When venturing into the wilderness areas of New Zealand there is certain gear that is essential for survival. Most of it is fairly obvious, but get caught in the mountains in bad weather without that gear and you will be very lucky to come out alive. This is one of the attractions to me of going into the mountains – life suddenly gets simplified back to the essentials and just surviving becomes the focus, all the seemingly important stuff filling my days back in town are forgotten as my existence is put into perspective by mountains, rivers, forests and weather. It is refreshing to be forced to carry only the essentials and to have my thoughts focused down to where I place my feet so as to avoid falling.
So when I encountered the idea of choosing a word as a focus for the year, it didn’t take long for me to decide that in 2011 what I need to concentrate on is essentials, avoiding what is unnecessary in regards to using my time, spending money, what I eat, what I read, what I do, what I think and what I feel. What the real essentials are is still a bit fuzzy to me (it is only the start of the year!), just as when I begin packing for a tramping trip I often throw some stuff in the pile of gear to take which are nice to have but turn out not to be essentials and are either left behind or regretted as I struggle to carry a pack which is far too heavy! So too I know even now that the fullness of my life is due to carrying some stuff that is not essential, it needs to be discarded as I identify what those things are.
And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
(Mark 10:21 ESV)
As the year rolls on my intention is to keep coming back to my ‘word of the year’ and will post my progress as the non-essentials are identified and hopefully dumped.