Tag: One word (page 1 of 6)

The Biggest Mistake We Make With One Word

A 10 inch snowfall is pretty norm for Minneapolis in January and for the most part I love it.

It’s beautiful, but as I pull around towards Starbucks early in the dark, post-snowfall morning, the plows are struggling to do their thing, cars are fish-tailing, and I have to dodge people in the street cuz the sidewalks aren’t cleared. GRRR.

Four cars have taken up five parking spaces, using precious real estate, landing haphazardly without yellow lines visible. GRRR.

One car has it’s lights on, looking ready to relinquish his spot, but he doesn’t move. GRRRR.

I give up and drive by only to have him decide NOW is the time to move, and another car swoops in to take his place. GRRR.

I find a remote parking place (read 50 yards away) and slippy slide towards the coffee shop, but realize halfway there, I’ve forgotten my purse. GRRRR.

MY PROBLEMS ARE SO REAL!

I am cranky and impatient and totally ashamed of myself.

Many of us have chosen One Word, this year or in the past. If you’re new to it look here.

My One Word this year is Fruit, as in “The fruit of the Spirit is…PATIENCE!” And it’s been a whole month for Pete’s sake! Why am I not transformed into a person with the Jesus-y glow of patience yet?

One Word is a catchy idea, and as with New Year’s resolutions we often start off with a BANG! This word will CHANGE MY LIFE! But unlike the Darling children in Peter Pan, we need to do more than “think lovely thoughts” in order to get off the ground.

The biggest mistake we make with One Word is to just choose it. 

Last year, I wrote about buying a special (oh so pretty) journal for my One Word reflections. That was a good step (highly recommend!), and so was the reminder on my calendar once a month to review my One Word, but mostly I ignored those prompts.

I’m thinking we may all need a little accountability.  I’m going to commit to posting once a One Word Challenge each month along with an easy prompt that we can all reflect on and respond to. I hope you’ll join me because we’re better together!

So this month, here are 2 simple action steps you can take to move beyond just choosing One Word. 

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One (Boring) Word

Have you guys chosen One Word this year?  I know it’s halfway through January and I’m late to the party, but give me a break…It’s been, well…complicated.

First, I asked my family members what word they would choose for me. Big mistake. I asked so I needed to listen, but not only did I get a bit of variety, but they weren’t words like “joy” or “adventure” – you know, the kind I wanted to hear. Ahem.  My daughters gave me “perseverance”, and “patience”. REALLY?? That’s the last time I play THIS game!

Next, I prayed and reflected, but the word the Lord seemed to impress on me was also not one I was crazy about.

BO-RING! Right?

It made sense because I’ve been working hard on some different things and I need to not lose sight of the eternal purpose of each, but I thought (again), “REALLY? Blah.” So I tried to think of more exciting alternatives that wouldn’t violate the intent, but I came up empty.

And then the Lord did that thing where He kind of freaks me out. I could almost see Him rolling His eyes, saying “This daughter of mine is a little slow. I’d better connect the dots for her.”

Here are a few of the verses He put in front of me to stumble over…

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruitfruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. John 15:16

 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;  and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;  and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 2 Peter 1:5-7

Maybe part of the fruit He wants to produce in me is patience and perseverance?

But there’s more.

My husband, John,  (before I ever landed on “fruit”) said, “I’m not sure which one word it would be, but I want you to be able to celebrate the fruit God is already producing through you and enjoy it.”

Soooo maybe God uses a village? If you’ve chosen One Word for the year, what is it and what led you to choose it? If you’re commenting for the first time, don’t freak when it doesn’t show up immediately (it will, soon)

If you don’t have One Word yet, consider praying and asking your family.

P.S. This isn’t about working harder…not about doing more. It’s about paying attention and cooperating with the work God desires to do in your life to make you more like Him.

 

 

 

Soul Food to say Good-bye to 2017

Ok, can we all just agree that we’re kind of happy to see 2017 go?

We’re hoping 2018 will be a kinder, gentler, more high-minded year. We’d like to expect better of ourselves and others. We’d like to read more stories of honesty, integrity, and service. Grace and truth in equal measure.

My prayer is that Love will be the loudest voice we’ll hear.

We don’t want to live in denial of the challenges, but just for today, I thought maybe a little inspiration, a few laughs and joy were in order.

