new job (more on that later), a faithful husband and dad, faithful to my church, faithful to me friends, etc.. By faithful, I mean investing and offering myself fully to the "places" (either metaphorical or literal) He has put me, and trust Him that it is where I should be.
So faithful it is. Hopefully, it's something I can be.
As mentioned above, I will be leaving Gordon College, where I have worked for the last six years (and was a student there for an additional four) and beginning a new job. Check back in a week or so for a post about that decision.