Sunday, July 21, 2013

My One Word

I love finishing a good book. It's like a wonderfully prepared meal; I'm still savoring the flavors. So while its still fresh let me share with you My One Word by Mike Ashcroft and Rachel Olsen. This is typically a book most read in preparation for a new year. Think of My One Word as a New Year's resolution replacement.

Here's how the authors describe it: "This book will give you a simple but effective plan to effect personal change (spiritual formation) by allowing a single word to become the lens through which you examine your heart and life for an entire year....Between these pages I'll outline how to pick a word for the year and how to focus on it. I'll discuss what you can do to drive it deep into your character and what you can do to apply it in your life. The goal is a transformed heart."

So now for some excerpts because there are some lovely ones to share.

Chapter Two: Beyond Self-Help
"We like grace on our own terms. And we like to earn our grace, thank you very much. We value initiative and efforts in others and assume that's what God values in us too. We qualify ourselves based on how hard we work. We evaluate our character based on how often we go to church, attend Bible studies, volunteer, or check other items off one the standard religious resume. We carry the subtle belief that God helps those who help themselves."

"Our efforts are not the source of change we are after; they can't be. Rather, they get us in a position for God to change us."

Chapter Three: Pick Your Word
"When we look beneath our behavior we discover what's driving it - the beliefs and motives that make up our character."

"It is better to do something about one thing than nothing about everything."

Chapter Four: Self-Deception
"As long as we file the truth neatly into a 'belief category,' we will remain deceived. Only when we begin to let what we believe affect what we do are we able to embrace the process of formation."

"Don't forget that when we stop allowing truth in, either because it's painful or unflattering or inconvenient, we will wind up self-deceived. Positive thinking is commendable but denial is detrimental."

"I firmly believe vision-fueled action is more powerful than regret-based restraint."

Chapter Five: Keep it in Front of You
"That's why, instead of choosing our one word by looking at who we are, we choose our one word with a forward-facing vision of who we want to become in the future."

Chapter Six: Hearing isn't the Hard Part
"God will speak through the word you've committed to. But he doesn't speak just to be heard, he speaks to be followed and obeyed from the heart."

"She didn't find much comfort in that answer. So I told her, 'You know, Alaina, everyone tries to create a life for themselves that is worry-free. We want to earn enough money that we'll never have to worry about expenses, that we can always pay our bills and have money left to buy the things we want. We want job security and good health and problem-fee days. We want to be in control and not have to rely on anyone to get our needs met, including God."

"The life that everyone wants is really a life that doesn't require any faith....So if you and I want to be people that please God, we're going to have to live a life that requires faith."

Chapter Seven: Let it Morph
"It's important to understand that we cannot obligate God in any way by the one word we choose. This is not a 'name it and claim it' exercise. Nonetheless, God will word through your word according to his purposes and for your maturity."

Chapter Eight: Seeing Through Your Word
"The attention of our eyes focuses the affection of our heart....(Advertisers) know that what we see determines the direction we will go."

"Each year, that's my goal for my one word. I want to train my eyes to look at my world - all of it - through the lens of my one word. I need to learn to see differently, if I am going to live differently.

Chapter Nine: Blow Up the Moment
"Satan's perpetual aim is to infiltrate our thoughts with his thoughts, promoting his lies over God's truth. If Satan can control our thoughts, he can control our behaviors. This is a war - Satan has declared it - and your mind is ground zero."

"We can take our thoughts captive - every single one. How? First you must blow up the moment. Your reaction or mindless drift into temptation happens in a moment. You must create the space in that moment to see what is happening and then to make a decision. The key is to isolate and examine the specific thought or belief that's driving your desire in that moment. Take it captive; identify it. Then stack it up against the knowledge of God."

Chapter Ten: Write Your Guts Out
"I am convinced that our struggle to see God at work in our lives is not a result of his lack of work, but rather of our lack of attention to it. Our failure to take the time to articulate it when it happens."

Chapter Eleven: Wait for It
"We become so consumed with getting where we believe God wants us to be that we forget to be with God. Our prayers amount to, God, be with me while I do what needs to be done."

"Lamentations 3:24 declares, 'The Lord is my portion.' This is the reason we wait. Our contentment is not with where we are, but who we are with."

"Waiting is an active practice. So is surrender. Waiting allows me to get my eyes off of where I want to go or where I believe God wants me to go and fix them on him. Waiting prepares me for his lead. Surrender prepares me to follow."

"God is more interested in your relationship with him than your usefulness to him. He has created you for himself, not just to execute his plans. It takes time for this to sink in. Time in his presence is the only way to truly abandon your own plans and learn to trust him. It takes time for our prayers to shift from, 'God, be with me as I go,' to, 'God, I just want to be with you where you are.'"

Chapter Twelve: Last Words
"The normal, natural pace of our lives will not likely lead us toward spiritual formation. This principle is one of the foundations My One Word is built upon. We aren't going to drift toward spiritual formation, toward developing a heart of wisdom. It has to be chosen and done."

"Our chosen words provide lenses through which we can see God's work in our lives over the course of a year. They're lenses that help us see what is happening in our hearts. But they can also help us keep eternity in view."

1 comment:

  1. So glad you enjoyed the My One Word book. Thanks for taking time to review it on your blog.

    Hope you have a year of growth with your one word!

    Warmly - Rachel