Want a great, feel-good movie? We went to see The Greatest Showman and loved it!! Downloading the soundtrack.

And for a laugh…Some of the best text conversations of the year:

Smile.

An oldie, but such a goodie!! A-MAZING!

Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press ontoward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14

Here’s to 2018! 

Words Matter

I sit at a table with my mocha looking out on an icy blue sky and pristine fresh snow on Lake Calhoun. It’s a perfect in-between day with nothing scheduled except prayer, reflection, and creation. Those of you with littles around don’t hate me. Your day will come.

As many people like to remind us, WORDS MATTER. Aspirational words, quotes, affirmation, words of self-awareness…They have power to form, inspire, discourage, challenge…

In our family we write a lot of words, read a lot of words, and speak a lot of words. And this can be dangerous if left unexamined!

At the end of each year, my husband John and I have the tradition of taking time to read back over our journals (our words) from the year, noting what lessons God has been trying to teach us. We highlight quotes and key learnings.

This year, additionally, I asked our family what One Word they think characterized or summed up something important for them in 2017. 

“Perspective and priorities” from our son-in-law, and “modis vivendi” (literally “an arrangement or agreement allowing conflicting parties to coexist peacefully” – a way through) from our D.C. daughter were among those shared.

It’s hard for me to accept and celebrate “wins”, so it was reluctantly that I admitted I think “Brave” would be my word for 2017. As I look back I took some steps that felt scary to me. I created more. I put myself out there more. I stood firm more. I’m trying to celebrate that.

I also usually choose One Word for the coming year, but I’m doing things a little differently. I chose One Word for each of my family members that I’m committing to pray for them. 

Then, I asked each of them if they would share a word they think I should embrace this coming year. It might be a quality they think I need to grow in, or a stretch area or goal focus…It’s been good to hear their perceptions of what I need!

Lastly, I was inspired by Emily Quinton and want to write a letter to myself to be opened next New Year’s Eve about what I’m hoping to do and where I’m hoping to grow in this coming year. Words matter. And so I pray that I will speak and write and think words that are more like Jesus.

That’s what I’m up to this New Year’s Eve Eve day! What about you?

Four Words About One Word and Spiritual Growth

 I thank my God every time I remember you.  In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first dayuntil now,  being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:3-6

Are you ever a little spiritually ADD?

Feel like it’s one step forward and two steps back in terms of spiritual growth?

Have you forgotten your One Word ? The one you prayed about and was sure God was going to use to make 2017 the year of AMAZING JESUS AWESOMENESS?

Well sister, here are my three words for you. YOU. ARE. NOT. ALONE.

I checked in with some from our blog community about how their “One Word” focus is going this year and thought I’d share their thoughts with you.

Meghann: My word for the year was, “NARRATIVE.”  I really regret it now because this looks like it’s going to be a long road to travel, to trust, and really listen to a different narrative about myself.
 
I know the truth is that I’m not “weak and pathetic” because I’m really broken down, and I’m not “making it worse” by not just pushing past it.  But, ugh.  Would be nice if I could just wake up one morning and say, “What was that?  Moving on…”

 

A reader who lives in the mountains in the middle of Jamaica sent me a note after my last post on my “one word” .

“My 2017 word is LIGHT and I am not doing too badly with it, trying to be intentional at least once weekly.
I chose to use a separate journal and am glad I did. Using the word in my centered prayer practice which I’m just learning, is helpful too. He is truly the Light and brings light to my understanding as I seek Him.”

Heather: My word is BRAVE – learning what brave looks like when I need to say “no” even to good things or when it means disappointing someone…Learning that brave looks and feels different than I sometimes think it will/does, and learning how to be brave in situations that are beyond ME.

Carrie: My word(S) (because you know I can never choose just one) is “YOU WILL”. I need to be steadfast in that God will provide, God will fight for me, God will lavish love on me and those around me, God will move among our students and our church, God will meet me wherever I’m at.

To me, it is more than “God can“. I need to believe and live out of the truth that he will because he is FOR me and good to me. I’ve struggled with believing that over the years. I’ve thought He was good in nature and good to other people and good for me but not always good to me. The verses that I was drawn to on this were Mark 11:22-25 and Ephesians 3:20-21.

