Dorothy's Desk

My One Word

My New Year’s Resolutions have NEVER endured for any length of time. I start well and then lose interest or get lax and finally admit to lazy. It’s defeating and demoralizing. New Year’s has not been a time of new beginnings for me.

So this year, actually at the end of December I read a book called My One Word: Change Your Life With Just One Word by Mike Ashcraft & Rachel Olsen. This book examines the practice of selecting one word as a vehicle “to effect personal change and spiritual formation”. Here is a link:

I highly recommend the book. It’s not difficult reading but it is certainly challenging and inspiring. You can order a hard copy or a Kindle/ebook. (I have a kindle app on my iPad and have my copy there.)

So I have been reading and going through the word selection process. Some people may know what their word is immediately. I didn’t. The process includes some looking inward. I’ve been thinking and praying about my One Word. It went something like this:

Lord what should my one word be? What do You want for me?
I need so many things to change. I need depth of spiritual roots. I need to pay attention…but that’s 2 words. I’m only allowed one.

The word that kept coming to my mind was ‘focus’. I responded with:
I’m trying to focus. I’m trying to pay attention. My mind just tends to go for a walk in the middle of whatever I’m doing. I’m listening…please tell me what word You choose for me.

While I kept insisting that I was trying to listen (aka: focus) I let my own assumptions or expectations get in the way. My One Word is FOCUS. I finally listened and realized that FOCUS is the word for me.

I confess. I wanted/expected something original. Something unique. Something that was not mentioned in the book a gazillion times. However, this morning as I asked about the word again, it became clear to me that FOCUS is my word.

The next step is to really look into my word…with the dictionary, the Bible and a thesaurus. Well, the dictionary just blew me away! Did you know that there are at least 8 definitions for Focus? It can be used as a noun or a verb! The main definition is “a central point, as of attraction, attention, or activity”. I could just camp there and have more than enough to meditate on for a year…. But there are definitions for Physics, Optics, Geometry, Geology and Pathology. Then it mentions that Focus can also be a verb. An ACTION. Something we can see and measure and quantify. Oh. My. Word. (and a lovely pun,too!) I have a really big word. It is obviously going to encompass all of me. I praise you my Lord, for showing me and giving me this word to Focus. Open my heart to receive your instruction. Let me be mindful of You.

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