Thursday, June 4, 2015

This One Simple Tool will Keep You on Track All Year

Pet peeves.

We all have them. Some are more quirky than others, and personally, I think it is fun to compare them.

For me, it's New Year resolutions.

Why do we feel like there is only one time per year we can make improvements on our lives? I mean, shouldn't that be a year round aim? I think so.

In my last encouragement, I wrote about how the IF:Gathering completely changed my life (as cheesy and cliched as that sounds).

At the end of that conference, they gave us a small, smooth, charcoal grey stone and encouraged us to write one word on it that we wanted to make our word of the year.

I rolled my eyes. I thought it was dumb. I thought it was a gimmick. I thought it could never work.

I am very leery of quick fixes and thinly-veiled claims for one-size-fits-all solutions. So naturally, I thought a rock could not encourage me to be better.

But on the way out to the car, my small group ladies and I talked about what we thought our word of the year should be. Even though I thought the idea was dumb, they seemed to be taking it seriously, so I played along.

I had been thinking about how easily I give up when something hard comes along. I shy away from tasks that will take too much effort or too much commitment. I so often find myself not trying.

So my word of the year is perseverance.

As much as I wanted that rock to be useless, for that rock to disappear into my junk drawer, it kept popping up. 

I found it in the bottom of my purse. Then I realized I had laid it on my desk at work, and every time I went to organize my desk, I would see it and I was reminded that perseverance is something I am striving toward.

Then, one morning I was reading James and I came across this verse:
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. ~ James 1:2-4; 12
Now, halfway through the year, my word of the year continues to shape my life.

It continues to challenge me to not give up, to give my daunting tasks my all, and to do them so that I can receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised.

Your item doesn't have to be a rock, but it should be something physical that you can see. You can choose to write your word of the year on your item, or you can just remember it like I did.

Having a physical item represents the permanence of your commitment to your word of the year. It also serves as a reminder, so place it somewhere you spend a lot of time. Depending on what it is, you can put it in your car, on your desk, in your purse, or by your bed. Pick a place that you will see it often.

Also, make sure the item does not have another meaning to you. For instance, don't use your hairdryer. Although you use it a lot, it already represents a routine for you.

Pick a new item; something pretty that you are attracted to.

I love my little charcoal stone. It is smooth and cold, so I find myself picking it up and rolling it around in my hands because it feels good. But then I am also reminded of my commitment to perseverance.

So, even though this sounds dumb, don't knock it til you try it. Find an item and start praying for God to reveal a word to you. And please, for goodness sake, don't wait until January 1st to start this journey.

What word do you feel God calling you to commit to this year?