Thank you to my guest writer, Jamie Jo. She has been a steadfast dear friend that came into my life most unexpectedly. She has a unique way of being authentic and viewing life realistically yet hopeful. As we end 2020, may these words bring encouragement moving into a new year. ~ Kristie
As I look forward to 2021, I am filled with hope because of the two “G’s” I am bringing with me from 2020 into the New Year and I think they are two “G’s” that we all can agree on: GRACE and GRATITUDE.
I want GRACE to play a major role in my life in the new year!
Two women who I really admired while they were alive were my Gran’ma and my Aunt Mev and one of the things that I consistently say about both of them is that they were true ladies, they carried themselves with such grace. I want to be remembered as someone who was graceful. And the more I think about being graceful, the more I realize that it isn’t just the lady-like way in which you carry yourself, but it is actually what your life begins to look like on the outside when you are grace-filled on the inside.
I think to be grace-filled, we first have to be eager to give ourselves grace. As women, we are typically so hard on ourselves. We silently cut ourselves down when we look in the mirror or when we see another woman who seems to have it all together or when we look at our to do list that has too many things not checked off. . . or. . . or. . . or. . . . the list of things that we do not give ourselves grace for is endless. Why are we so quick to cut ourselves down when we are actually killing it in so many areas of our lives?
And once we are able to give ourselves the grace we deserve, we are able to give others grace. This year, especially, I have learned to give grace through simply giving others the benefit of the doubt. I know how exhausted and overwhelmed I have been this year and I give grace knowing that I am not alone in these feelings. I know that most of the time I am doing the best that I can and sometimes I react poorly, so I have to give others grace when they do the same. That is an obvious way that I can be grace-filled.
Each year I choose a word to focus on throughout the year and for 2021, I am focusing on GRATITUDE.
I have learned that gratitude can completely change your perspective in a genuine way. I think that there is a difference between gratitude and seeing the silver lining. With the later, one can become Pollyana-ish and be naïve and often lack empathy because it is coming from a shallow place that doesn’t understand the pain of the world. But I think that having a heart of gratitude comes from a deeper place that sees the pain and the ugly and the difficult and makes a conscious choice to find something to be grateful for each day. I tell my kids that when it all seems to be falling apart (and believe me, we have seen it all fall apart in the last three years), we have to be grateful for something regardless of how little that something is. I know that there have been days when I can only seem to be grateful for the color green (for me, green demonstrates God’s love for us because of His creativity in all of the different shades of green He so generously gives nature). And that’s okay (giving myself grace here) to only be thankful for green some days.
When I get into the habit of gratitude, I find that my perspective naturally shifts to seeing the positive first or to seeing the positive under the negative at least. And with a heart of gratefulness, I can be more empathetic with others because my heart sits in a tender spot as I live (sometimes endure) life day to day.
I feel like having a heart of gratitude gives me the ability to be more graceful with myself and with others, even in a pandemic, even in a world filled with division and even when my life is seeming to fall apart.