My word for 2021 is “Grace.” This has been my best “one word” year ever because, well… it’s grace. I don’t have to do a whole lot with it. Such is the nature of grace. This is my year to just be. I suppose I could have chosen “be” for my one word but it doesn’t quite represent all that I needed. I could just “be lazy” or “be busy.” I could just “be patient” or “be content.” Be what? “Be” wasn’t the word I needed.
In the last few months of 2020, I wrestled to find my one word. The process was frustrating and fuzzy, and my word was out of focus. I knew exactly what I needed. I was sure of what I wanted, but I lacked clarity to name it appropriately. With my new book coming out, I wanted to be fruitful. I also needed to remain peaceful through the process. My “fruitful” is usually a frenzy of intensity. I’m a driver, a go-getter, as they say. After nine months of sparkling isolation, I’m not about that life anymore. The chaos of 2020 and reading Jordan Raynor’s Master of One chilled me all the way out.
What I Learned Last Year
Last year taught me two really big things: God is in control, and it’s useless to worry about things that haven’t happened yet. It would seem that a Bible-blabbing Christian like myself would have known those two things already. Jesus specifically tells us not to worry in Matthew 6:25. I’ve known that scripture since the second grade Easter program. It was my memory verse. “God is in control” is on t-shirts, bumper stickers, and coffee mugs. Why did it take a global pandemic, a national reckoning on race, and the inability to take my annual vacation to Oak Bluffs to push it from my head to my heart? I don’t know.
Last year, I lost things I thought I could never live without. Things that I diligently prepared for were cancelled. Things that caused anxiety, strife, and sleepless nights never actually happened. It was all a waste of worry. God’s grace was sufficient. Just like Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:9. In addition to what was happening in the present, I wrote my upcoming book. A fictionalized memoir, it required me to research my old journals and revisit old memories. Looking back over my life, goodness and mercy followed me. God’s grace is all I need. Just like He promised.
A Year New
While I was delighted to look back and discover God’s grace, I couldn’t help but think about how great it would have been to recognize that grace in the moment. It would have saved me lots of tears and probably developed my new gardening obsession a decade ago. That was it! That was what I needed. It was the thing I couldn’t name. Grace! It’s so easily obtained that it can be difficult to embrace. I needed to slow down and recognize God’s grace in the present, not just upon reflection.
The fearfully and wonderfully-made frenzy of fire that I am, recognizing God’s grace in the moment would definitely be a challenge. But, I’m always up for a challenge. It’s what I do. That’s how “Grace” became my one word for the year. I sat down and started working the plan. I had lists of things I would do to recognize God’s grace daily. I set key performance indicators and mapped out what success would look like at the end of the year. It’s what I do. I strategize. I plan. I execute. I achieve.
A New Me
The new year arrived and I was ready. I would have a maniacal focus on grace. I entered my tea room on January first and offered my initial prayer of the year. That’s when God said, “Are you serious?!!” I had missed the entire point of having “grace” as my one word. If I were truly going to see God’s grace in the moment, I would have to scrap my plans and let him lead. I would have to embrace each day as it comes. So, I did my part and finished my book. The rest is up to God.
Here I am six weeks into grace. Sometimes I wake before the sun rises and get after it. Sometimes, I listen to my body and lie in bed for while. I hydrate and eat veggies most of the time. However, when I want some Smart Sweets I eat them. I might take a virtual spin class. Or, I might just do a quick forty-five second plank and get on with my day.
James 1:27 says that good religion is caring for people. So, rather than spending eighteen hours a day in my office, I take time to enjoy my friends and family– something I never did during the launch of my other five books. Remember what my son said on that Fed and Focused launch video? “Congratulations Mom, the lack of family time is finally over.” He’s headed off to college in the fall and I’m not missing these last few months grinding to make my book a NYT Bestseller.
I get up every morning and let God lead my day. For real…
So that’s where I’ve been for the last six weeks. It wasn’t until today that I was led to update the blog. Today was the day God graced me to wake up early— earlier than I actually would have liked—and write about my “one word” experience. When I sat down in my office, I knew it was time to say hello. So… “Hey y’all! Happy New Year!” I’m just over here living in God’s grace.
See you soon…or not.