I had my word for 2015 all picked out a couple of weeks ago. I even shared my word last night with my husband as we waited for the clock to strike. The word was "Joy" and it's a beautiful, lovely, meaningful word but this morning on my walk, as frosted grass crunched under my feet, the Lord spoke a different word to me.
It's not a new concept, anymore than Joy is. I looked over my words from the last few years; relationships, gratitude, love.... are on the list. As I reflected on the new word I realized that I have a pretty good grasp on joy these days but grace is a more slippery fellow. The more I chewed on it the more it became clear to me: I need grace and I need to extend grace. The more I read Facebook, newscasts and blog posts and the more time I spend in traffic, grocery stores and relationships, the more clearly I see how desperately our world needs more grace. And I was convicted that it starts with me. I need to extend grace to those who offend me, extend grace to those who are hurting, to even extend grace to myself! I need God's grace every day or I'd be in such a deep deep hole I'd never see light again. And if I need grace so desperately I can only imagine how much others need it.
While a new year usually brings up the subject of setting resolutions, the latest trend is to set some goals instead. I like that. I recently came across this nifty little acronym about setting SMART Goals. It goes like this:
(sometimes I see Action & Reasonable in place of attainable and relevant )
I remember back when I had my fitness center, when a new member joined, we'd set goals with her. Often the woman would say she wanted to lose X amount of weight. We'd ask "why?" so we could keep the reason for doing so in the forefront of her mind. Just as often the answer was: I want to be healthy. Which is great but I always pressed further: what exactly does that mean to you? What does healthy look like for you?
One of my favorite answers was from a gal who truly struggled with obesity. She thought long and hard and finally in a whisper and with tears in her eyes, replied that she was a brand new grandma and she wanted to be able to get down on the floor to play with her grandbaby. In her current condition there was no way she could get down on the floor, not to mention, get back up. She was able to keep that picture in her mind's eye about kneeling on the floor with her grandson and playing games and it kept her motivated to stay with the program and lose the weight. (The day she brought in a picture of her laying on the floor next to her 2 year old grandson playing with his train set was a red letter day for both of us!)
Ah, yes, good memories.
Smart goals and a word to live by. That's my focus this first day of 2015.