I’m sure you’ve seen it…everyone’s picking a word for the new year. Or maybe they’re picking a phrase, a Scripture, or something else. You can decide for yourself if you’re going to participate and what you’ll go with – maybe a song lyric or your favorite movie line, perhaps?
But, I’m reluctantly telling you today that I’m all in. I took the step. I crossed over. I did something that I don’t usually do. I picked a word. One word. I’m really not sure if I’ve reached a new low of giving in to peer pressure of I’m embarking on the most life-changing thing I’ll ever do. Time will tell…
So here I go. One word. The one word that will guide my whole year. I will either hang my hat on this one word and have a successful 2017 or I will look back on December 31st shaking my head and wondering what I was thinking. Regardless, I have my one word.
Grace is a word and, more importantly, a concept that has largely eluded me for my entire life. Sure I get it. I understand at an intellectual level what grace means. I can articulate the role that it should play in my life and the life of others. But putting it into practice and fully accepting it has been something I have struggled with for as long as I can remember.
Can anyone relate? I sure hope I’m not alone here…
If I had to couple my word for 2017 with a Scripture, it would be this:
“My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
Here’s why grace is so hard for me: I expect to be perfect. Now, before you start judging me and telling me about how no one is perfect, let me challenge you. A year ago, I don’t know that I would have really written that I expect to be perfect. I think I would have said that I have perfectionist tendencies, but that I really only expect myself to do my best every time.
But as I explored that idea further, I’ve discovered that the root of all of this is the lack of grace I give myself and the expectation that I should be perfect. I should be the perfect husband. I should be the perfect parent. I should be the perfect son, uncle, brother, son-in-law, etc. etc. I should be the perfect pastor. I should be the perfect employee, manager, leader. And the list goes on and on.
What I’ve found is that perfection is a no-win proposition. Period. When we start at an expectation of perfection, we have nowhere to go but towards failure and disappointment. For me, when I don’t do things perfectly, I would then be really hard and harsh on myself. I would beat myself up and feel really disappointed.
Couple those feelings of inadequacy with the perception that others around me “have it all figured out” and I’ve got a real formula for disaster. And, what is true about expecting perfection and lacking grace is that you inevitably begin to look to others for your worth. So, when you’re disappointed in yourself, others are disappointed in you, and everyone around you is winning at life, it’s enough to make you want to give it all up and never get out of bed.
Can I get an amen?
But that’s not the way it’s meant to be. In fact, Jesus came to earth for this exact reason (among others). Carrying the weight of perfection and all of the baggage that comes along with it was never the plan. We are meant to be free and to live in that freedom every single day.
So, my word is grace. My goal for 2017 is to not only find God’s grace in deeper ways, but to also extend to myself much more grace than I did in 2016. And one thing I know that’s true about God is that when we seek Him…we find Him – and all of the wonderful things that only come from Him…like grace.
So, what’s your word for 2017? If you’re open to it, Consuela and I would love to know your word, phrase, Scripture, move line, song lyric or what ever it is. Head over to our Facebook page and let us know! You can also leave a comment about the topic of grace too…