In September, I attended the STARTConference, starring Jon Acuff and a few hundred of my closest friends... and something Acuff said resonated with me--"Own your word". He said simply, find a few words, and own them. Make them your life. Words like "Inspire". "Ambition". "Passionate". "Goals"... you get the drift. So, of course, what words would I own? I wasn't sure. Perhaps its something many people just passed over, but it stuck with me.
If I can back up a minute, at the beginning of the conference, we were all given an obligatory lanyard with a place for our name (d$), our twitter name (@davedollar) and a blank space that said "I Want To:_______"
What do I write?
"Write"? Yes. I want to write. I love to write. I'm a writer. But what about...
"Plan Magical Vacations"? Certainly. I at a Disney Travel Planner, so that has to factor into it. I want to help people have incredibly memorable vacations to Disney parks, to Universal and so on. But, then there is...
"Blog"? I do that too. Its writing, but its a special sort of writing. I want to continue blogging, perhaps monetize my site one day. Soon? Hopefully very soon.
But what do I write?
Then Jon Acuff said, "Own your words". And I began to think about those words that I wanted to define me, to define who I am as a man, who I am as a person, who I am as husband, a father, a Christ Follower, a friend, a servant, a leader.. even an adversary, if that's how someone sees me.
What do I want you to think about me? Perhaps I haven't been doing a very good job of it, no matter what, but what words do I eventually want YOU to say, when asked about me, "Oh d$? He's this And this. And certainly this. And definitely this."
And after a morning of thought, after a day or reflection, tossing the idea around in my head, I figured out what I wanted to strive for. What I hope to be. Who I wanted to become.
I took off my lanyard, laid the tag on a table and wrote four letters, in Sharpie, all capitalized.
P I K E
I smiled, putting the cap back on the Sharpie (for capless Sharpies are reasons for broken hearts and dreams) and then putting the lanyard around my neck. P I K E. Spells "PIKE"... and in a way, it was ironic, because at the time, I was working at Starbucks. (besides, when I wrote down Super, Unique, Manly, Awesome, Terrific, Righteous and Awesomer, it just didnt work as well, even though it spelled "SUMATRA")
When I explained to a few people what P I K E meant, I told them I was "Finding my PIKE Place". And its true.
Now, the question you'll have is simply, what does P I K E even mean? That's why I'm writing to you today... to share with you what words I will now spend my life pursuing and owning, and in my writing, in my Disney planning, in relationships of all kinds, and most importantly, in my Walk with Christ and my pursuit of holiness, this is what I will wrap around. I truly believe the words are God breathed to my own heart, and here they are...
I want to be PURPOSEFUL. I want to have purpose in whatever I do. Now, let's be real... we know God cares about all of our actions, but I'm not sure we have to have a laying on of hands prayer time to decide between the new Kings Hawaiian Sandwich and the Beef n Cheddar combo while you are standing at the counter at Arby's. Some things I think He puts you in charge of. But overall... the people I spend time with. The contacts I make. The tasks I allow myself to be engaged in. With purpose. Not to things half-heartedly... if that's my feeling, I just wont do them at all, because whoever is asking a task of me deserves my whole effort. I want to be PURPOSEFUL in my life.
I want to be INVESTING. I have a billion acquaintances from all parts of my life--my childhood hometown of Samson... my college alma mater of Troy State... various jobs I've worked... various seminars and conferences and retreats I've attended... the huge presence of Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and Pinterest (oh Pinterest... do I have to? I don't wanna... do I gotta...?) have made it easy to keep in touch with people that you haven't spoken to, at least in real life, in 30 years. I'm not bragging when I say I know thousands and thousands of people... but more than likely, so do you.
I can't get to know everyone... just not possible. But I can learn about people. I can ask questions. I can find out how people are doing, what they are hoping for, what they are praying for. I want to invest in people.
I want to be KIND. What can I say? We know what Kind means. Don't we? It means being a little nicer, being a little more free with a smile, being a little more willing to provide grace to people all throughout the day... I want to be kind.
I want to be ENCOURAGING. Without patting myself on the back too much, I have always felt like "encouraging" is something that I'm pretty good at. I think I've gotten even better at it in the last several months, at least to many. And I'd like to continue to be encouraging to people, be it a kind word, a helping hand or just a surprising act of whatever.
So there you go. Put them altogether, and its a life worth living, a life that hopefully will have meaning and a life made for positively impacting those around me with the love of Christ.
Four words to live by. Sure, you can also use "Holiness" and "Godliness" and "God-Chaser"... but I think He'd rather me be Purposeful, Investing, Kind and Encouraging with my whole heart and life than to hide behind some church words that I use as a crutch and excuse.
So now... your words? Have you chosen yours?
(by the way, dont think it has eclipsed me that this is all heartfelt and meaningful, instead of being full of jokes and clever pop culture references. Don't worry. I have a plan to get back to that. I'll be purposeful while investing in my kind of encouraging humor.)