2015’s word was SIMPLE. In some way I succeeded at simplifying my life and in many way I did not. As I’ve been reflecting the last few weeks, I realized that simple was about changing my lifestyle, but what I really needed was to change my heart. So my 2016 word is GRACE.
I take offense easily. Someone has an event and I’m not invited—offended. Someone doesn’t say hi or ask the “right” questions—offended. Someone forgets something important to me—offended. Offended and hurt. Usually over small, unimportant “slights”. The thing is, those small details are how I accept love, so when they happen or don’t happen I feel ignored and unimportant. And despite knowing that those are the things I want people to give to me, I continue to not make that a priority when giving to others.
Grace is defined as the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings. (google definition) Some of the other terms used to define grace (according to merriam-webster) include: mercy, pardon, privilege, reprieve, a special favor, an act of kindness or courtesy.
Simply put grace is free and undeserved. It’s given to someone no matter what that person has done. God gave it to us, so that we may have eternal life, so therefore we are called to give grace to others, to love them and treat them with kindness and mercy, without regard for how they have treated us.
I want my heart to change this year. I don’t want to focus on the negative, on the perceived slights. On taking offense at nothing. On getting angry at my kids for not learning a lesson fast enough or my husband for forgetting a request or event. Or my grandmother for getting angry when I bring her food. I want to remember that everyone is battling an array of emotions and situations and lies and needs and wants. And that I can best respond (for my sake and theirs), with an attitude of love and grace. With a kindness that may not be deserved.
I also want to give more grace to myself. Lots of people claim being “their own worst enemies” and it’s true. Most of us are harder on ourselves, than anyone else is on us. I’m harder on my self when I lose my temper at tantrumy kids. Or when I miss a deadline or make a mistake. Or instead of lovingly taking my grandmother food, I grumble and resent the task. Or when for the 50th time that day I angrily take my son off the table (or piano, or the dresser, or the kitchen cabinets). Or when I snap as I answer my daughter’s ask for the hundredth time “where are we going today, Mama?” I definitely want to improve in those areas and grow more patient, but I don’t want to spend the rest of the day beating myself up and telling myself how horrible of a mama/wife/granddaughter/designer/friend I am.
This word is a little more abstract than the simplicity of trying to get rid of the excess, but my hope is that by studying and reflecting on Grace, my heart will change and everyday it will come a little easier and I will love a little more.
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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV