Grace in All Places: Finding Focus in 2017
My 2016 held many unique experiences. I learned so much personally and professionally. I could probably say the same thing at the close of every year, but last year was different. I took on new roles I wasn’t sure about, created things I didn’t know I could create, spent time with people I love, and explored new destinations.
And I took on way too much.
I spread myself too thin; this is a recurring theme in my life as a people pleaser. All were things I deeply cared about, all things I want to continue doing, but it was too much at once. But the calm after the chaos left me wondering… what do I want to focus on? What’s the important stuff? What’s the work that can’t wait until later? There are seasons that ask and seasons that answer; 2016 was certainly a season of asking.
Professionally and technically speaking, I *feel* like I grew tremendously in the last year. Things that once felt just out of reach–designing a published book and customizing websites–are now familiar. Personally speaking, I learned and continue to learn how to better balance quiet time alone with fun experiences with family and friends. There were a lot of things I wanted to learn, and I did. There were a lot of things I needed to learn, whether I wanted to or not. You don’t know what you don’t know, ya know? And the question remains, how do those experiences come together moving forward? What should I focus on moving forward?
While I wait for the answers to life’s bigger questions, I’m choosing for focus on giving and accepting grace.
Grace for Others
I hold the people in my life to very high standards. Typically because they are exceptionally amazing, intelligent, and capable humans. But they are humans. They will err. We only know of others what they say and do, and I think very few people intentionally say or do things to make others miserable. With that in mind, I want to focus on leaving a little extra room for people to function, respond, or communicate in their own way. Accepting for who they are, not who we want or expect them to be. No one is all good or all bad, there are too many shades between the two. Jayce O’Neal’s quote sums this up perfectly, “We judge others by their actions and ourselves by our intentions. We need to offer grace to all, because we all need a little grace.” I need to write that quote on 1,000 sticky notes. Grace for others at work, at home, at church, on the phone, on the internet, in person, in line at the grocery store, in all places.
Grace for Me
If there is one person I hold to higher standards than others, it is myself. Dumb things I said, workouts I didn’t do, texts I forgot to respond to, and projects I didn’t give my full attention to bounce around in my brain. I beat myself up for weeks about minor, potentially unnoticed, offenses. Maybe you can relate? Some of those echoes are unnecessary baggage, others are motivation for growth. I want to let those past perceived mess-ups fade into the background so I can more clearly focus on the good stuff in 2017–the encouraging notes I will write, the long walks I will enjoy, the new projects I will tackle. Grace for me in my relationships, in my career, in my projects, in all places.
I don’t yet know how all my 2016 questions will be answered but, in the meantime, I’m going to focus on growth and grace while I wait. Grace for others, myself, at home, at work, at church, in all places.
What are you choosing to focus on in 2017? Anything you’re planning to leave behind?