Friday, January 3, 2014

One Word

Resolutions. Why do we persist in making them? I can't speak for anyone else, but honestly, don't we all fail for the most part? We make these wonderful, lofty goals with the best of intentions, and sometime between late January and early March, we've completely forgotten. Is it that we were too unrealistically ambitious? Too lazy to keep them? Forgetting the teeny tiny fact that reading our Bible for a whole hour each morning isn't even an option when there are little ones that wake up and for some strange reason, insist on having breakfast immediately;) ? Eating a pint of our favorite ice cream as we wrote down our resolution to not eat sugar anymore starting in the new year?

Do resolutions even matter? I think they do, in a way. Because as we so, it causes us to reflect upon our life, on the good, the bad and the ugly. It's a chance to look back over the past year and ponder the areas that need work, be it our health, our walk with the Lord, our relationships, our habits...anything! It keeps us from being stagnant year after year. Honestly, I think it's a dangerous thing to not take a personal inventory every once in awhile!

So. This year. I'm not making a detailed list that dooms me to failure (kudos, by the way, if you have ever managed to keep yours!) Instead, I'm choosing a word. One word that will inspire me this year. A word I want to stay focused on and really live out...


Seems like a pretty lame word huh? I know. I thought so too, at first. But there's so much more to this word, when you really think about it. I was inspired a few weeks ago by something I read, and I haven't quit thinking about it yet. To sum it up, a woman wrote her husband a letter, overwhelmed with all there was to do in life. She wrote a list of things, ranging from packing him nutritious lunches to having people over for dinner more often to having a clean house, and everything in between, and asked him which ones were most important to him, and if he could rank them in order of importance. She just wanted to make sure she could get to the ones that were most important to him, in order to please him. His response (in the sweetest letter ever!): 'This is very nice of you, but honestly? None of this matters to me. I appreciate all of it, but I would rather you do nothing on that list and just be nice when I come home. I'll take a nice, loving, not-stressed-out and exhausted wife over all the other stuff. Do what you need to do, but more than anything on the list, I just want a nice wife!
This just hit me hard. I realized I've been doing what I'm willing to bet many women do in the first years of their marriage. Even though I guarantee that that would have been my husband's exact same response, I look back over our three-and-a-half years together and realize, I am that wife who wrote the letter! I have put so many expectations on myself that he doesn't expect at all! And as a result, there are many times that I'm not exactly...nice. Simply put.

I do do do do do do do and feel guilty if I don't accomplish one of my self imposed tasks, thus making me tired, and occasionally cranky because I'm tired/stressed. Plus, when he gets home, he just wants to see me, but sometimes I give a quick kiss and jump back in to whatever 'thing' I'm busy working on. I give my best self to the girls and chores and cooking and everything else, and don't have much left when he gets home. In the words of the woman who wrote the letter to her husband, "He wants a girlfriend, not a maid." What a statement to think about! And how silly I can be sometimes!

Having a perfect house and perfect meals and perfect blah blah blah at the expense 
of being nice is stupid. 

As I thought about how very boring it is to have "nice" be my word for the year, I just couldn't seem to get it out of my mind. And I started to think of what other characteristics might make a person "nice." These are just a few that came to mind...JOY. PATIENCE. GENTLENESS. SELF-CONTROL. I realized that nice is a word that describes someone who is full of the fruit of the Spirit. And I thought about how I wish, oh how I wish, that I saw more fruit in my own life! And then I thought of the conversation I had late into the night with my dear cousin last night, about GRACE. And how when we have a good day where we seem to get it just right, we should simply thank God for helping us and giving us the grace necessary to do some things right. And when we have a rotten day and we are crabby and impatient and short-tempered...instead of beating ourselves up and dwelling on it, simply repent, and thank God for his grace to give us another chance, a new day with new mercies.

My mind is full, mostly because of really pondering grace and it's implications, and realizing that in my life here on earth, I will never truly understand grace to it's fullest. And because I am excited for a new year and new mercies each morning, when I fail to be nice or when I'm super nice...His grace covers all of it, and thank goodness because Lord knows, I will have not-so-nice days. BUT, I am confident in this: That He who began a good work in me will carry it out to completion until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6). And the more I seek after Him, the more He will sanctify me, and nice won't take much effort. Even though it seems like such a slow process, He is teaching me all the way, and for that I'm thankful.

Do you have a word that's your inspiration? Do share! 

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