ONE WORD: The Yeast
My One Word for 2021 was “The Rock”. I picked it to help me fight the Flux, which is the emotional reaction to the peaks and valleys that appear throughout a man’s life. Given the 2020 we had, I felt the need to start each day of the following year with a reminder to put my faith in The Rock that is God rather than the shifting sands of the world we inhabit (or myself) so that I could be as Consistent as possible through difficult times.
The Rock turned out to be the right choice because those worldly sands did some seismic shifting in 2021 and the times were difficult. It was good to have The Rock upon which to hang my hopes and faith. By being as Consistent as possible I was best able to serve my family, community, and the groups in which I am a leader.
Looking back upon the year that was, I can see that I let those shifting sands affect me far more than I should have, but not as much as I would have without my One Word. Which is the point of the exercise. It’s not a matter of perfection or control (as both are chimera), but of Preparedness, getting ready for the expected while staying ready for the unexpected.
Although I didn’t know what form the rains would take in 2021, I felt certain that they would come because they often do—for a season. And when they did, I may have been battered but my foundation didn’t fall because it was built on The Rock, not sand.
But that was last year. This year I believe is to be different. That’s why I’ve chosen “Yeast” as my One Word for 2022.
The idea came to me three weeks ago during F3’s first Cadre Academy. Linus had assigned me as the Q for an evolution we call “Watch and Vent”, during which I was to show the Cadre candidates a video (of my choosing) and direct a conversation about what it meant to them.
As soon as I got my assignment, I knew what video I was going to use: the Dancing Idiot. Although it is very short, it perfectly encapsulates all four F3 Leadership Skills: Vision, Articulation, Persuasion and Exhortation. It’s a three-minute primer on how to start a movement and I couldn’t think of a better way to initiate a conversation with the candidates about what it means to be a member of the F3 GTE Cadre.
The Cadre are the men who are selected, trained, and deployed to administer the Ruck Phase of the GTE. We had been using only former special operations soldiers for this purpose, but we didn’t have enough of them to keep up with the demand we expected in 2022. That’s why we created the academy, because we found that we needed more men—as does the world beyond F3. As it always has.
What I wanted the candidates to take away from the Watch and Vent was how important their role as Cadre is to the further growth and development of F3. In fact, it is more than just important, it is indispensable.
During the conversation, a part of my brain kept searching for a metaphor that would be useful for them—and it hit me: “you men are to be like yeast,” I told them. “Without yeast, bread won’t rise and beer won’t brew. And without bread and beer, where would we be? F3 has to have some yeast for the organization to continue to rise.”
That seemed to work for them because I got a lot of nodding heads. Or, maybe they were just exhausted as it was 0300 and they hadn’t slept in twenty-four hours. Either way, I liked the metaphor.
When I got back home from the Cadre Academy, I didn’t have Yeast on my mind as a One Word, until I came across this passage in Matthew 13:33 two days later: the kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.
In that verse, yeast symbolizes personal growth. Just as a batch of dough is inert until a little yeast is kneaded into it, a man’s life remains stagnate until the Holy Spirit penetrates his soul—only then does he truly come alive. For a man to rise like bread, he needs some yeast. Not much, because a little bit of yeast has a huge effect, but he must have some.
Over the next seven days I couldn’t get the concept of yeast out of my mind. Was it meant to be more than just a way to describe the Cadre’s role in F3, or was it something bigger? Finally, I decided that it was, that the image of Yeast was supposed to be my One Word for 2022.
As Solomon wrote, there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. 2021 was a time to tear down (for reasons only God knows), but I foresee 2022 as a time to build, to help other men rise. So unlike last year when I was just trying to hold onto The Rock through the storm, this year I am to leave the shelter of the harbor and venture forth wherever the Lord may send me and serve as leaven.
Because it is time for men to rise. For that, there must be Yeast.