|Sunrise in South Carolina|
Each year, instead of making resolutions, I pray for the Lord to show me a special word on which to focus. For 2012, it was, fear not. (Yes, I know that's actually two words, but that fits what the Lord was "telling" me better than the word, courage.) Because of focusing on that one word, I made some special friendships in the writing world, attended a writers conference, got a wonderful mentor (Beth Vogt - squee!) and signed with Upon The Rock Speaker's Bureau. I never would have been able to do all that if I had not been focusing on opportunities to step out of my comfort zone.
This year, my word is, grace. The definition of grace is unwarranted (or unearned favor). For example, Jesus' mother, Mary, was in a state of grace when she was chosen to give birth to Him. She did nothing to earn that honor (although at the time, it probably felt more like a disgrace in the eyes of the world). The Lord chose Mary for His own reasons -- reasons we cannot understand on this side of Heaven.
Romans 8:1 talks about the grace we receive because we belong to Christ Jesus. Just like Mary, we did nothing to earn it -- we were chosen by Him for His own reasons. But because we are His, we are not condemned for our sin. By focusing on grace, I hope to remember that it's not up to me to judge God's people.
But I also want to learn to extend God's grace to myself. In 2 Corinthians 12:9, Paul -- the epistle writer, missionary, and theologian -- reminds us that he prayed for his own physical disability to be taken away. The third time he prayed about it, God answered him by saying, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
In that, God tells Paul that being chosen by Him is enough. Paul had great gifts, but because of his disability, God received the glory for Paul's ministry -- as it should be.
I pray that 2013 will be a wonderful year for each of you -- a year where your own life will glorify God as never before.
Do you have a word for 2013? Please share it with me in the comments.