Instead of making New Year’s resolutions, there are a few movements to encourage people to adopt one word as a sort of theme for their lives. Some examples I’ve seen are discipline, brave, abide, and intentional. I love the concept and reading what some people have chosen and why is truly inspirational. But I won’t be choosing a word.
I just have to be contrary, don’t I?
Actually, since the beginning of our school year, I’ve been focusing on the phrase “grace and joy.” I want our home to be guided by grace and filled with joy. I want to continually abide in the grace of God and extend that grace to my family and everyone I encounter. I want our daily lives to be marked by joy.
I will be honest, while I’ve been okay at keeping that goal in view, the execution has been… not so good. Whether it’s the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Effect the abide lady mentioned, or something else entirely, this year has seemed hard– walking-to-school-in-the-snow-up-hill-both-ways-hard. Nothing major, nothing life shattering, just drudgery.
That just screams “Grace and Joy”, doesn’t it?
But for my resolution/one word (phrase)/ new beginning thing is to commit myself to approaching life through the lens of grace and joy.
Grace is a gift: I can receive grace, and I can give grace, but I cannot earn or award grace. For someone like me, the concept of the “free gift of grace” is hard. TANSTAAFL is hard-wired into my being. But the bible makes clear, grace is a gift:
If you buying cialis cheap keep on going to have so many medicines at a time then it might give rise to erectile dysfunction. It is cialis 5mg, which is a huge market ration of a successful anti erectile dysfunction (ED) drug. Available strength of dosages: With different viagra online canadian brand name Sildenafil citrate meds comes in different strength of dosages. The male buy cialis professional may fall a prey to some undesirable sexual disorders mainly as: penile dysfunction, small sized penis, weak sexual organs or ejaculation disorders. “For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” John 1:16
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
I pray to have a heart open receive the Grace of God, minute by minute, action by action in my life and also to extend it, particularly to my family in our homeschool. There is a delicate balancing act when extending grace to children whom I am also called to spur to excellence. To discipline (in the sense of training and guiding in growth) in grace is no easy task. I definitely require the grace of God to achieve any success at all.
Joy, like grace, comes from God but it is different in that it is a fruit of the spirit and needs to be cultivated. I think the same reason I fall short in living a joy-filled life is the same reason I fail in raising a garden year and year out: both gardens and joy must be cultivated.
To be honest, cultivating joy in a season of struggle is a somewhat daunting. Joy has never been a predominate characteristic of mine, even when life is easy. When things are rough, I tend to go into a white-knuckle, let’s just get through this mode. It’s neither a pleasant way to live, nor the heritage I want to leave my children. More than just a desire to live in joy, I need it. But in order to cultivate joy in my life, I will need an abundance of grace and the ability to be vulnerable in my weakness. (This is a start, yes?) More than anything, I will need to live moment by moment relying on the grace of God, and pray that he will awaken in me a hunger for his joy.
It’s not a weight loss plan or a book list or a new skill to learn, so it will be harder to measure “success.” But the upside is that living life in grace and joy is one of those things that neither rusts nor can be stolen, and any measure of success will bring blessing to me and my family.
So what’s your 2013 resolution/word/thing?