Sharing our One Word can be a source of encouragement.
It can also be a way to stay accountable to others.
That might involve an exercise in "looking among" - friends, family, colleagues, pastors.
Many who have adopted One Word for themselves testify to the difference it makes to share their word with others. Some may decide to only tell spouse or family. Others use this tool in their small group. Many have found that sharing their word with a work colleague leads to a depth conversation about what word they might have chosen. And there are ways to share your word online, through social media or using a One Word website like Get One Word or My One Word.
Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. ...if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path (Galatians 6: 2,1)
Sharing our One Word can be a source of encouragement, or a way to hear about resources. It may be an opportunity for friends to gently remind you of something that is distracting you from your intention. But if you want to keep this journey private, just between you and God, that’s fine. Make time to do some journaling around it, write a poem or a letter, or draw a mind map. Remember that translating an experience into language, makes it graspable; James Pennebaker says writing for six minutes a day about something can change your life!
Its been an interesting year. I first did this exercise about 18 months ago, and my word for the first year was “discover.” It’s a wonderful word that has all sorts of layers of meaning, and even just going through all the mentions of it in the Bible is evocative and inspiring. When I decided my word would be discover, it was partly because that was what I expected to do with my academic study in 2015. I have just completed a 150 page research project for a Master of Business. My topic was Baptist and Presbyterian Ministers’ Experience of Performance Review in New Zealand. I had wondered for years how churches deal with the demands of evaluating pastors who work for the faith community, and yet see themselves as serving Jesus as Boss. So I’ve been studying policies and interviewing pastors about their thoughts and feelings in their performance being reviewed. It’s been fascinating but I’m glad it’s done now!
"Discover" was what happened in the research, and in the theory that I produced from the data analysis. I was delighted with what I uncovered and hope its worthy of sharing with others (posts on the findings in the pipeline). But there was another dimension; I also wanted to discover, what’s next ministry-wise? My pastoral role at a local Baptist Church has come to a natural end, but I’m not anxious about the years to come. Even though I am now officially a retired minister of the Presbyterian Church, my call to ministry is solid. The context is changing but I’ve been here before. Even if I can’t see the big picture yet, I know there is one, and I’m keen to discover God’s plan in what emerges. I am looking among my friends and family to find support and wisdom.
Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near (Hebrews 10: 23—25)
What’s your one word going to be? My prayer is that the Lord reveals himself to each seeker with good plans for a future and a hope.
Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.(Matt 7: 7)
Look in. Look up. Look around. Look among.
Keep on asking and God will give you a word.
This post is Part Four of a four-part series on my own One Word project.
A useful discipleship resource is available.