“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever. Amen.” (II Peter 3:18)
One of my favorite authors selects a word to concentrate on at the beginning of each year. In the past, she’s chosen joy, peace, love, patience, and hope. Once she chooses the word, she tries to incorporate it into every aspect of her life.
Although I’d never felt the desire to do something like that, the concept had always intrigued me.
So, I was a little surprised last year during the holidays when it seemed like every time I turned around, I either saw or heard the word “grace” or came across articles on the subject.
My favorite passage of scripture, II Corinthians 12:9-10, has the word in it, and I began to wonder if I needed to focus on this concept and word throughout 2016.
Did I need to incorporate “grace” into every area of my life? My thoughts, my words, my relationships?
Simple elegance; beauty of form, manner, motion, comeliness, ease, fluidity; refinement of movement: favor or goodwill; forgiveness, charity, mercy, clemency, pardon; compassion, generosity, goodness, kindness, love, tenderness.
That was a lot to think about. What type of tests or trials would challenge me and force me to take a deeper look at my walk with Christ? I didn’t have answers, but I decided to ty it.
It’s a little scary and exciting, but I pray that I will grow in my understanding of God’s grace and in my ability to exhibit it every day of my life.
It’s been almost a month. There have been times when I failed to extend grace, or even realize that it was called for in a particular situation. Reacting in the normal ways is a hard habit to break, but I trust God to renew my mind and change my heart. So when I notice I’ve failed, I lean on Him for the strength and courage to keep going.
However, the other day, I noticed a change in the way I normally respond to others. A sharp reply from my daughter caused me to pause and take a closer look instead of getting frustrated or snapping back. That’s when I noticed the anxious look in her eyes and the tired expression on her face as she looked away.
Instead of pointing out her uncalled for anger, I put my arm around her shoulder and told her to sit down while I made her a cup of tea. She shared her burden, and we prayed.
I also started to realize that I needed to let go and learn to relax. To go easy on myself and quit striving. To know it is OK to stop to take a nap when my body is screaming for rest. To accept each day as it reveals itself – whether I can move or not; use my hands or not; accomplish a chore done or not. To appreciate this broken body and all its limits and pain.
I think everything will work out just fine as long as I keep my focus on God and trust in His ability – not mine.
I believe my focus on “grace” will help me to relate to other people, to try to understand their stories without trying to change them or judge them. To allow God’s Spirit to flow. To better rest in the power of God’s love.
I hope this journey transforms every aspect of my life and helps me accept myself a little better. More than anything, I hope it makes me more aware of God’s grace at work in my life.
Heavenly Father, thank You for always giving us the opportunity to learn and grow. As we begin a new year, help us rely on You to transform our lives. Bend our wills until they match Your will for our us. Keep us and help us each step of the way. Amen.
Pray and think about an area of your spiritual walk with the Lord. Commit that area to the transforming power of the Holy Spirit and begin your own journey to a deeper walk with God this year.
I’d love to hear about it!