The new year is underway and I have already begun to see a theme pattern that has begun to take shape. The topics that have been coming up and seem to have a common thread are: second chances, grace, brokenness, compassion, releasing perfection, love, and vulnerability. My word for the year is “brave” so I can see how these are all weaving together in my story.
God has been reiterating to me that he can bring good from anything and everything that happens. I am well aware of one of my favorite verses that says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28, NIV).
It has been head knowledge for many years and I have seen it in action in parts of my own past. I think God wants it to root even deeper into my soul so that I believe that he really does mean EVERYTHING, every part of my life including my weaknesses and failures. Especially my weakness and failure.
I can recount stories of being vulnerable, admitting my weaknesses, and the good that came from it. My confession gave others courage to do the same. This often leads to the reminder that I am not the only imperfect person in the world. It provides opportunities for me to both extend and receive grace.
Of course, I also have accounts of the opposite experience where my vulnerability was met with silence or a lack of reciprocated transparency. Instead of grace, I received rejection and shame. God, in his love and grace, met me in these moments and kept me from becoming closed off and never trying again.
I have been growing in the realization that my ability to extend grace and compassion to others is somewhat connected to my ability to extend those things to myself. I am my harshest critic. I have noticed the negative self-talk in my head and know that it’s a battle that must be fought. The apostle Paul reminds us to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5, NIV). One way for me to do that is to replace the negative, and probably inaccurate, thoughts with the truth about who I am which is found in God’s word.
I have intentioned to memorize three verses to help me with my quest to be brave this year. Two are about not fearing and the other involves choosing to please God over people. It would probably benefit me to also learn verses that remind me of the love God has for me and the worth and purpose I have through Christ. Verses about grace are also being added to the list.
These first few weeks of the year have developed an excitement and anticipation for what the year will bring. The recurring topics make it seem like there could be some not-so-pleasant stuff in the future, but having a confidence that God is with me and nothing will happen to me that he cannot bring good from gives me hope that I can weather any storm and will grow closer to God through whatever experiences come my way.