As an extremely goal oriented person, New Year’s is a great time for me. I love the idea that the New Year is a blank page and I can write whatever I want on my page. So for years, I would take the entire month to come up with my goals. At one point I even had categories for my goals; personal, financial, career, health, home, etc. I know it sounds obsessive, and I suppose it was, but it really worked for me. Probably because I didn’t stress on the goals, I simply dreamt them up and then tucked them away. The way I figured it, I would do my best and whatever happened, I still came out ahead. So I always enjoyed at the end of each year, pulling out my year’s goals and seeing how much I had accomplished.
A couple of years ago, I heard a new idea being shared about New Year’s resolutions that really intrigued me. The idea was that most of us make a New Year’s resolution based on a problematic behavior (or two or three) that we have struggled with for years. So we resolve in January to fix this behavior and by February, we have long forgotten this resolution.
The suggestion was that our resolutions seldom work because they focus on the type of person we want to become rather than who God wants us to be. So, what if our hopes for the year centered on who God wanted us to become, instead?
The concept being offered by My One Word organization is, rather than a litany of doomed resolutions, you simply choose one word that is your vision for the year. When you choose a single word, you have a single focus. You are moving toward the future rather than swearing off the past.
Hmmm. One word. I decided to give it a try.
To begin, you envision yourself at the end of the year. You invite God to assist you in this vision. What kind of person do you want to be, does God want you to be? This process took some time, as I mulled over all the characteristics that I wanted in my life and in my soul. When you have the vision of the person you want to be at the end of the year, you choose your one word.
In my overly obsessive way, I gathered my children and grandchildren together and asked them to choose one word for their year as well. After all, the journey is always much more fun together!
I loved the words that my family chose. My oldest daughter, a single mother, was just ending a tough year. She, like many Americans had lost her job, her oldest son had a bicycle accident that resulted in a serious head injury, (he is fully recovered, praise God!) and she was trying to get back on her feet. She chose abundant as her word.
My grandson Christian, who was just entering high school, chose courageous. What a great word for a young man embarking on this part of his life!
Madelyn, eight years old at the time, chose trustworthy. When I asked her why she chose that word, she said because she really wanted to be “Student of the Month” and you had to be trustworthy. She didn’t know what trustworthy meant, so I was happy to help her look it up in the dictionary and talk about ways she could be trustworthy.
My sweet husband chose cultivate. What a great word.
As for me, after much consideration and so many great words to choose from, I chose the word, light. My personal mission for many years has been “to be a blessing.” So I thought my word would be blessing. But as I meditated and prayed and spent time listening to the Lord, I felt called to go deeper. And soon the word light came to me. Jesus is the Light of the World. I want to carry that light and share it with everyone, everywhere. Fear, shame and the enemy live in the darkness, but they can not survive in the light. I wanted the light of Jesus to always shine through me to everyone. Light became my word.
It was amazing to see how God worked in our lives after we chose our words. At a parish mission, Father Dominic Briese (same last name, no relation) offered a CD called “You are the Light of the World.” A woman I work with began to seek me out to inquire about her Catholic faith, which she had left. She has now reconciled with her Lord and her faith. Praise Jesus! Madelyn became “Student of the Month.” Christian had a terrific freshmen year and is such a courageous young man. Candice found a great job, and her life truly was abundantly blessed as many things turned around for her that year. Our parish has a beautiful rose garden loving cultivated by S.H. (sweet husband). Wow. Thank you Jesus, for your unending support and affirmation. If you would like more information about how to choose your one word or support for the journey, visit http://myoneword.org/ For more information on Fr. Briese, visit http://briese.opwest.org
What will be your one word for 2012?