Theresa: I couldn’t decide on a word…I’m in such a period of survival. But I do feel now like I’m almost to the top of this mountain and looking forward to what God has in store!

 Molly: I got a pretty notebook and I chose a word but I don’t remember what it was! 

Jesus is about infinity do-overs!

So you see?? You are not alone! It’s ok if you didn’t choose a word and it’s ok if you want to start now! It’s ok if you’ve stumbled a bit this week.
 
 What about the rest of you? Share your experience in the comments.

One Ridiculous Secret & 2 Questions to Revitalize Your One Word

What was your One Word for 2017?

Do you even remember it?

Don’t have one? No worries.

I thought it was a brilliant idea the first year I chose One Word instead of making a New Year’s resolution. God used the word Fearless powerfully to form me that year, but since then?  Not so much.

I tend to choose a word and then forget it. To figure God will magically do something without my attention.

Hashtag fail.

The difference is that first year I truly showed up. I invested.

This year my word is STRONG.

I put a prompt on my calendar once a month to review my word, but honestly, other than listing some verses, I’ve ignored it…

Until the other day when I stumbled across a video post from another writer who had struggled similarly. She suggested what I’ve also done (VERY inconsistently) – going through Scripture, using Bible Gateway to check out passages with her word, BUT….(here’s the ridiculous secret part):

SHE BOUGHT A SPECIAL PRETTY JOURNAL just for her One Word! 

So I did too.

Sound ridiculous that that should make a difference? Well sometimes we’re ridiculous people!

So the other day I showed up with my pretty new journal (separate from my ordinary one). I started with the first verse using the word STRONG I found with Bible Gateway and I asked 2  questions:

  1. What does this verse tell me about God?
  2. What does this verse tell me about myself?

And then I journaled a prayer about applying it to my life.

A couple of days later I was sitting with a friend who is in the depths of despair. As I listened to her, my mind went to my one word. I silently prayed for God’s strength in her weakness, in my weakness.

Strong. Not me alone, but God in me. Not you alone, but God in you.

What about you? If you’ve chosen a One Word how have you engaged with God around it? What has He been teaching you?

Soul Food for a Holiday Hangover

One of the things I hate about post-Christmas is the disappearance of shiny things. I texted my daughters that I wish twinkle lights were appropriate decor year round. Maggie replied that if I lived in a dorm room they would be.

Since I don’t, I like to try to think of what will cozy up our home after Christmas and not leave it looking so bare.  Candles, soup, snowmen, mittens, fires in the fireplace… I’ve collected plaid scarves on sale to use as a runner down the middle of my table, and cross-wise instead of place mats.img_2203

Tonight I’m trying a recipe for Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup. If I don’t kill anyone I’ll share it next week, but for now…

I didn’t ever try brussels sprouts til a couple years ago, but I adapted a recipe at Thanksgiving and could probably live on it alone all winter. Here you go, and you’re welcome!

Bacon Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

  • 6 Slices Bacon
  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 1 tbsp Rosemary, fresh
  • 2 shallots chopped
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. On a large baking sheet, season brussels sprouts, bacon, and garlic with salt and pepper. Drizzle with oil and toss until combined.
  2. Bake until brussels are tender and charred, 30 minutes.
  3. Drizzle balsamic glaze over roasted brussels sprouts and serve.

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We saw several movies over the holidays, including Lion, based on the true story of a boy in India who gets separated from his family as a 4-year-old. It is intense and slow towards the end, but also very moving and beautiful. Michael Gerson wrote a fantastic article here on the story and its parallels to spiritual homecoming.

I’m trying hard not to buy as many books this year, so one of the eleventh-billion books I got on reserve is Wonder.

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Loved this book that is really probably for pre-teens, but is amazing – about a 10 year old boy with a facial deformity. One of my favorite quotes from this book is:

“Everyone deserves a standing ovation once in their life.”

Another book I have on hold at the Library (that I’m still waiting for) is Chip and Joanna Gaines, The Magnolia Story.

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I loved this blog post that Chip wrote about living a restoration story!

If I misjudge people and am wrong, I want to be wrong having assumed the best about them. Chip Gaines

I wrote Tuesday (?) about my One Word for 2017. If this is something you’d like to explore further you might take a look at the YouVersion 4 day Bible reading plan around discovering your word for the year.

