For the past few years, I’ve selected a single word to live by throughout the year. As I’ve described before, this is a word that defines my life for the year, and helps undergird everything I do for the next twelve months.
I’ve settled my focus on several different words over the last few years. For example, in 2011, I chose to focus on the word passion. This word underlined all I did throughout the year. It defined the year. Everything I did, I did with enthusiasm, and passion was pretty visible in most areas of my life.
In 2012, I chose the word commit. One of my biggest struggles in life has been to stick to many of the things I decide to do. Focusing on this word helped me to address that deficiency.
Last year, in 2013, I chose the word intentional. We have a large family, and as a result, we have a lot going on. I realized that I needed to be intentional, especially in my relationships with family and friends, and in my ministry.
Each year, I choose to identify and implement a single word as a part of my life plan. I add this word to the beginning of my plan, and try to use it as a piece of the foundation for every portion of my plan. Some areas are more successful than others.
The past half a year has been a pretty crazy year for my family, and for me, personally. We’ve seen several major changes in our lives, from the birth of our sixth child, to a move to the Midwest from Florida, to a change in ministry role, from youth minister to a lead minister role. I’ve also started a master’s degree program, which requires some time.
Add all of that to the higher priority things, such as family time, personal growth, fun and leisure, and it starts to get pretty hectic.
It’s been obvious to me that I need to slow down, take a deep breath, focus, and wait.
That word has all kinds of negativity associated with it.
We wait in line at the bank. We wait at stop lights. We wait for a seat at the restaurant after church on Sunday. We wait in line at the grocery store. We wait for our kids to get out of school. We wait for Christmas morning to come.
And we wait…
And we wait…
And we think that waiting is bad.
But it’s not.
Waiting can be good.
In 2014, I am planning on waiting. I’m planning on waiting in at least three areas.
Ecclesiastes 7:8 tells us:
The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.
And Isaiah 40:30-31 states:
Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.
For me, 2014 will be a year where I wait upon the Lord. I want to see his hand moving in everything I do. But when I jump ahead and try to do things on my own, in my own way, and in my own time, I’m not waiting.
I tend to do things quick. I’m an impulse buyer. I’m not an impulse doer. I plan everything out with extraordinarily care. But if I see something I like, especially if it’s one of my current interests, I want to grab it right away. I’ve never learned to wait.
I tend to react quick to things quickly as well. Instead of waiting to see how something will turn out, I try to work the situation and move things along to my desired outcome. It’s hard for me to wait.
I tried to give my wife an early Christmas present, because I didn’t want to wait. And because I didn’t want to wrap it. But that’s a different story. She decided to wait until Christmas morning, making me wait as well.
A third area I need to practice waiting is in my relationships. Especially those relationships I have at my home, with my wife and kids. I find myself too easily becoming impatient, wanting something to happen before its time.
Too often, instead of taking the time to help my kids learn a skill, I just jump in and do it myself.
Too often, instead of listening to my wife, I imagine that I already know what she has to say.
I need to wait more.
That’s the word I plan on keeping in front of me for the year. It will be integrated into my life plan. It will be printed at the head of my goals lists. It will be hung on the wall above my desk so that I can see it daily.
But in order for me to see any growth in my life in this area, I must…
Have you selected One Word to live by this year? If so, what is it and why did you select it? If not, should you consider doing so? You can share your thoughts in the comment section below.