It’s done. I have finished My One Word for 2022: IMAGINATION.

But rather than just stopping one word and picking another, I have spent the first few weeks of 2023 seeing what IMAGINATION might give birth to, where it could lead. And from there, I’d settle on My One Word for 2023.

IMAGINATION reminded me to dream and to consider. The last two decades of my life were filled, and beautifully so, with raising a family and leading a church. Now, I have a great relationship with my kids and my wife is still my most favorite person on the planet. I feel like our church is healthy and we have a foundation upon which the future can rest. We have great leaders throughout our church, sharing responsibility and providing fresh perspectives.

With that backdrop, IMAGINATION served as a way to shift my mindset from simply leading and running something to considering more and dreaming of what could become of my life.

As I have been reflecting on IMAGINATION to prepare for 2023, I went to my journal and read an entry from January 28th of last year. There’s a reason why my word was IMAGINATION, not IMAGINE. This is what I wrote:

“The reason it is not “imagine” is because I deliberately do not want an action. I want to see God more fully, to understand the essence of the way of His Kingdom– beyond my current view and in ways beyond my current senses. I want to see the church and her role in a new reality.”

I can say that after a year of this as my lens, I have a renewed sense of what I do and of what we do together as a church, to create something beautiful right in the middle of our broken world. Because of IMAGINATION, I have a broadened vision and renewed excitement for what is yet to come.

My typical approach to vision has been to try and identify the tactics and the strategy required to pursue it. But this seems different. I don’t feel I need to rush to find the tactic or strategy. Instead, I need a story. I need to see God’s purposes unfold and to remain with Him. I need Him not only to guide, but to source.

I need to be taken back to the garden.

The creative effort of God through humans in the beginning was that God breathed into the human and His breath gave life. The Spirit of God animated the man, moving him into the unfolding story of creating and contributing what could be.

This is how I want to posture my life this year–not simply drawing strength–but having God’s breath, God’s Spirit, animate my life, moving me into the unfolding story of creating and contributing to His intention for life and peace into the world in which I live.

So, that’s My One Word for 2023: ANIMATE.