The message at my church on New Year's Day was about finding our "word" for the year.
"Picking a word of the year is different than your typical New Year's resolution. It doesn't exist to be a constant reminder of what you 'should be doing.' Instead, it stands as an inspiration of who you really are in Christ and how you want to live. The words invites you to think about who you want to be, who God created you to be. So, will you choose a word of the year that will help you experience this?" (Gateway Austin)As I was listening to the message, the word that kept popping up in my mind was "Peace." It's something that I've been working on for the past year, and something I'd like to continue to improve upon. The more peace I feel, the happier my family and I are. This road is not easy, and my mental fortitude has been tested over and over the past few years. But I do think I made some headway this past year.
It's the most important "word" I could find to define how I want to live in 2017. And I know it's how God wants me to live.
This got me thinking (because we all know I can never shut my mind off). What else do I need to work on this year? What could be my secondary words? What do those around me need to work on? So I made another list and it has four words on it, so far.
I think a few of these can go hand in hand and can complement each other. Progress on one can lead to progress on another.
I'm all over the map when it comes to patience. It's a very situational thing for me. I've got unlimited patience when it comes to certain things, while other things receive zero patience from me. Being a parent requires more patience than anyone ever thought possible, and exponentially so when you're talking about high needs kids. Self care and medication has improved my reaction to stressful situations, particularly with the changes I've made over the past year. But there is always room for improvement.
This is where I start to talk about politics. If this bothers you, then please stop reading. I hope you won't, however. This election cycle was nasty beyond measure, and it made me so disappointed in people. I lost a lot of the grace I felt I had worked so hard on embracing. Likewise, I think many people forgot completely what grace means. We all make mistakes, we all have views that might be questionable to someone else, we all say things that make people cringe sometimes. But with grace, it allows us to step away and view things more objectively, to allow people room to be who they are and to atone for things they may have done or said that they regret, and to be a safety net for those who desperately need one. The words that have been used to describe those of us on my side of the political spectrum have been horrendous, profoundly untrue for the vast majority of us, and frankly, downright unfair. It's so easy to throw out labels on those you disagree with and to make blanket statements about the kind of person they must be, simply because of how they voted. We don't fit in boxes, and we don't deserve those labels. Neither side deserves that. I didn't always show grace to those I differed with, and I certainly felt very little in return. Even two months after the election, I'm still seeing this lack of grace. It's pervasive on social media and it hurts deeply. I wish I could unsee some of the posts and comments that I feel are a direct attack on my character. So I'd like to remember this when I disagree with someone. I'd like to show grace towards them and I would hope they could find it in their heart to do the same.
This leads right into my third word. I think "grace" and "understanding" go hand in hand in many situations. For the past few months I've tried to make a very big effort to understand the other side of the aisle. It's not necessarily as difficult for me because I spent eight years on that side before reassessing my views and what I felt was important for society. There are a few things that I'm decidedly moderate about. But, mostly because I got tired of hearing "how could you vote for him?," I vowed to try my hardest to not do that, even when my brain was screaming "how could you vote for HER?" At the end of the day, many of our goals are the same, we just disagree with how to get there. But we need to understand WHY each side feels the way that they do, and maybe the nastiness wouldn't be so pervasive. Take a deep breath, bite your tongue, and don't be an ass. You can be passionate about your beliefs while still being understanding towards those who feel the opposite. I want to continue to do my best to be the understanding person I expect others to be. We all deserve that. (One caveat....there are some extreme views and idiocy that I will never understand. Period)
This is my husband's word for the year. He wants to loosen up on his control issues and allow others the freedom to take control. I like that he's chosen this word, as I think this will help us in our household. On that same token, I'll embrace this word as well. I am not a delegator, which is why I would be a terrible boss. I like to do EVERYTHING, because most of the time I think I do it best. Therefore, it's time to loosen up and trust that others are just as capable. It will take a lot of work, but I'm willing to make the effort. I'd still make a terrible boss, however.
What words should I add?