It’s almost the end of March! A quarter of the way through this new year. Seems like a good time to pause and reflect on how we’re doing on our goals for the year.
What’s that? You dumped your New Year’s resolutions last month? Actually, I’m so terrible at following through on them that I stopped making resolutions. Instead, I’ve started choosing one word for the year. It’s a word carefully chosen through prayer and represents my focus for the year. There aren’t specific objectives or targets with it, but rather a focus on letting that word soak into my soul and go where it leads me.
I started this last year after reading My One Word by Mike Ashcroft and I love having just one word to remember and focus on. I try to keep that one word visible and in my mind daily. Try to keep focus on the word and then see how God will use that word to change me. The really interesting thing is that the word may end up having different meanings over the year.
Last year, my word was EXHALE. There’s an analogy that our faith is like breathing. If we only inhale – only take in God’s word, receive from others, be a participant – then eventually we die because we never exhale. Faith requires inhaling and exhaling. You need to grow your own faith (inhale), but then you also have to share it with others and live it out in your life (exhale). I had been on the receiving end for a while, growing my faith and transforming on the inside. So, EXHALE was about learning to live my faith more visibly and vocally.
What surprised me were the other ways EXHALE took form. EXHALE also became about learning to pause and a take a breath. Learning to not be so driven every hour of the day. Learning to live into the natural rhythms of life and take time to rest. Learning to put boundaries around my work so I can focus on my family. Learning to carve out time to just be fully present with my kids.
So, now as we stand a quarter through 2014, how am I doing on this year’s word? My word this year is LAUNCH. This wasn’t my first choice in words. I initially thought it would be WRITE. I’ve been dabbling at writing for a while, so thought my focus would be writing and taking my writing to the next level. But, God put this word LAUNCH on my heart instead.
To use this year to LAUNCH into where God is calling me.
LAUNCH is certainly bigger and more audacious than WRITE; has a lot more action, risk and boldness to it. Quite frankly, it’s made me tremble a bit, especially since I’m not exactly sure what I’m launching into.
I spent the first month or so of the year letting the word soak in, trying to think about how I would ever make LAUNCH happen. Then I realized it’s not about making it happen; not about some elaborate 20-step plan to reach my goal. I don’t even have to know the end goal. It’s about finding the very next step and taking it. Then, finding another step and taking it. And so on.
I don’t know where LAUNCH will lead me this year, but it is already inspiring me to be bold and start taking steps. Take a step to share my writing with others and start to get feedback. Take a step to start this blog and develop the daily discipline it takes to really write. Take a step into leadership roles in areas outside my job. Three months into the year and I’m excited to see how LAUNCH is beginning to take shape in my life!
Do you set goals for your year? Resolutions you actually stick to? Or, do you also choose one word? Share some ways that you set your focus. How are you doing on those at this first quarter checkpoint?
It’s not too late to set a goal or choose a word for the year. Try it! Choose a word and then see how God will use it in your life this year!