It is one I challenge anyone to join me in for 2016...if you are daring enough.
Several years ago I quit making resolutions or new years goals. I accepted, then, a challenge to choose only a word for the year. "One word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live or what you want to achieve by the end of 2015. One word that you can focus on every day, all year long. It will take hard work, and will require intentionality and commitment. But if you let it, your word will shape you and your year. It will guide your decisions and help you grow.”
This year my word is: PRAYER.
While I would say I am a man of God's Word, I want to be more of a man of prayer. Prayer is not an element of my relationship with God, it IS my relationship with God. I have to realize my relationship is dependent upon communication and time together.
If I wrote my autobiography, someone could read it inside and out, over and over again. They could highlight important parts about my story and things that mater a great deal to me. But that person does not know me. That person and I have no relationship. We have never sat and spoken together.
Much like this, I can study God's Word inside and out, over and over again. I can highlight important parts and dedicate years and whole college degrees to studying things very important to God. But I could do all of this and still not know God. I do not have a relationship. I have not sat and spoken with Him.
I am a man of God's Word and a man after God's heart, but I want to be MORE of a man of prayer than I have been before. I want to be more of a man of prayer at the end of 2015 than I am right now. I want to know Him more intimately. I want to be terribly close to His heart, and that will only come as we sit and speak together with more intentionality and frequency.
Last year, I chose a word to focus on instead of setting a list of goals or resolutions I would not have followed through on. Last year, that word was "restoration". This year, that word is "DEEP".
I learned a valuable lesson when I spoke at a small Christian college in the United States (You can thank me later for narrowing it down for you.) This lesson may well apply to most Christian colleges, universities or churches you visit. I learned never to stand before a crowd containing students, faculty, and administrators of a Christian college or university and state that you are about to “go really deep”. If you ever find yourself before a crowd matching this description, and these words are on the tip of your tongue, bite really hard. I do not mean to use an ambiguous cliché, I mean to quite literally bite your tongue. Perhaps biting it will keep the words ‘go really deep’ from exiting your tongue through the small opening that is your mouth and setting you up for a situation very reminiscent of…oooh??…the Titanic! Slow sinking at first followed by a plunge toward the end! I would say that is a pretty accurate depiction of how it felt. As I was introduced, I made my way up on stage, took the mic in hand and said "Once I get started, I am going to take us real deep real quickly. Is that okay with everyone?” This was the puncture, which started the leak in the ship that day. I talked about the masks we wear in Christian culture and how they often cover up our wounds, which can only heal with exposure.Conversations about our wounds and healing appear deep to me, but I was clearly mistaken. I later realized the problem was not fully in our definitions of ‘deep’ but in my lacking clarification. I should have clarified, “deep in what?’
Two hours had not gone by before I received comments in passing. “I thought you were going to go deep!” “You were not very easy to follow.” “You may need to work on your points a bit more…but good job though.” I received a few emails as well with their fair share of, what should I call it? Feedback? “PC, you and I both know your theology is very weak.” “How can you call yourself an expert or theologian?” (This one is particularly comical, because I would never dream of calling myself either.) “You said at the very beginning of your talk that you were going to ‘go deep’ and you never did that once.” “I checked out the college you went to and…blah, blah, blah…something bad about my Alma Matter…blah, blah.” Notice how the disconnected emails were a bit more abrasive.
PLEASE allow me to make a few things clear right away. It is fully my intention this year to expose things I have seen and done. These things may be offensive and cutting. You may expect my thoughts and writing to be irreverent and theologically shallow. I give my personal guarantee the words you read will be ‘deep’, but deep to an honest place in my heart and not into the recesses of exegesis and five detailed points.
It is promising you will read things that will make theologians sick and scholars angry. It is likely that Armenians and Calvinists alike will be gravely frustrated. I am an equal opportunity annoyance. This will be a collage of stories and reflections that have impacted my life and faith, and of these two things I consider myself an expert. I am not a professional scholar or renowned theologian, but I am an educated and trained expert on the topic of my life and faith. It is my hope you will enjoy what you read. I hope I am entertaining, witty and dessert to your brain. But most importantly I hope my exposed life and faith stirs something within you that has been left unattended or forgotten. I hope my reflections are refreshing even if at times refreshment comes cathartically. So are we clear? For the sake of my inbox, I hope so.
But I love to dream I cannot NOT create
The dreams I have for this year are to:
Poemize each sermon I write, make a spoken word EP (even if just for me), take more pictures of nothing particular, draw outside the lines of "3", self-publish a book about...something, shoot more video, share more video, join a poetry/writing group, join a rec volleyball league, start and finish P90X again, wear a fake mustache at least once, learn more ukulele, add to this list...
What are your dreams, resolutions, goals, hopes for 2011?