January 19, 2011
C.S. Lewis once quipped I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else. My hope when I pick my one word is that it will have a similar impact on my life. I want to see my word and focus on it, but I also hope that God uses it to illuminate many other aspects of my life. There is an exciting pressure about picking my word!
Ive had some words that have helpedand continue to helpme grow in Christ. Relational was my word in 2007. It forced me to put relationships ahead of tasks, agendas, efficiency and effectiveness and all the things that have rescued me and garnered praise from others. Relational helped me become a gentler husband and father and even a better co-worker because I enter more conversations looking to have a closer bond not just a better decision.
In 2008 my word was authentic. We talk about encounter, formation and expression at PC3 and my word came out of a desire to not simply perform Christ likeness but express His love and will in the world because of my authentic encounters with God, and His formational work within me. It was a noble goal but only partly realized. I admit and repent of the fact that I got too busy to use this word as a point of encounter . . . . at least Im being authentic now!
Pure was my word for 2009. I was giving my young son fake attention while answering email on my laptop. He didnt catch me, but I caught myself and it hurt. Pure for me was not just about dealing with sin patterns (though that was part of it) it was about being undivided when the moment called for it; when the relationship called for it. It was a push against multi-tasking. Later that year, my daughter asked me to snuggle with her as she fell asleep. The email beckoned but I snuggled. More than that, I stayed pure. Instead of rehearsing answers to emails I prayed for my daughter, for her friendships, for her purity, for her future husband, for wisdom as her dad, for every aspect of her life that came to mind. Pure helped me have that moment.
In 2010 I forgot my word. I had to look it up in preparing to write this. And guess what, the word was? Enjoy. I picked it while running on the beach and realizing that I was approaching the run as a task to stay in shape instead of a wonderful opportunity to take in Gods creation and enjoy my bodys ability to run. But, the year was a hard one at work and I let it choke out my word. Comedian Jeff Foxworthy has a running joke You might be a redneck . . . For me its more like You might be a Martha or You might be the prodigal sons older brother . . . Im prone to see life as obligations and then get bitter at meeting them while others enjoy the party. If your word is enjoy and you forget it by May, you might be a Martha. Yep.
Left to their own sense of direction, most people will travel in a circle when left in the wilderness. Sometimes I feel like thats me. I seem to wrestle with same issues over and over and forward progress is inconsistent. I also tend to wander away so knowingly with lame rationalizations. So, my word for 2011 is compass.
Mike talks about the normal, natural use of scripture as a marker of Christian maturity. I think that normal, natural idea can carry over to a lot of areas. For me, it speaks of pulling in Gods truth to a given situation quickly and without fanfare. My compass is not about any issues of doubt in my ultimate destination. The compass is about frequent checking in with whats true and not wandering on my own. Off we go!