Starting Anew With Just One Word
by Karin Sasser
Does your life ever seem loud? Does it ever feel like you have stimuli coming at you from every direction? Do you feel like you are hearing hundreds of voices from hundreds of directions? Between your boss, your spouse, your kids, the news, tv, radio, and social media, we are inundated daily with opinions, voices, and just plain noise. Did you know that the average person sees between 4,000 and 10,000 ads a day? There are a lot of people, organizations, and companies vying for your attention. It can be overwhelming at times, and often it seems that the most important voice that we need to listen to gets pushed out – the voice of God.
We are just wrapping up the holiday season and celebrating the birth of Christ. Hopefully, we had a little vacation time and possibly even some time to rest. But, as the new year rolls around, we find ourselves jumping right back into the rat race we call our life. The peace we hopefully experienced during a Christmas service is replaced with us running in a million different directions with a million different things trying to capture our attention. The very God we celebrated days ago too often is put in the backseat of our lives as we return to our daily responsibilities.
Do we perhaps need something that will help us be a bit more intentional in listening to God’s voice amidst our daily routines? Years ago, the pastor of Port City Community Church, Mike Ashcraft, came up with a tool to help him do just that. He found it so helpful that he began teaching it to his church and eventually even wrote a book to help others utilize it. It is called My One Word. Mike got tired of making New Year’s resolutions that only lasted temporarily. He also had an important insight. What if he stopped focusing on changing behavior? What if he stopped asking, “What do I need to do?” or “What do I need to correct?” and started asking, “What kind of person do I want to become?” Another way of asking that is, “What do I hope God will do in my life?” Mike is a huge fan of journaling, so he began making a list answering these very questions. As he prayed over the list he made, God began to help him have a vision of who God wanted him to be. God helped him narrow the list down to one word. Mike then chose that word and used it as his lens to see life through for a year. When he sat down to have a quiet time, he would write the word at the top of the page and use it to help him as he prayed and as the lens through which to read a scripture passage. Instead of trying to do, or change, or learn multiple things throughout the days and year, he focused on his one word allowing God to teach, mold, and disciple him through it.
When you pick a word, it helps you set a vision for your life. It helps you have intentionality in your walk with God and how you live out your faith in daily life. When you are going through difficult circumstances, you can bring your one word to mind and ask God how it applies. If you find yourself in an anxious moment, you can bring your one word to mind. If you find yourself losing control of your emotions, you can bring your one word to mind. If you are facing a difficult decision, you can bring your one word to mind. As you bring your one word to mind, you can ask God how it applies to the situation. You will begin to see God shape you, your mindset, and your decisions.
As a parent, another great thing about My One Word is that your teenagers can pick one as well. It is a great tool for the family to use together. You are well aware of the myriad of voices coming at your teens. They need help training themselves to hear God’s voice as much as we do! This is a great tool for students to employ to help them take responsibility for who they are becoming and for their own walk with God. It can also be a soft entry into spiritual conversations with your teens as you share how God is using your one word in your life and asking about theirs. Or, if they are struggling to make a decision or find themselves in a difficult circumstance, you can help them navigate how their one word could help.
Your word could be anything from love to freedom, surrender to thrive, release to joy, courage to discipline, intentional to trust – the list is endless!
If you are interested in learning more about how to choose a word, visit www.myoneword.org.