Measuring Sticks

When my wife and I purchased our dream house, we brought with us something special from our old home: the trim from the doorframe of our kitchen. At first glance, it might appear strange to lug a random piece of wood into your new place and have it specially installed. Yet, the marks on the trim spoke of friendships.

Over the years we scribbled in pencil the height of our children. After celebrating with cake and presents, we would line the birthday girl up against the doorframe and mark their height with a pencil. Thanks to this simple tick mark we were able to see our little ones growth. Our girls loved the tradition so much they wanted to be marked at random times throughout the year. There are actually a few jagged lines where our youngest daughter measured her baby dolls.

Eventually, we began etching the heights of other family and friends in the kitchen doorframe whenever they would come to visit. It quickly became a game of seeing who the tallest person was that ever entered the Ashcraft house. Overall, there are about forty names on that trim which now is placed inside our new home. The etched lines represent growth and history.

In almost every arena of life there are ways and means which allow us to track the progress of our growth: family height chart, school report cards, business trends, etc. They enable you to see where youve been. Yet, markers or measurements are vague at best when it comes to our own spiritual growth.  Christians set themselves up to be disappointed because they make no room for what a walk of faith actually looks like. Most of us fail to take the time to establish means of measurement and follow up with how we are doing.

Your One Word serves as a way to see contrasts in your character. We all want to move from Point A to Point Z in no time flat. What we fail to realize is there are numerous steps along the way which demand our attention. Setting short-term goals creates opportunities to celebrate the small successes which lay the groundwork for deeper change. A step, no matter how small, is movement and movement is growth. The truth is what gets measured gets done. When you write down these short-term goals and journal your progress, you begin to witness how far youve come from where you started.

The idea is that you keep your life heading into the promise of the future.  The place where there is real hope for change instead of being motivated by regret and the fear of making the same mistakes. All of this merely places us in a posture for Christ to form our character. Your One Word provides a lens through which to see your progress.

  • How is God moving in your life through your One Word? How will you define progress in the formation of your character going into the future?
  • Over the course of the upcoming week, pay attention to how you react in situations where living out your One Word is tested. In those areas where you fall short and fail to live out your One Word, begin to identify different ways you can respond to these circumstances. What would growth look like in these areas where you are tested?
  • When it comes to the areas that you have successfully reflected your One Word when you were tested, take time to celebrate your progress. How was your life different as a result of your One Word? What emotions or feelings did you experience?

Are you looking for a way to keep your word in front of you all year long? Register for a My One Word account! One of the key features of a MOW account is an online Word Journal that allows you to capture your thoughts to reflective questions like you see above. You can go back at any time to read your completed journals to see how God has been moving in your life through your word in 2010.  If you already have an account, the questions from this blog have been posted to your Word Journal — log in to your account to start your Word Journal today!

  • Michelle

    This is something that I don’t know how to measure, but then when I think about more deeply. It isn’t so much that I don’t know to measure it, as I don’t want to. That way I don’t fail, I just don’t succeed.

    It doesn’t make sense, but my word is faith. One reason I decided that is because I realized that my positive outlook is really kind of negative. I need to develop my faith in myself, the kingdom of God and my relationship with God. I used to think that I needed to develop faith in the world and it all would be all right.

    That is the real problem. The world will always let me down. I need to stay focused on this, and even though change hurst and it isn’t fun. I need to change my focus and focus through faith.

    In my study Bible, the application reminds me of the joy and sense of achievement when I had a problems but continued until it was solved. I know that Go want me to perserver in my faith and keep my eyes on the heavens.