Thursday, January 6

Words That Give Direction


My last post talked about four words that summed up my 2010. Part of it dealt with blessings I experienced during the year. Though the purpose  was never to give an all-inclusive list of blessings, I should have been more careful. As soon as I posted it, I thought of those whom I should have mentioned. I mentioned my wife and daughters, but I should have included all of my family. My mom, my brother and his family, Gina’s family, my cousins and extended family – I can’t think of a finer group of people. When I hear about the drama that so many families endure, I appreciate all the more the blessing they are from God. He has also given me great friends who encourage and sharpen me – from old high school friends to those here in Arkansas to friends scattered around the country and the world.


A couple of years ago, I read a blog post by Chris Brogan. He wrote about a different way of setting direction for the new year. He wrote about thinking in terms of "words" that set the direction for the year rather than specific resolutions about what you are or are not going to do.


His ideas resonated with me. Over the past few years, I have been thinking more in term of a compass than a clock. A compass makes sure you are heading in the right direction (or at least in the direction you want to go). A clock measures where you are right now, without regard to the direction you are heading. The older I get, the more value I see in the compass. In fact, I have a few compasses sitting on desks and tables at home and in my office. In my mind, Brogan’s "words" idea is like a compass - setting the direction for the year.


So here are three words to help shape my 2011:


Purpose: I want to live my life purposefully and not just drift along. This applies to every part of my life. It includes living spiritually and physically disciplined so that every part of my life brings glory to God. It includes being purposeful in my relationships – with my wife, family, staff, students, and looking for ways to be a blessing to those with whom I interact. It includes being purposeful with my time and resources.


People: I want to live in such a way that relationships - and not programs, projects, or tasks – are my priority. I want to make room for more conversation and less administration. I want my life to be less about me and more about those whom God puts around me. I want to be more sensitive to the needs of others and not just my own.


Prayer: I want prayer to be a hallmark of my life. Prayer has always been something that is easier for me to talk about than to practice. I want to be more disciplined in it. I want it to be the atmosphere in which I walk.


I will have some more specific goals to fill these out. After all, I am a goal-setter by nature. But these are the major directions I would like my life to take during the next year, the themes I want to see developed.


What about you? If you were to choose words or themes to set the direction for your 2011, what would they be?

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