Amazing Results All Because of “One Word”
“One Word” – it’s hard to believe that I’ve been practicing that for ten years now! You would think after doing something for so long it would become stale, but my One Word adventure was anything but stale this year!
If the concept of “One Word” is new to you, it’s simply choosing a single word to “guide” you through the year. I prefer the “One Word” concept over New Year’s resolutions because most people never follow through with their New Year’s resolutions. Instead, I find that “One Word” and a few specific goals serve me better.
Practicing “One Word” is just that – something I seek to intentionally apply to all areas of my life over the course of a year. And as you may have noticed in the picture above, my “One Word” hangs in my office where I see it every day.
In the final quarter of the year, God has a way of allowing a single word to surface again and again. Wherever I turn that word pops up again. The word that kept showing up last fall was…INVEST.
My One Word has led to some powerful experiences in previous years, but I have to say that the what transpired this year was pretty amazing! Here’s a little peak into how my One Word INVEST impacted my life:
Planting – That’s My Job!
Being a driven person, results matter to me! After all, what’s the point if you don’t get results, right? Yet somehow in my quest for results I got confused. I believed that the results depended on me. Spoiler alert – nothing could be further from the truth!
God pointed out to me in His loving and gentle way that I was taking on a massive burden that didn’t belong to me – trying to carry a heavy load that I had no business carrying. My job was simply to plant seeds, and not just any seeds, but the seeds He had in mind for me to plant.
You may be wondering what planting seeds has to do with the word INVEST? Glad you asked! Everything!
Planting seeds is the epitome of investing! In literal terms, planting seeds is tucking a very tiny something into the soil and trusting that it become something much bigger; something more valuable.
As the planter, I’m responsible for planting the seeds God has for me to plant in this season. Then I must carefully prep the soil, water, weed, and fertilize the seeds. The actual germination and growth of that plant is mysterious and completely in God’s hands, not mine!
With that in mind, I made several changes this last year including…
1. Being more selective about my “seeds”
What I was investing my valuable time in which required me to honestly evaluate everything I was doing. I made some very difficult decisions and eliminated some really good things. One of those tough choices was closing my publishing business after 31 years. I admit this was a painful choice – a choice with with much grieving and much trusting God! However, it has freed up space for the very best pursuits in this season of my life.
For me, that’s spending time with God daily and allowing His presence to revive and saturate my life. Without water, seeds don’t spring to life. And without God’s presence in my life, I wilt.
I also eliminated much of the “busy” work in my life that consumed a good chunk of time but didn’t actually lead to the results I was looking for.
Allowing myself to continue to engage in the activities that make my heart happy. I call those things my “❤ Things” – you may have heard me talk about how I make an effort to do something every day that is energizing and life-giving to me.
When I’m trying to accomplish something big, the temptation is to work harder and to skip activities that seem frivolous, but those are the very activities I need in my life. They are what give me energy and creativity to pursue my goals with zest. Making space for life-giving activities requires me to trust that God is at work doing what I can’t do.
Seeds need consistency to flourish! Regular watering, weeding, and fertilizer makes for much healthier plants! That’s why it’s not enough to randomly engage in these activities. I need to systematically and consistently do my part if I want results!
It takes time for seeds to yield fruit. In the same way, there’s a lag between the everyday actions (seeds) and seeing results (fruit). Here’s the strange part: the seeds or every day actions are vital and my part, but it isn’t always a straight line to the results. In other words, there isn’t always a direct correlation between the seeds and the fruit in real life – it’s often quite convoluted. What is obvious is that God takes my tiny efforts and turns them into something amazing!
Planting is My “Easy Yoke”!
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)
The question is, am I taking matters into my own hands and trying to force things to happen or do I trust God with the results?
In the end, it’s all about what God’s able to do and He’s so good! He’s able to multiply my small efforts just like He multiplied the boy’s simple lunch of loaves and fish.
One of the neat aspects of the word INVEST is just how relevant it was to EVERY area of my life! Over the course of the last year, it was the driving force not just in my work, but also in my…
I was blown away when I put together our family’s annual review photo album recently. My three kids, their spouses, and my six grands all enjoyed so many fun times together I couldn’t even fit them all into the book! Evidence of much investing!
Yes, back to that “❤ Thing” – This past year I assembled countless puzzles, I’ve nearly reached my goal of reading 40 books, and was able to spend time with treasured family and friends! I can’t tell you what a difference that’s made in invigorating my life!
This past year, my husband and I invested in our home, which I know will pay off someday when we sell this house, but it’s made our home a place we love that much more! And when you both work from home, a happy space is priceless! We redid the floors upstairs as well as in my office, completely gutted and renovated our master bathroom, and repainted our bonus room and master bathroom. Big changes!
In January my husband and I felt like God was urging us to make a change so with that prompting wentt in search of a new church home. That led us to a place where Truth is taught and the people are friendly! That quest has been totally worthwhile!
Having navigated significant health challenges, health has been a priority for me and this past year was no different. Exercising six mornings a week along with a hike here and there, eating well, getting enough sleep, and taking time to journal were me investing in my health!
Organizing & Shedding
At first glance this might seem like a strange place to invest, yet when everything is in order life is just better! And it saves time in the long run.
Organizing is easy to put off! If you’ve been putting off some organizing, I encourage you to install new floors – with everything out of the room you are forced to organize on some level as you put things back! Rather than just pop everything back in place like it was, I choose to take my time and be intentional about the process and shed what I no longer need. Wow! What a difference that investment made!
As I leave my One Word INVEST behind, what lingers is how impossible results look on the front end. Would you ever guess that seeds could transform into something fruitful or that money could compounds and grow the way it does? Or that simple consistent actions could yield substantial results? It seems impossible – something not easy to imagine how it will play out. Fear of not getting results and leads me down the path of striving, wearing myself out, and denying myself the opportunity to enjoy all that life has to offer. Yet when I trust God to do the impossible – that’s when everything changes!
It’s your turn – what did your One Word adventure teach you?