When they say the third time’s a charm, I think they’re right. Or at least they are if they’re talking about my word for the year experiment.
This is now my third year participating, and I think I finally got it right. My first two years I chose the words maintain and devotion… and while I found lessons in both of them, the fact that they were both action words tended to defeat the purpose.
Because in my life, action is often impossible. And not being able to fulfill those actions reminded me of all I have lost – all that I can no longer do.
But this year, I chose a word about who I want to be instead of what I want to do. I chose a word that would define my reactions, a word that would keep me focused on the way I want to treat myself and others.
And boy, has it been good for me.
As I went through a major overhaul with my medical care, which included a lot of stress and the potential for a great deal of fear, I often heard a voice in my head saying, “Be gracious.”
[Don’t worry, it was totally my own voice. I don’t actually hear random voices… much. :)]
In dealing with the frustrations, I chose to be gracious in my words [most of the time]. And in the process, I realized that my reaction totally directed how much fear or how much joy I invited into my life. When I was panicking, when I was upset or frustrated, fear crept in. When I was gracious and accepting, even when I didn’t like it, I was more peaceful and made more room for joy.
And just today I had another wake up call about being gracious – this time with myself. It’s been a rough week pain-wise, and my nurse and I had a good conversation today about being gracious with myself. The doctor called in a new medication, and my nurse and I talked about changing my dosing and medication schedule. While I need the pain relief, my concern was that the meds would make me more tired in the afternoon and I would get even less done during the day than I do now.
Her response: “Well, yeah.”
Sometimes I forget that just being up and doing the simple things in life is a full time job for me. I forget that managing this disease is my primary responsibility. I forget that it’s ok for me to be gracious with myself. To not think myself lazy when I don’t meet the imaginary goals I set. To not be frustrated with myself when I’m behind on emails or put a blog post up late.
This canvas was part of a belated Christmas gift from my friend, Jessica. She had bought it months in advance but had to mail it late since their plans of visiting at Christmas changed at the last minute. When I opened the box, I smiled because the verse was so perfect. She had bought it not knowing what my word for the year would be… and it’s a reminder for me that His grace is a daily gift to me. One I have not earned, but one that He offers regardless.
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you.” ~ Numbers 6:24-25
Yes, the word gracious has been very good for me this year. And it’s only February. I can only imagine how many more times this year something will pop up in my life to which I’ll be exasperated and respond, “Oh, good gracious!”
Only to then be reminded that being gracious really is good.