My “one word” for 2022 (One Word That Will Change Your Life) is FOCUS. As I reflect on 2021, I realize I was scattered, distracted, and, at times, overwhelmed. COVID, culture, and chaos seemed to rule the day, at least in my mind, and I felt like the proverbial wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind (James 1:6).
Blown and tossed I choose to be no longer. I choose to FOCUS on one thing: “Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13b-14, ESV).
At the start of a New Year, many of us reevaluate our priorities and plans. What’s most important? What do we hope to accomplish? When we get to the end of 2022, how will we measure whether or not we’ve had a good year?
I challenge us this year to maximum our potential by minimizing our list of priorities. In other words, less is more. Less static leads to more focused listening. Fewer objectives lead to more focused direction.
I read recently that the word priority came into the English language in the 1400s. It was singular. It meant the very first or prior thing. It stayed singular for the next five hundred years. Only in the 1900s did we pluralize the term and start talking about priorities. Illogically, we reasoned that by changing the word we could bend reality. Somehow, we would now be able to have multiple “first” things. People and companies routinely try to do just that. However, if many things are the priority, then actually nothing is (Essentialism, 16).
Let’s call this the disciplined pursuit of less. Author, Greg McKeown, says that “less by better” is a principle whose time has come (ibid., 25).
What if 2022 is a year where we reject what has been accurately described as doing things we detest, to buy things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t like? (Artificial Psychology, 217).
What if we stopped buying into the value that having more means a better life? What if we stopped celebrating being busy as a measurement of importance? What if we shifted from the undisciplined pursuit of more to the disciplined pursuit of less . . . only better?
This requires FOCUS. The Apostle Paul had focus. “But ONE THING I do….” His focus was Jesus (Philippians 3:14). His mission was to reconcile people to Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20). His pursuit was to live for Christ (Philippians 1:21).
Poet Mary Oliver once wrote, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” (“The Summer Day,” New and Selected Poems, 94.) I challenge you this year to pause and ask yourself that question. Make a commitment to FOCUS your life, your energy, your time, and your resources on one priority to abide in Christ and live for Him (John 15:4-5).
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.
--St. Patrick’s Breastplate