Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Three Words for 2011 (and insight into how my mind works)

Sure, I'd heard a bit of the buzz...but amidst all of the noise and fanfare of the incoming new year I'd not stopped to discern just what was that buzzing noise I was hearing about "3 words". Then a friend e-mailed me and mentioned her own pursuit of the 3 words that would be her focus for 2011 so I finally stopped and listened.

I read Chris Brogen's post on the subject. I read the three words chosen by him and by others (in Chris' comments and here and here). I sent Chris Brogen's link to my staff and challenged them to come up with their own 3 words and to make sure their goals supported their 3 words. But I still couldn't seem to come up with my own three words. My thinking went something like this:

"Focus" should be one of the words because I really need to stay focused, but that seems silly because the words are supposed to be the focus. I can't focus on focus. What would be my goals? Be less ADD? Sit still for at least 5 minutes before succumbing to interruption and distraction?

"Faith" doesn't need to be one of the words because I'm blessed with a deep, abiding faith these days (although Lord knows it is often tested).

Maybe "Boundaries" should be on the list. I tend to work way too many hours and not leave enough time for the things (and people) I love. Really it's a matter of "balance". Yes, "balance" should be one of the words. I can measure my days and assess how well I'm maintaining balance. My to-do lists, my calendar, my e-mail all reflect the balance (or lack thereof) in my life.

But what else? Maybe "focus". I don't stay focused very well. But I've already considered & discarded that one. Hmmm.

"Discern"? I often pray for discernment, so that I can know God's will. "Obey"? Once I feel guided, am I obedient? "Act"? Do I act according to God's desires for me? Do I understand God's purpose and plan for me? Do I follow where he leads me?

All through the day yesterday and today I wrestled with distilling all of this down to three words. Three little words (or big words) that will have meaning for me. Three words that will help me stay focused on my goals. Three words that are better than any meaningless resolution. I tried on other people's words but nothing seemed to fit.

Meanwhile, on the radio, on the internet, at church, amongst friends I keep hearing talk of change. It's that time of year. But I don't really want change per se. I just want to stay focused on the things that matter.

Finally, Micah 6:8 resonated from the pages of the chronological Bible I'm reading. God has shown me what he requires of me: to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with God.

So after spending a little more time thinking about the words that will help me stay focused on what God wants of me, here's my list:

Prudence, Mercy, Humility

Prudence = the characteristic of exercising sound judgment in practical affairs; act justly.
Mercy = a disposition to be kind and forgiving; compassionate treatment of others; a blessing
Humility = the quality of being modest, reverential, never rude or self-abasing; temperance (restraint against inordinate desires or appetites).

So, yes, some change will be required. Ultimately I think these 3 words capture a life of discernment and obedience with the necessary element of humility ... which will honestly require the greatest effort of the three.

May God bless me this year. May God bless us all.

What are your three words?


Anonymous said...

My thinking was following yours pretty closely. I was thinking 'balance' would be my first word, returned to 'focus'. Not. But I'm thinking I need to stick to one word - to, you know, focus better. ;)

What I really need to do is my own mental exercise to decide on a word, complete with Bible reference. (I've already failed in my intent to read the Bible daily from an app on my smartphone.)

This exercise might take me a while. Like a year.

Good for you and thanks for showing how this is done. Barbara

Anonymous said...
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you gotta wonder said...

Barbara (@TherExtras), I hope the exercise helps! This is my first year to try this. We'll see how it goes.

dallasdiva said...

Well damn, I want to know what the troll said...

dallasdiva said...

Have you ever noticed how chicken shit people are that want to comment but don't leave their names? I especially like then they put forth that they are having no problems raising children, but leave us to trust them at their word. hahahahahahaha I'm doing great raising my kids, don't cha know ; )

Lisa said...

Love this challenge... and interestingly enough, I was reading that very same scripture this morning! Hmmm, what a "coincidence"!

you gotta wonder said...

@Lisa, I love how God leads us!