I’m not sure where the idea came from to choose a word each year to serve as a theme for the next twelve months. I’ve participated off and on for the last few years. One year, my word was relationships. Another year it was celebrate.
As I considered a word for 2012, “sacrifice” came to mind. Not what I was looking for. I tried to shove it aside. Who wants to focus on that for a whole year? Unfortunately, I think it scared away all the other kinder, gentler, happier words because nothing else presented itself. Looks like I’m stuck with sacrifice. For a year.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I’ve just finished reading Radical by David Platt. It’s a very convicting book about how our pursuit of the American Dream has gotten in the way of living life the way Christ intended us to live. In his last chapter, the author lists five challenges, one of which is to give sacrificially for one year. He defines sacrificial giving as “giving until it hurts.” I consider myself a giving person, but I’ve never given that much. Never even come close. I give until it makes me feel good.
Sacrificial giving isn’t just a financial matter. There are lots of ways to give: time, possessions, acceptance, forgiveness, love. Ouch.
Another reason to focus on sacrifice: Recently, I had just finished bookmarking clearance items in a clothing catalog when I picked up the bio brochures of three children we support through World Vision. One pamphlet described a six-year-old girl from Bangladesh growing up in a crowded slum community where a typical house is made of bamboo with a metal roof and a dirt floor. I looked around at my two-story, air-conditioned and heated home and wondered why I thought I needed to squeeze more clothing into my already jam-packed closet. Not that I wasn’t aware such conditions existed in the world. But putting a name and face into that setting, taking responsibility for someone living in those conditions makes it real. Urgent. Convicting.
So, for this year, I have resolved not to buy any new clothing. This is not a huge sacrifice on my part; I’ve never been accused of being a clothes horse. But it’s an achievable sacrifice. Honestly, I considered giving up chocolate for a year but I’m going to have to work up to that. A sacrifice of that magnitude would hurt too much, although I fully intend to take the challenge at some point. But for now, I’ll start with just a minor ache and work up to the pain that requires surgery.
I hope to work some sort of giving into this sacrifice, as well. Maybe cutting the number of garments in my closet by half?
I’ll let you know how this goes.
Do you have a word for the year? Leave a comment and let me know what it is, and why you chose it.