As I sat fully immersed in my time with God this morning, I was reminded to take stock. To take a moment to look back over the past few weeks, the month of January, and proudly take notice of every success. Every decision made. Every emotion overpowered by faith and choice. Every fear faced. Every inch of growth of mind, body, and soul. I was reminded to celebrate it all.
This is the first year I’ve ever made any kind of firm commitment to goal setting in the new year. I don’t believe in resolutions or setting oneself up for failure. How many of us give up the moment we falter in the slightest? My goals were abundant, not epic in anyway but plentiful. A set of goals set for individualized purpose and growth. A set of tools set before me, desperate to be picked up and used. The first, the choice to reflect and review as life progresses – resetting as frequently as I must. Honing my skills in the fire of life.
(In View – Proclamation & Review – January 2, 2018)
‘So, this is me setting intentions and making proclamations over my life. I will be setting and resetting all year long. The fact is, every time I set goals, I falter, fail, and fall flat on my face…. But, when I allow myself to reset, and refocus, I open myself up to the progress and potential of the beauty that is growing in God. When I’m ‘going through,’ I almost never see it happening, but when I pause and review, I see every moment. I see the gifts of grace and timing. I feel the awe of quiet contemplation and unanswered prayers.’
Join me while I review the month of January, starting with a reflection on my word of the year.
Word for the year: Grace
Where do I begin with this one? I’ll be honest, grace was not of my choosing, it was a word placed in my heart when I least expected it. Grace by definition, is elegance of movement (or how one ‘carries’ themselves). Though this is important, the grace I speak of is the grace given us by God. The type of grace that allows for consistent love and forgiveness. A grace that is truly inexplicable. To me, grace embodies all that life is about. We’re all seeking purpose, but most are seeking in the darkness and corruption of the flesh – the world! Grace is the full body acceptance of everyone. Grace is Love.
I made a statement to my friend last night after church, a statement that honestly surprised me. I was on some philosophical, theological train ride when I looked at her and said, ‘Life is love, there is nothing else. If we would simply love, there would be no need for forgiveness.’ Why? Because there’d be nothing to forgive. Love allows for the understanding that ‘we all have a story,’ and that that story is ever flowing and evolving. No one can ever know or understand another’s story, but you can accept in love that ‘it doesn’t matter.’
Must we know the dark and intrepid secrets of a person’s life before we can decide if their behavior is acceptable or not. Are we a court of law, allowing for extenuating circumstances? Reading all of the evidence – a box full of exhibits packed away in the dark recesses of our judgmental minds. ‘Throw it all away!’ All of it! Your preconceived notions, your secret files and profiles, your passive judgment – snatch it up, throw it in the furnace and BURN IT ALL!!! While you’re at it – turn off your phone, turn off the news, and connect to LIFE!
I can feel the shift, I can see the beautiful loving child within who has always loved without judgment. Sadly, she’s been shrouded in jaded emotions of fear and rejection. Decades of corruption burying her sweet and honest heart – her ability to love without condition. But there she is, sitting right next to me, smiling at a reminiscent spark, a reminder that life is not meant to be as complicated as we make it.
I choose to embrace love in its purest form. I choose to look at every person and see the best in them. To me love is the understanding that each of us are ‘doing the best we can, with the knowledge at hand, at any given moment and in any given situation.’ A person’s best is ‘relative to their knowledge and experience as well as their willingness or ability to access said knowledge. It’s so easy to look at a person and assume they should ‘know better by now,’ but who are we to judge? Do we not stumble and falter in all we do? Are we not as imperfect as they come? Who are we to decide the measurement of a person’s best. My best is not your best, and our best will change moment to moment and season to season. Don’t full yourself!
Why is it so hard for us, as a culture, to accept that we are all flawed, and we always will be? Why must we point it all out, debate it, and go to war over it? Why must we consume our every waking hour with what’s wrong? A generation losing sleep over the constant chatter of the left and the right. A culture of people losing sight of what we’re here to do. Giant blisters of anger seething through the feed of social media. Everyone wanting to be heard – desperate to be understood. A generation crying out for love but unwilling to love in return. Honest love – Godly love, not narcissistic 2010’s love. Stop fighting. Stop trying to change everyone and everything. Change yourself and peace and love will follow.
Photo by Cristina Gottardi