The authors contend that goal setting rarely works; however, simply focusing on one word does. They got my attention and led me in a process to identify God’s one word for me to focus on during the entire year.
It wasn’t hard; in fact, I’ve been following that pattern for the last seven year.
The authors suggest three questions to discover God’s one word.
- What do you need?
- What’s in your way?
- What needs to go?
Five years ago I enjoyed another refreshing book by Ruth Haley Barton: Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation.
She makes the point that St. Benedict was the first one to develop a rule of life to help monks bring order in their life with God. His pattern has helped many for centuries; however, she prefers the language of rhythm. I really resonate with that as well.
Much to my wife’s disappointment, I don’t have the natural rhythm of movement required for dancing. However, I am learning rhythms for soul enriching living. After years of feeling like I was often “pushing a boulder up hill” I’m now growing in what Eugene Peterson calls, “The unforced rhythms of grace.”
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.
(The Message Paraphrase of Matthew 11:28-30)
What do I most need to focus on right now?
- It’s rhythm: learning to enjoy the unforced rhythms of grace.
What’s in my way?
- It’s a propensity for being performance driven and pushing too hard.
What needs to go?
- It’s recovery from my activity addiction and “hurry sickness” through embracing soul giving rhythms that enrich my life: reflectively, relationally and recreationally.
I’m discovering that just as my life will be no richer than my relationships, it’s also true that my life will be no richer than my rhythms! Truth be told, I quickly feel out of whack and even out of sorts without my life giving rhythms.
- My reflective rhythms ground me in God’s daily mercies.
- My relational rhythms connect me with the gift of disciplined community.
- My recreational rhythms invigorate me in body, mind and spirit with God’s creation.
By God’s grace I’m making some refreshing progress on my journey of discovering life giving rhythms. While I’m not expecting to take up dancing in 2021, I am desiring to learn more about the unforced rhythms of God’s grace.
So, my one powerful word for 2021 is “rhythm” – what’s yours?