Late ’13 my son Andrew asked if I had read the book “One Word That Will Change Your Life.” He said I should and I did and it is very neat. It’s a short and simple read with a powerful concept – most of you would probably benefit from reading it yourself. Over the last four or five years as my speaking calendar has grown increasingly crazy (and yes, I know and understand, because I lived it, that many of you would love to have that issue and I realize I am blessed) I heard a couple of folks talk about some of the guys who I so greatly admire and long to be like that sometimes they were not at their best. Now, I remember that these guys “not at their best” are still ten times better at presenting than I am. But I also was being slapped in the face with the reality that preaching on Sunday a couple of times, and then five or six other times during the week, with other duties and opportunities and travel included I was finding myself living without any margin. Cramming for each upcoming lesson and feeling anxiety about the very thing that was my greatest desire to do and be – preaching – a preacher. I felt like I was constantly scurrying and I needed to have peace about that – WOW! Therefore, in selecting my one word for 2014 I landed on “Prepare.” I got a decal for the back of my phone, I made it my computer screen background, I prayed about it and was faced with it continually. And it worked. It forced me to budget my time better, to think further out in the future. And I will carry this word forward as these words compound.
Back in November I started thinking about One Word for 2015. I prayed about it, solicited input from others (thank you). But from the beginning there was an area of my life that I knew needed attention. Just like with “Prepare” it was an area that I needed to be pushed in the one in mind was too. So, drumroll please, for 2015 my word is “Present” (and, no, I wasn’t trying to alliterate).
A little explanation. I find myself in a very good and bad place. I love staying in contact with people. I answer texts, phone calls, emails, FB messages (yuck) – quickly. In fact immediately. I’ve found people appreciate that. And, when I’m on the receiving end, I do too. But the unanticipated, unexpected and undesired result of that is that more and more I have found myself less and less present where I am. I’m at lunch and text message pops up, I rudely stop the conversation, or listen as I, answer back. I’m writing an article and I get a beep, a chime and it’s an email or a text – but have actually happened while I was typing THIS sentence.
Don’t believe for a moment that I’m complaining: I LOVE my life! I love being connected. I love getting text messages while I preach, interacting with several people at one time, answering an email between paragraphs. I’ve never liked missing anything – even as a 4 and 5 year old child I wanted to be the last person up at night because I didn’t want to miss anything! BUT I loose focus and find I am not living in the Present and I am not fully Present even when I am there, wherever there may be.
So, PRESENT is my word. I’m 24 days in and MAN IS THIS HARD! I’ve started putting my phone on silent and setting it upside down when at lunch with friends or in a meeting or other event. But then I’ll fear I’ve missed something truly urgent or needing attention and I cheat, I peek. But I’m doing better. Until I don’t. If I look one time I’m like a recovering chocaholic who binge eats in the candy store! Yet, I’m still in it. It is my word for 2015.
So, here we go. If I don’t answer you as quickly I hope you’ll forgive. If I miss a call and don’t call back that moment please be patient. If I wait a few hours to click reply understand. I’m trying. I think I’ll impact the moment more this way and enjoy the present more too (If I can avoid anxiety over missing something). And I pray to become more productive when I turn off notification on my laptop from time to time. I want to and need to be more productive.
Going forward I know some of you are going to have some fun testing me in this one – have at it – I’m ready for you – I think! :) Here it is with all it’s arms:
I intend to be MORE PRESENT in the activities I am engaged in at the moment.
I intend to focus on what I PRESENT. It’s what I do.
I intend to give more PRESENTs (that just fit :)).
What’s your word for this year?