I recently came across a short devotional about a concept called One Word. In a nutshell, it was encouraging people to choose one word as their focus for the new year. Rather than a list of resolutions that are likely out of reach, doomed for failure, etc., to choose one word that focuses you in on the change you want to see in your upcoming year.
When I first began reading it, it actually kinda bugged me - just another gimmick, cliche-y, ...still just another thing to go by the wayside around mid-March. (fyi- I'm struggling a bit with cynicism at this point in my life.)
A few days after reading it, and honestly, not giving it much thought, this word came into my head -- Extravagant.
It is a word that I've thought of frequently in the last few months - and here's why...
Back in the summer Brian and I had an opportunity to reach out to someone that was hurting. It wasn't a HUGE, life-will-never-be-the-same-again thing, from our perspective. Nobody's spouse was dying, nobody had just been diagnosed with a horrible disease...but it was a huge thing for that person, at that season of their life. As we debated what our course of action would be (i.e., stop what we were doing - a planned, set-aside, fun event - and go sit with them in their difficulty, OR keep right on doing what we were doing, tell them we'd pray for them (actually pray for them), follow-up a little later, whatever), Brian said something -- "What would Bob Goff do?"
It struck me as kind of funny -- a throw back to the bracelet-wearing W.W.J.D. hysteria of a few years ago. But here's where we went with it...
First off, as an aside, If you don't know who Bob Goff is, please take the time to follow up and do that after reading this. Here's a link to get you started: http://bobgoff.com/lovedoes/ We discovered him after reading a story in one of Donald Miller's books and then later reading his first book, Love Does.
I have no idea whether he is some deeply theological guy - but here's what he is... He is a man that loves - and loves big - loves EXTRAVAGANTLY. Given the choice of loving, or doing ANYTHING else, he chooses love. And that's what Brian said that night. He said, "He would choose to show love - extravagantly." I want to be like that.
And, not coincidentally, it's what Jesus did too.
So, even though it probably is cliche-y. It is probably a little trite, or another gimmick, I'm doin' it.
I don't say this lightly, or with ease. I don't have Bob Goff's personality. I'm not all "out there". I hide. I hole-up by myself. I'm prone to cynicism. I pull away. And while I've learned to accept who I am - an introvert that draws my energy from time alone - I don't like who I become when I take that to its extreme. I become negative and cynical. It's not pretty. I don't want to be her.
So, given the choice:
1. Staying in my own ordered, quiet, organized world
2. Loving extravagantly
This year? I want to pick number two - almost. every. time.
I want to challenge myself to invest, to participate, to love - with extravagance.