2018 Word of the Year

In lieu of resolutions for 2018, I’m again choosing a focus word to help ground my highest dreams and infuse my intentions with a more complete sense of purpose. I followed this process to select my word, and came up with several other options first, but kept coming back to GRACE. I felt like it might be too cliche or overdone; but I think I kept coming back to it because it may be overdone for other people, but it’s probably the exact focal point I need right now.

Grace has so many connotations. It is both a noun and a verb, and it holds a wealth of meaning for those who trust in Christ. I wanted this to be my word of the year not just because I need grace (constantly) but also as a reminder to give grace. To be gracious, to act toward others with a sense of compassion — remembering the grace I’ve been given, and therefore extending it to others.

Scripture has much to say about grace, and two verses in particular have stood out to me as I’m taking on this word of the year. Both are in 2 Corinthians (perhaps a good reason to start the new year studying this book):

“But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you —see that you also excel in this grace of giving.” 2 Corinthians 8:7

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

These verses highlight where grace comes from and how it is sustained (from God, through Christ), and that is a reminder I know I’ll need daily this year. The challenges of parenting, marriage, friendships and family, work, and even personal care and hobbies, are a lot to juggle. There have been many moments in 2017 when I’ve felt completely overwhelmed — physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually — and I just wanted to give up. And many times, I did. I took the easy route or made the worse decision that may have worked for the moment but didn’t pay off in the long run. Those are the moments when I need grace. And the wisdom to ask for it before the heat of the moment gets the better of me so that I can share the grace I’ve been so freely given.

But there are also moments when I need to give myself grace. My life doesn’t need to look like everyone else’s. It already doesn’t. I’ve taken a path that allows me to work from home and care for my own children much of the time, but this path isn’t without challenges. Long weeks of trying to juggle work expectations, creative output and deadlines amidst the constant needs of little ones and navigating parenting challenges gets truly difficult. Sometimes I feel as though the world owes me a little more affirmation for just getting through the day! But comparing my decisions to others, or judging others for the decisions they’ve made in their own lives, is a mode of thinking with only ugly results.

Insert grace. Grace is not about what I’ve done, but about what God has done for me. Christ’s ultimate humility for my ultimate elevation — regardless of what I’ve done.

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