“In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” -John 1:1-5
Our theme for Youth Sunday is “One Word” based on the book “One Word: that will change your life,” by Jon Gordon, Dan Britton, and Jimmy Page.
Last time we met, we watched Curly, from the movie City Slickers, explain to Mitch that the secret to life was just “one thing.” When asked what that one thing was, he replied, “well, that’s what you’ve got to figure out.” While I do not claim to know the secret to life, I am excited to lead you on a journey to find your “one word.” Your word is not unlike a New Year’s Resolution, in that it is somewhat of a goal. Something you are striving to be. The difference though, is that unlike resolutions which are so easily and quickly broken or forgotten, your one word is an idea. It is a simple, precise word that you can apply to any situation you are in, to any interactions you have, or to help with any decisions you make. Discovering your one word is a process, and the first step is to look in.
Sooooooo…Step 1. Look in: Prepare Your Heart
“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” -John Wooden
“If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my axe.” -Abraham Lincoln
John Wooden was a UCLA basketball coach that led his team to 13 national championships and was the only person inducted into the Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach. Abraham Lincoln was, well, Abraham Lincoln. Both of these men accomplished much (although in very different ways) and both obviously knew something to say about preparation.
Most of us fail in the preparation, not in the task. I know that I am more successful and focused on work and school if I have my calendar planned out. I get all my syllabi together, look at my test and due dates and get a plan for the semester (OK, maybe I am a bit OCD with three different calendars, but hey, I am prepared). The point is, the more prepared I am, the better grades I get, the happier and less stressed I am, the more time I have for fun and relaxing at home, etc…It’s a snowball effect.
Besides a lack of preparation, another troubling phenomenon we find ourselves in is the condition of being busy. Busy, busy, busy. We tend to glorify busy, but is it really a good thing? One interesting thing that Gordon points out is that the Chinese symbol for busy is the combination of two symbols: those for “heart” and for “killing.” Some of us are just plain addicted to being busy (guilty!). If you are like me you hit the ground running first thing in the morning, checking emails while you brush your teeth, eating lunch while catching up on work, feeling guilty for taking a break, feeling like that time is being wasted.
Even if you are not like me, addicted to being busy with work (as most youth will not be) you are busy in your own way. School is more and more demanding, extracurricular activities, sports, and of course…social media. We are PLUGGED IN. Always busy updating statuses, tweeting, instagramming pictures of our food, you know, really important things. Please understand, my intent is not to make fun. I myself use Facebook for more than just socializing. I use it for work, it is the main means of communication for many people, so these medias are not necessarily bad, but there comes a time to unplug.
Unplugging requires that we intentionally find solitude and silence, which is tough, it feels awkward. We are much more comfortable with TV or music on to keep us company. Unplugging is imperative and spans not just technologies. It means no TV, no music, no computer, no phone, no other people, no calendars, no to-do lists…
Some people find solace in the early mornings before the sun comes up, my best friend finds solace in the craziness of 25 mile runs, I like to sit out in the quiet of the evening. There is no right or wrong place to start clearing out the concerns, schedules, to-do’s, fears and whatnot from your head.
When you allow quiet, peace will come. And it is in this peace that you will be able to find out what you need and find your “One Word.”
When thinking about your “One Word” take some time this week to sit in quiet and ask yourself these three questions.
1. What do I need? What needs changed in my life? Why?
2. What’s in my way? What is preventing me from having what I need? Sometimes barriers are simply in our own minds.
3. What needs to go? Sometimes we are held back by mistakes or pain. Sometimes “should haves” or “could haves” prevent us from moving forward.
***Information and lesson plan taken from “One Word” by Jon Gordon