New Year, New Word?

Last year, instead of making resolutions, I followed the lead of others and focused on a word. One single word that would be used to keep me on track through 2018. I mean, 2018 couldn’t be as crappy as 2017, right? My word for 2018 was “fearless”.

Why “fearless”? My entire life, I have let fear rule my actions. I was too afraid of being deemed a failure to do many things I wanted to do in life. If someone saw me mess something up, they would judge me. If I failed, my failure would be visible to everyone. Fear ruled my life – and I allowed it to continue.

So 2018….. I did several things I had never thought I would do. I put my writing on display. I embraced my goofiness. I decorated ornaments, and put them up for sale (and people bought them!). Was anything perfect? No. Was there room for improvement in everything I did? Absolutely! Did people criticize? Oh, gosh, yes. But it hit me: I would be criticized if I did nothing and I would be criticized if I did something. It mattered not what I did or didn’t do because the scrutiny would have occurred regardless of what I did. My bonus: by stepping out, I found peace and joy – and a hobby! In the middle of smack talk. Despite the whispers. In spite of the haters.

So all that to say: that word thing kinda worked! It kept me focused just enough on my goals without limiting my means of getting to my destination. I didn’t obsess over my goals. I didn’t totally annihilate myself over missteps. I didn’t self sabotage to become a self-fulfilling prophesy of failure. Instead, I actually made great strides in accepting the grace offered. Perfect? Heck no. But I’m better than I was last year.

Enter 2019. I decided to focus on a word again. Not abandoning “fearless” because that journey still has some miles to go. More like piggybacking on last year to build more. I prayed for my word in ’18, so I prayed for my word in ’19.

At first, I thought my word was “enough”. You are enough. You have enough. You have had enough. Ok. Got it. Then, as I sat still and cleared my mind, I realized it was actually supposed to be “grace”. “Grace” kind of takes “enough” and expands it.

You are enough because grace has washed you clean.

Scriptures and quotes about accepting and giving grace flew through my mind for two days before I figured this out, by the way. I am clearly not a genius in this area….

Anywhooooo….. “Grace” in 2019. Grace for family. Grace for friends. Grace for strangers. And, most of all, grace for myself. Grace has been given to us and so we must give grace to others.

We don’t deserve grace and we cannot earn it, yet it is freely offered without strings attached. It clears the slate. Elevates us to our rightful positions as children of God. Covers us in God’s eternal love.

Honestly, I do better at offering grace to others than offering grace to myself. Or accepting it. I’m working on that, though. Now I have my daily reminder to keep me moving forward.

**********

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—”

Ephesians 2:8 NIV

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Hebrews 4:16 NIV

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