Yes, you must choose only ONE word and, no, it can't be a phrase, paragraph, or essay. Hyphens are questionable...I do not mean to make the process unnecessarily difficult or to be exclusive, but having too detailed a theme for the year does not really fit with the purpose of the One Word idea. I know how difficult this is, trust me; there is no shortage of superfluous wordage in the Sarah-camp. Dan Britton relates his own struggle this way:
After my speech, Steve responded, “That’s great Dan, but take all that and boil it down into a one-word theme for the year.” After contemplating even longer than the first time, I responded with the theme “Live it Out.” This was better than the first time, but Steve challenged me again, saying, “Dan, that is still not one word.” As he pushed me, I grew aggravated with my own inability to sum it up into a single word. It was too hard to take all of my lofty goals, my massive game plan for the year and those dramatic life-changes and wrap them up so tightly...
So, Steve asked me again what my word would be. I said that I needed to really pray through it and that I would get back to him. Several weeks later, after much prayer and thought, I called Steve and told him my word for the year would be “Intimacy.” I desired to have greater intimacy with God. And that was the start of an incredible year in which the Lord taught me and showed me how I needed to have deeper level of intimacy in every area of my life. I can’t even begin to explain the full extent of how the Lord weaved intimacy into my life that year.See, when we make things really specific, we are essentially dictating to God what He is allowed to do. We get to set the terms. The reason the One Word idea is different from making New Year's resolutions is that YOU make a resolution, YOU choose how it is going to play out in your life, and YOU receive the credit for accomplishing it. By limiting it to a single word, you are forced to leave the door open for Him. When HE gives you a word and HE chooses how it is going to play out in your life, then HE, likewise, receives the glory for it. Resist the temptation to put limitations on what He can do, I promise you won't regret it.
If you're struggling to limit it to a word, don't be discouraged or frustrated. There are no time limits here. It may be that, in some ways, you are not willing to surrender control to God or accept, however blindly, what HE has planned for you. Give yourself time to work through that, give yourself time to be honest before God and really hear from Him.This has the added benefit of forcing us to really pray and seek him which is sort of the point.
Humorously, my word for 2011 is "Trust" so obviously I have something to learn in this area. I shudder to think of what its going to take to experience real trust during 2011, but I'm excited for it. Already God is breaking down my expectations and surprising me. I'm excited to share that with you.
But not today...
Have a great weekend!