2012: The Year of Words

Becoming "You"
Lisa Gates, contributor to Forbes' Woman "She Negotiates" series wrote a wonderful article last year on "Becoming More Like Yourself in 2012."  Of course, she comes from a secular humanist slant (I don't know about her personal views, but this is at least what it seems like), and some Christians, particularly in the reformed camps, may be wary of concepts such as self-empowerment and "becoming more like oneself."

However, I caution against throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  If you define yourself according to your selfish desires and what you want to accomplish for YOU this coming year, then tips like the ones in the article may go awry.  However, if you define yourself according to who God has created and re-created you to be in Him, and what you want to accomplish for Him this year, a few tips, yes, even from the secular world, can be healthy and helpful.

Limit the Focus
Ms. Gates suggests focusing on 5 goals in the coming year: 
Create 5 Daily Practices. One for self nourishment; one business or career-enhancing strategy; one thing you want to learn, one behavior you want to replace with another, better one; and one core value you’ll be mindful of daily to underpin your agreements in 2012.
I'm not one for "new year's resolutions," but the idea of "one core value" stuck out to me.  It is easy to live life "living nothing for deadlines" and seeing only "1's and 0's," but living with purpose helps keeps us from getting stuck in the ruts.  And apparently, the "one core value" thing has other proponents, as well!  (See Modern Reject and One Word).

So what's my one word?  "Word."

Milton and Augustine talk about this a lot and more thoroughly than I can explain here, but there is something special about words.  Christ is the Word Become Flesh.  The Word of God is living and active.  The Bible is a love letter.  The Creator God is the Author God who spoke everything into existence.  Everything is a parable.  Everything is a poem.

My 5 Practices
Self-nourishment: meditating, really meditating on and delighting in the Word of God.

Community-enhancing: I want to spend time with people.  I want to see the story of what God is doing in their lives.  I want to witness the power of God in those around me, and become a character in others' stories as well.

Learning: I will be still, and know that He is God.  I will stop and reflect and learn from the silence.  I will do less and listen more.  I already cut out a class from my schedule to allow me to do this.  I will focus less on "productivity" and more on being a better listener and storyteller.

Behavior replacement: Many Christians will automatically balk at this idea.  Yes, behavior modification has its limits.  What is important is the heart and not the action, after all.  At the same time, if things need changing, by all means- change them.  My behavior replacement will be to switch out mindless internet browsing for writing more poetry.

One core value:  Valuing words and stories.  Being intentional about appreciating them, finding them, creating them, and using them well.

TSN and Finish Year
Jon Acuff has an excellent idea for completing goals and finishing well.  Keep it short, keep it simple, and finish it.  (Posts here and here).  Goals are great (particularly for the resolution-averse crowd).  However, as Acuff explains, "Fuzzy goals fail." 

My specific goals this year are:

  1. Blog through the book of Psalms
  2. Write at least a poem per month.
  3. Write at least two thank-yous, thinking-of-yous, and/ or encouragement cards per month.
As a result, I am going to use this blog as a way to keep myself accountable to my goals, and I hope you will continue to support and join me. 
  • First, this blog will no longer be a webcomic.  I know that this will disappoint the large majority of my readers, but the webcomic formula simply hasn't been working for me as a writer for awhile now.  There may still yet be webcomics, but that will not be the primary purpose of this blog.
  • Second, I want to encourage you to read through Psalms with me and post your meditations as I blog mine.
  • Third, I will post my poetry to the blog as it is written, so you can look forward to that content..
  • Third, bookmark this page and be mindful of the stories in your life.  If you would like to share a way that God is speaking or creating story in your life, or if you would like to commend the way God is working in and through someone else, submit the story below in the comments!
Here's to a great 2012 and finding fulfillment in the "you" God wants you to be.