Can I be honest and tell you that it took me a few days (4, to be exact) before finding a phrase to focus on this year? It was hard, you guys. I guess I need to back up a bit and do a little explaining. See, in the almost four years that I’ve had this blog I’ve never written about New Year’s goals or resolutions, focus words or phrases to live by. It’s not that I haven’t had any of those things, it’s just that they haven’t been public knowledge. It has also been me not wanting to commit to picking a word and applying it to my everyday life. I’m just keeping it real.
This year, after a lot of consideration and prayer, I felt like I needed to write my phrase down and verbalize it, if you will. What better way to have accountability than putting it on the internet, right? Taking this step is definitely going out of my comfort zone, which is something I’d love to keep working on doing more of.
Fittingly, the phrase I chose for this year is GROW IN GRACE. Specifically, the word ‘grow’ is defined in the dictionary as follows: to become larger, to increase in size, amount, etc., to become better or improved in some way, to become more developed, mature, etc. and the word ‘grace’ is defined as the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.[emphasis mine]
I was inspired by this devotional below and from the moment I read it, I knew that this phrase was going to be my focus for this year. I’ll share an excerpt here of what I read, so you have a better idea of what I mean.
Charles Spurgeon, Morning & Evening
“Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” — 2 Peter 3:18
Grow in grace – not in one grace only, but in all grace. Grow in that root-grace, faith. Believe the promises more firmly than you have done. Let faith increase in fullness, constancy, simplicity. Grow also in love. Ask that your love may become extended, more intense, more practical, influencing every thought, word, and deed. Grow likewise in humility. Seek to lie very low and know more of your own nothingness. As you grow downward in humility, seek also to grow upward – having nearer approaches to God in prayer and more intimate fellowship with Jesus. If you know the love of Jesus as the hart pants for the water-brooks, so will you pant after deeper draughts of His love. If you do not desire to know Him better, the you love Him not, for love always cries “Nearer, nearer.” An increase of love to Jesus and a more perfect apprehension of His love to us is one of the best tests of growth in grace.
My focus for this year is to live more intentionally and it starts with growing in grace. Right now, I don’t know how that is going to look but I know where to start, and that’s something. Like Spurgeon wrote, grace isn’t just the gift we receive from God but also includes faith, love and humility. Increasing all these things and decreasing my selfish nature, that’s the tough part. Tough is good, though.
Last week, I mentioned how this year I want to be a wise steward of time. Time is the foundation of life, isn’t it? I mean, our lives revolve around alarm clocks, appointments and what’s next. But life is only as busy as we make it and that’s the honest to goodness truth. The excuses I often use of “not having enough time” or “I’m just too busy right now” are merely a product of choosing to do the easier thing. If I want to grow in grace, then I need to make time to do just that. Practically, this means spending more time reading Scripture instead of choosing to read blogs or browse Instagram. (Yes. I’m calling myself out here.) It means spending those extra minutes before bed in prayer, rather than watching television or even reading a book. That’s how I can start growing my faith. In order to grow in love, it means greeting my husband with a hug when he gets home from work even if the baby has been fussing all day. It means selflessly sacrificing and serving and giving of myself even more, to everyone I love. Finally, growing in humility…you guys? This is the toughest one yet. It means constantly putting others before me, without resentment or expectations of getting anything in return. It means not taking credit for anything I accomplish and giving all the credit to Jesus. After all, it’s all about Him isn’t it?
I pray that this year (and the rest of my life, really), I can learn what it’s really like to grow in grace and apply it to every aspect of my life. I’m really excited about this and can’t wait to see what God is going to teach me!
p.s. I’m also planning to periodically share about this throughout the year, which is super out-of-my-comfort-zone exciting!