Mike Ashcraft is senior pastor at Port City Community Church in North Carolina and co-author of “My One Word: Change Your Life with Just One Word”. You can follow him on twitter @mikeashcraft or watch his sermons on portcitychurch.org
Do Something About One Thing
In just a few weeks, once the holiday bustle is safely in the past, we will turn our attention to the hope of the new year. Our minds will drift towards the many ways we long to be different in the year ahead.
We’re not alone – 90 million Americans make New Year’s Resolutions. Only a small fraction of us actually keep them. We realize that. But for now, the hope of a new year and everyone’s talk of change inspires us to make our list of resolutions again.
Resolutions: pressure packed, sworn statements of our intentions to be better than we are
We are going to get organized, stop cussing, eat better, be on time, lose 15 lbs, do P90X, read more, watch less TV, enjoy the outdoors, yell less at our kids, get on a budget and spend more time in prayer.
But you know what happens? We don’t. Or we don’t for very long.
Then we assume we’re not cut out to be the kind of person we hoped we’d become. Who we are is just, who we are. And so the talk of change, as inspiring as it seems each January, fades into the reality of February.
Here is what you need to know:
You can change – change is possible. God promises that. (see Philippians 4)
But it won’t happen because you join the gym, clean your closet, organize your checkbook, or make a to-do list.
We can force changes for a while at the behavioral level. But what is needed is heart-level change.
We don’t need new goals – we need new character.
Seven years ago I abandoned my list of sweeping promises to change and instead prayerfully picked one word to be my focus for the entire year. Just one word that represented what I most hoped God would do in me in the twelve months to come. I meditated on it, wrote about in my journal, and prayed about it.
It became a lens through which I would see my heart and my life. I remained committed to this word for the year, regardless of how much progress I made with it in any given week.
Here’s what I discovered: change is possible; but focus is required. And one simple word can hold your attention in a given position long enough for God to form your heart in that matter.
This year my one word has been SHAPE. It has challenged me to become a bolder leader. Last year it was INVEST. It helped me identify what I had to offer- and I was challenged to actually offer those things I’d identified. Another year it was LIGHT and another year, FINISH. Each one brought something new—often surprising—into my character. I have seen change happen in me and each word continues to impact me today.
So perhaps you ought to adjust the way you approach change. Instead of making a bunch of promises about the behaviors you’ll stop or start in January, arrange your life to pay more attention to who you are becoming at heart.
Let me encourage you to choose your own one word for 2014. Post it at www.myoneword.org. And if you want more guidance in this one-word practice, pick up a copy of “My One Word: Change Your Life with Just One Word“.
Let this be the year you do something about one thing instead of nothing about everything. Let this be the year you get focused in your quest for change.
All week-long, we will be taking entries to receive a free copy of Mike’s book.
Later this week, I will share a testimonial on how the concept of My One Word has shaped my life.
In order to be entered:
- Share this post via Twitter or Facebook
- Tag @mikeashcraft or @matthamsr (Matt Ham for FB) so we’ll know
- Share your thoughts on picking a word, we’d love to hear from you
We will pick 5 winners Friday to receive a free signed copy!
Thanks again for stopping by!