My OneWord365 for 2014: Hunger

If you go on The Twitter, you’ll find the nifty hashtag #OneWord365 that many twitterers across the globe have embraced in lieu of traditional, bulleted, often impossible-to-keep New Year’s resolutions. OneWord365 trains you to view your upcoming year through the lens of a single word and to simply live out each of your 365 days to the fullest extent of your OneWord365.

Here’s how my OneWord365 for 2013, IDENTITY, shaped my year:

  • I wrote a book that examined and exposed the core of who I am – the struggles and redemption moments alike. I gradually blogged more vulnerably about my identity.
  • Rather than wallow in self-pity about not returning to Camp Ridgecrest last summer, I embraced my youthful identity with part-time positions at summer school and multiple camps here in southern California.
  • I came to grips with some “sneaky idolatry” in my life – namely, an obsession with male friendship. Though still a work in progress, I’m slowly recognizing from where my true identity and worth flows.
  • I love to travel. It’s just ingrained in my being. This year alone, I saw new sights in La Jolla, Nashville, Chattanooga, Baltimore, Washington, and Kansas City. (I’ll soon post a recap of my recent trek to the City of Fountains for IHOP’s 2013 One Thing conference.)

And so, as 2013 wound down, I pondered my OneWord365 for 2014. In the challenging aftermath of last fall’s idolatry realization, one word kept resurfacing and burdening me, over and over.

OneWord365: Hungry vs. Hunger

We often say we’re “hungry.” On any given day, I’m “hungry” fifteen times.

“Hungry” means your tummy turns. “Hungry” means playful gurgles from within.

But “hungry” and “hunger” are two different words.

Hunger means days, weeks painfully void of sustenance. Hunger replaces those innocent gurgles with drastic groans. Hunger induces head-spinning and faintness of step and breath.

As this devastating “hunger” has leapt upon my soul these last few months with tap-dancing blocks of concrete, I realize one sobering truth.

I do not hunger for God.

I am hungry for Him, sometimes, but a weekly church service or brief daily prayers stem the gurgles. I feel more deeply resonating groans for male affirmation or financial overflow or a million book sales or likely some unrealistic unhealthy obsession for all these and more.

No.

Above all else, I do not hunger for God.

OneWord365 2014: hunger

Photo courtesy Kevin Trotman, Creative Commons

OneWord365: Hunger in Scripture

A friend recently made me reconsider that oft-thought rosy Psalm 42:1.

“As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God…”

For over two decades, I have read this lovely verse and and sung the wonderful song and never once resonated with any pain whatsoever for the poor deer. My immediate mental image of the “panting deer” looks something like this:

Aw, look, a DEER. I wonder if its name is Bambi or Fluffy? I mean, just look at its cute fluffy tail. And its adorable little mouth – look, it’s actually panting! A PANTING DEER. And what a cuuuuuuuuuuuute little pink tongue it has. And oh my gosh, it’s bending down to lap some water! Why am I not filming this and putting it on YouTube???

It’s such an idealized picture of hunger, and yet there is nothing “ideal” about hunger whatsoever.

If a deer is panting for water, that deer be dying, and it needs water. Needs water desperately for its survival.

Over the last 26+ years, it’s rare that I’m ever quite that desperate to know God and love God and serve God.

To hunger for more of Him like a deer dying of thirst.

OneWord365: Hunger in 2014

2014 figures to be a “wild card” year filled with unparalleled adventures aplenty. Just a gut feeling.

But if that’s what I hunger for – the thrill of my next wandering – this year will be filled with unfathomable heartache. After all, there’s only so much wandering one can pursue before longing for something deeper. Something stronger and longer lasting.

There’s only so many places one can even wander. Only so much thrill in the mountaintop or a canyon or a coffee shop down below.

So much beckons for my devotion in 2014: travel, relationships, writing. Good things. Bad things also constantly beckon my attention: pornography and shame and isolation, among myriad others.

But I don’t want to beckon after a bunch of good things or bad things.

I want to hunger after the only Thing.

The One Thing.

And so, this OneWord365 post will segue quite nicely into my upcoming OneThing2013 recap from this past week’s One Thing conference in Kansas City. Stay tuned.

Hunger.

2014.

OneWord365

Nothing else matters. There is only One Thing. One King.

Forever and ever.

  • Rebecka

    What a powerful post, Tom. I kind of feel like you just punched me in the stomach (in a good way). I want to hunger for God too.

  • Andy

    I like the whole One Word thing and I’m trying to find my word for the year. Different ones keep going through my head but so far I’m looking at Trust.

    • Trust is a great one. Could go so many directions with that single word. I like the idea of #OneWord365 too. Really helps narrow my focus for the year ahead while also keeping me flexible to all kinds of options. I’ll never go back to “resolutions.”