I’m quite a bit more behind the curve with this year’s One Word than I was last year. My word last year was ‘engage’ and, whether intentionally or unintentionally, much of my life last year either reflected or was largely shaped by the essence of that word.
Going into 2012, I kept coming back to a word I hadn’t chosen, but which seemed to be choosing me.
That word, and my One Word for 2012, is ORDER.
Used as a noun, ORDER can mean:
a state in which everything is in its correct or appropriate place
the overall state or condition of something
As a verb, ORDER can mean:
give an authoritative direction or instruction to do something
arrange something in a methodical or appropriate way
After carrying it around in my backpack and putting it off for months, I’ve finally begun diving into a book I bought last year, Ordering Your Private World by Gordon MacDonald. To say it has been a convicting read would be an understatement. I can already tell this will be my 2012 life handbook.
In the book, MacDonald shares honestly about the lack of order and discipline in his inner life which came to an ugly climax on the day he ‘hit the wall’. With the heart of a father, the focus of a coach and the wisdom of a mentor, he then proceeds to instruct the reader on how they can enact order in their own inner world, which will in turn be reflected in their outer life. MacDonald writes, “If my private world is in order, it will be because I make a daily choice to monitor it’s state of orderliness.”
He quotes Anne Morrow Lindbergh in her book The Gift from the Sea, saying,
“I am seeking perhaps what Socrates asked for in the prayer from the Phaedrus when he said, “May the outward and inward man be one.”
I believe this is echoed in Psalm 119:5 as David cries out to God,
“Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your decrees! Then I will not be ashamed when I compare my life with your commands.”
David knew the secret to consistency from inner direction to outer action was order… internal order.
As I’ve been reading this book, I’m realizing that for as many things in my life than may appear to be in order, there are just as many which are indeed not. My discipline ebbs and flows much more than I am comfortable admitting.
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12:1 NIV
I love how this verse in Hebrews speaks to both an external and internal posture. Paul instructs us to ‘run’ outwardly, but ‘with patience’ inwardly. Initially it seems like an oxymoron, until you realize he is telling us to let internal order produce patience and perseverance that will pace and fuel the run.
As my life continues to take shape, I also realize that if I do not live with order, I cannot lead with order.
So in 2012, I want to actively arrange the areas of my life and heart in such a way that I can run my race outwardly while pursuing a patience-producing pace inwardly. I want my priority to be the overall state and condition of my heart.
What is your One Word for 2012?