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One Word 2017

I’m pretty type A. I like goals. I like lists. I especially like crossing things off my lists.

But for the past few New Years, instead of focusing on goals or resolutions, I’ve prayerfully chosen One Word that is both aspirational in a way, and also helps me to focus on the work of God in my life.

“Our lives move in the direction of our strongest thoughts.” Craig Groeschel

As I choose One Word each year I look back over where God has brought me, what I think He’s been birthing in me, and what lies ahead (as much as I know).

What of God’s character have I counted on?

What does God want to teach me?

What do I need more of?

What should I remember?

What do I want to learn more about?

As I look back over the trajectory of 2016 there was movement from discouraged and uncertain to stronger in Jesus. I feel grounded, equipped, empowered as I head into 2017 and I want to continue to learn more about the strength that comes only from God and isn’t blown about or vulnerable to the recognition or disapproval of others.

As I wrote yesterday, I preached on Joshua Sunday and was reminded of Joshua 1:9

“Haven’t I commanded you be strong and courageous? Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you may go.”

So I look forward to 2017 embracing my One Word – Strong.

What about you? Have you chosen a word for 2017?

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Choose Your Own Adventure??

Remember those Choose Your Own Adventure books maybe you read as a kid ?

In each story, you, the reader, get to make choices that determine the main character’s actions in response to the plot and its outcome.

We like Choose Your Own Adventures because we have control, right?

But real-life God capers aren’t necessarily like that.

ADVENTUROUSLY EXPECTANT is my One Word for this year.

This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” Romans 8:15

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Recently I received an invitation to participate in a trip and project with World Vision. It was totally unexpected. I was grateful for the invitation, but I wasn’t sure I was the right person for the project, and it is at a very inconvenient time when I’ll have to miss out on some meaningful events at home.

This isn’t just about me. Our two daughters recently had new job opportunities to consider. A young friend of mine is trying to discern where to go to college, and another started her own business.

When an invitation comes or a new opportunity presents itself (think new job, new project, new challenge), consider these steps:

  1. Ask friends to pray and give feedback.
  2. Ask questions:
    • What are the expectations of me before, during and after? (Every time we say “yes” to something, it means saying “no” to other things)
    • Are my gifts in line with this opportunity? Will I potentially add value by saying yes?
    • Is this opportunity or move likely to draw me closer to Jesus, or distract me from following Him?

3.  Pay attention to the promptings of the Holy Spirit (not your ego).

This recent invitation made me think of the story in the Bible of Paul and the man from Macedonia. Take a look, and try not to get bogged down in all the weird names.

Acts 16:6-10

6-8 They went to Phrygia, and then on through the region of Galatia. Their plan was to turn west into Asia province, but the Holy Spirit blocked that route. So they went to Mysia and tried to go north to Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus wouldn’t let them go there either. Proceeding on through Mysia, they went down to the seaport Troas.

9-10 That night Paul had a dream: A Macedonian stood on the far shore and called across the sea, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” The dream gave Paul his map. We went to work at once getting things ready to cross over to Macedonia. 

It’s not wrong to make plans as long as we’re paying attention to the ways the Holy Spirit may want to tweak, refine, or change them.

Like I wrote at the beginning of the year, I’m trying to learn more about my “One Word”, so I read this and I reflect…What can I learn about God and myself?

  • God’s adventures are sometimes often inconvenient. I like convenience.
  • God’s adventures require open hands. I like control.
  • God’s adventures need us to pay attention. I am spiritually ADHD.

Sometimes the adventure lies in saying “no”, sometimes in saying “yes”. After prayer and counsel, I said “yes” to this opportunity. What about you? Where are you in the process of being adventurously expectant?

Mamas in Pajamas Who Wannabe Wave-Walkers

“Adventurously expectant”  is my “one” word for 2016. As I sit here in my pajamas I don’t look or feel it.

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I wrote earlier that this year I am going putting some practices into my life to help me pay better attention to what God might want to teach me through this “one word”.

One practice is looking at places in Scripture where these words are fleshed out. Peter is certainly one I think of as “adventurously expectant”. i can’t picture him sitting around in his pajamas, so I decided to look at one of his “moments”.

When I look at a passage, I always try to look for (at least) 2 things: Continue reading

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