“Simplicity is the secret of seeing things clearly.”
- Oswald Chambers

There is power in simplicity.
For more than 15 years, we started the simple discipline of picking a one word theme for the year. That is right—ONE WORD. Not a phrase, not a statement, just a ONE WORD vision for the year. And to this point, it has been nothing short of life-changing.

We drift toward complexity but drive toward simplicity.
As time goes by, life gets complicated. Stuff piles up, and we become overwhelmed. We look back on the year and say, “Did I get anything accomplished?” If you are like us, you have done your fair share of goal-setting at the start of each new year. You begin to feel guilty as you fall short in your ambitious plans.

Narrow the focus the greater impact.
We need to be intentional and bring clarity to our life, family, calling, work, relationships, marriage and our walk with God. We need some grit to cut through all the junk and bring simplicity to our lives. Trust me; no one is going to do it for you! Reach deep into your soul and drink deep from the well of tenacity. Get a ONE WORD vision for 2012 that produces passion!

Time to simplify!
So, let's get to the practical side of the ONE WORD vision.There are are seven steps below to help you discover your ONE WORD. Keep in mind that the process takes time, but that it is worth it. Whether you are an athlete, coach, parent or business leader, this process can facilitate breakthrough for you in every area of your life.

“I'm asking God for one thing, only one thing…”
– Psalm 27:4a

7 Steps to Develop ONE WORD:

1. Prepare your heart through prayer and fasting.
Spend time in prayer and ask God to reveal the ONE WORD to you. Remember, you do not pick the word, but God reveals to you what He wants to teach you in the coming year. Spend extended time in prayer and even consider fasting. 

2. Search the Scriptures.

While reading your Bible, ask the Lord to highlight or bring to your attention a verse or story. This provides great insight and will help you ground your word in the Word of God. Commit that verse or passage to memory.

3. Evaluate all of your roles.

Each of us plays many different roles in life (e.g., athlete, coach, parent, spouse, leader, athlete, friend, sibling etc.). As you pray and think through those roles, pay attention to what God shows you. This step will help you understand the lives you impact and those that impact you. What is it that God wants to take hold of in your life and use for His glory? What area of your life do you need to surrender? What character trait does God want to develop within you? Which fruit of the Spirit does He want you to live out? 

4. Do NOT seek counsel from others. 

Seeking advice from godly counsel regarding issues or problems in your life is essential, but we would highly recommend not asking for ONE WORD ideas from friends, spouses or accountability partners. Everyone will give you an opinion, but you aren't seeking their opinions. You're not even seeking your own opinion. You're seeking God's opinion.

5. Ask God for the ONE WORD. 

Ask God for the word. Just as Samuel said, "Speak, Lord, your servant is listening," you need to humble yourself and ask God to drop the word into your heart, mind and soul. Be open and willing. The word can be a fruit of the Spirit (kindness, faithfulness), attribute of God (holiness, mercy), discipline (prayer, memorization), person (spouse, child), biblical principle (harvest, stewardship), spiritual focus (devotion, intimacy, passion), character trait (commitment, perseverance), values (integrity, teamwork) or characteristic of Christ (serving, humility). Listen for the Lord's prompting.

6. Share your word with trusted people. 

Once you have your ONE WORD, it is important to share it with your best friend, husband or wife, accountability partner or pastor. Prayerfully consider who you need to share your word with. Ask them to pray for you and to hold you accountable so that God can do His work in you.

7. Live out your ONE WORD. 

As you begin to live out your word on a daily basis, be sensitive to the Lord's leading. Be open to learning more as He reveals Scripture, quotes and books for you to use. Keep a journal and write down the insights and lessons throughout the year. 


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