A few years ago, I ran into the idea of picking a word to define my hopes, dreams, and goals for the year. The word is a picture of where I would like to be in 365ish days.  Sometimes it’s an action I want to take. Sometimes it’s a quality I want to embody. Sometimes it’s a goal I want to work toward. Whatever it is, it usually means I have some work to do.

This past weekend, some of my coworkers and I took 24 hours away from the frantic pace of ministry to seek God before starting in on a new year.  We spent time in corporate prayer, in solitude and silence, and in listening.  (For the record, I’ve decided this really needs to be an annual thing…)

I found this little chapel tucked away in the corner of the retreat center. The colors and the quiet took my breath away.

I found this little chapel tucked away in the corner of the retreat center. The colors and the quiet took my breath away.

Part of the weekend involved sitting quietly with God and asking Him what HE wants for us this year.  After a while, we came back together as a group and shared with each other our Word for 2015.

As someone who spends most of her time and energy trying to prove her worth, earn her place and just generally living the workaholic lifestyle (am I alone here? Yeah, didn’t think so.), the word God picked out for me was a little confusing.  My first thought was, “Well, sure, but how do I do that?” My second thought was, “But wait, that’s not measurable! How will I know I’ve succeeded?

God interrupted my third thought with a thought of His own: “That, my dear, overachieving child, is the point.

Oh.

Got it.

I think.

You see, for the first time since I started this annual exercise, the word God gave me was not a word I could act on, quantify, or strive for.  This year, there will be no doing, only being.  What’s my word?

Grace.

The sun shining against the windows created the most beautiful abstract art I've ever seen.

The sun shining against the windows created the most beautiful abstract art I’ve ever seen.

For someone who constantly thinks she needs to earn and prove and strive and convince, grace is confounding.  Grace can not be earned. Grace can not be taken ahold of. Grace can not be checked off of a list.

Grace is freely given from a Father who loves us more than we can even begin to imagine. Grace is poured out on us in such quantity that no human soul can contain it.

And grace, for people like me, is hard to accept.

But this year, I am asking my Father to help me understand how much I’m loved and treasured by Him, and to give me the will, the humility and the wisdom to accept the gift He has been holding out to me since before I was born. Because at the end of the year, I want to be someone who not only accepts God’s grace toward me, but who is fluent in extending His grace to myself, and to others.

There’s really no way to chart that. No graph can adequately depict when one has learned to live under grace.

And that, dear overachiever, is the point.

What’s your word this year? What challenges and opportunities does your word create for you?

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