On the first Friday night of each new year, Dwight Nelson, our senior pastor at Pioneer Memorial Church, invites the pastoral staff to his house for a time of prayer and reflection. At this past gathering, he shared how he had recently subscribed to a newsletter from Jon Gordon and was inspired by a one word challenge he had made. He then proceeded to read us the blog post.
Here’s a quote from the post:
Each year around this time I pick a word that will inspire me to be my best. I started this practice five years ago after my friends Dan Britton and Jimmy Page told me that for almost two decades they and their wives and children came up with a word each year that gave meaning and focus to their lives. Then they gathered on New Year’s Eve and made paintings of their words that hung in their houses to remind them to live their word for the year.
I was inspired and did it with my family. It was catalytic and powerful. My wife’s first word was INTENTIONAL. My daughter’s word was MOTIVATION. A great word for her. She needed it back then. My son chose FOCUS to the delight of his teachers. I chose PURPOSE because I knew my purpose had to be greater than my challenges. It wasn’t at the time and I was struggling. But once I remembered my purpose everything changed.
Do you catch the process? It’s one word that will serve as a kind of motivation and catalyst for your new year.
Dwight read the post and then challenged us to find a Scripture that could connect with it. We then went around the circle and each shared why this one word was significant to us. Jon Gordon recommends really thinking through this process. Sometimes the word comes quickly and sometimes it takes some time.
Here are some questions from his site to prompt you:
To help you get started ask a few questions. What do you want to focus on this year? Or what’s in the way? What do you need more or less of? What needs to change?
My word came immediately, even before Dwight finished reading the blog post: Finish.
There are two major projects hanging over my head for this year. The first is to finish my Doctor of Ministry degree. All my class work is done. My proposal was sent in and Fuller provisionally accepted it. They wanted some tweaks. So that’s where I am right now. Tweaking the proposal. The problem is that I’ve had the proposal for about five months. Things keep coming up and I find it really hard to finish and submit.
My goal is to have my D.Min awarded before the end of the year. I won’t be able to do commencement this year, as that’s usually done in June and I wouldn’t be done with my work, but I should be able to wrap up the program and be totally done by the end of the year. Commencement is not the most important thing to me—finishing is.
The second goal is a large evangelistic project we’re planning for the fall of 2016. I’ll write about it at a future time.
That’s the word. Finish. In the imperative. What’s next?
I now want to take that word, get some graphic design treatment on it, get it framed, and then put it up on my living room. I think I’ll also put it up on my bathroom mirror and hang it up in my office. I want to be continually reminded and challenged by it.
So what about you? As this new year is off and going, have you considered picking one word for the year? If you have, I challenge you to write it in the comment section. Make it public to the other readers, and we can hold each other accountable.
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