For the past few years, our church has replaced “New Year’s Resolutions” with a concept called My One Word. With My One Word, you don’t think about all the things you want to do or fix or control in the upcoming year. You think about the person you’d like to become, look at the characteristics that would be necessary to be that person, and then simply pick a word on which to focus. It provides clarity and direction for the year, and allows you to focus on one thing as opposed to having a long list that inevitably gets disregarded due to failure or frustration by February.
I’ve been wrestling through quite a few words this month and proclaiming each one as the word that, certainly, would end up being my word. My husband threw “content” into the mix, after pointing out some key areas in my life where he’s noticed my discontentment increasing. I disregarded his advice because I’d “dealt with” contentment in high school. Besides, I did not like the word because I was no good at it.
Today, while doing the homework for picking a word (it helped me to be clear on all possibilities) I looked up definitions for my possible words, and when I looked up contentment, I found a paragraph on contentment by Bible Dictionary:
“A state of mind in which one’s desires are confined to his lot whatever it may be (1 Tim. 6:6; 2 Cor. 9:8). It is opposed to envy (James 3:16), avarice (Heb. 13:5), ambition (Prov. 13:10), anxiety (Matt. 6:25, 34), and repining (1 Cor. 10:10). It arises from the inward disposition, and is the offspring of humility, and of an intelligent consideration of the rectitude and benignity of divine providence (Ps. 96:1, 2; 145), the greatness of the divine promises (2 Pet. 1:4), and our own unworthiness (Gen. 32:10); as well as from the view the gospel opens up to us of rest and peace hereafter (Rom. 5:2).”
I looked up all the verses. I looked up the words “avarice” and “repining” because I had no clue what they meant. (Avarice means greedy or hoarding money, and repining means complaining, fretting, or grumbling.) After researching everything, that was it for me. All the above phrases which contentment opposes are the things of which I want to rid myself, filling myself instead with a spirit that does not envy, is generous, seeks advice and selflessness as opposed to ambition, does not worry, and does not grumble or fret. All the above phrases from which contentment arises are things that seem to cover many traits I would like to develop in myself. Peace in God, reminders of His promises and His glory, something that stems from the inside as opposed to relying on my external circumstances… it’s even interesting that contentment is said to stem from humility, which was *tentatively* my word last year.
And so, I welcome the second month of 2010 with My One Word: Contentment.
If you’ve already chosen a word and feel like sharing it on here, please do! I’d love to hear the story of how you came up with your 2010 word. If you would like to read other people’s words and stories of how they chose them, choose a word for yourself, or learn more about My One Word, check out the much more official www.myoneword.org. I’ll take a moment to brag about Mike. He was part of the team that helped develop this site. Mike is extraordinary, talented, and, oh yes, gives sound advice to this crazy lady. 🙂 Okay, moment over.