2017 was such a powerful year for me and it will forever be remembered as the year I sought wisdom and received revelation. I never would have suspected that digging under the surface of my soul would unveil some pretty hefty things along with some treasure that was buried deep.

About a month before the year ended, some of the big questions I was challenging God to answer had finally begun to make sense. Before I knew it, peace and closure were established in my life. Around the same time God’s answers were revealed, my 2018 word of focus came to light – G R A C E.

In the year 2018, I will intentionally be seeking grace.

When I began Seeking Grace & Gratitude in February 2015 my purpose was to write, reflect and encourage myself and others to receive and accept God’s grace daily while actively expressing gratitude for each day we are gifted [to be alive]. Flash forward two years later and while on my quest for wisdom I had begun to finally start shedding the layers of deep, dark perfectionism that had been plaguing me for my entire life. It was gradual at first, but towards the end of 2017 I couldn’t even recognize myself for the amount of progress I had made exceeded any expectation I had set. Realizing through wisdom that perfectionism was my biggest fallen attribute, I was intentional in my pursuit of recovery. Which is why I no longer call myself a perfectionist but rather a recovering perfectionist.

Learning this about myself and working on it throughout my year of seeking wisdom has led me to this current year of seeking grace. As I mentioned above, this blog began as a way to encourage myself and others to receive and accept God’s gift of grace. It still and always will be about that but for me personally in my walk with the Lord, I am focusing on a different form of grace in 2018 – the art of extending grace to others as well as to myself.

As a recovering perfectionist, this is no easy feat. Perhaps it is easier to extend grace to others when acknowledging God’s unending grace granted to us, however, I believe it is incredibly difficult to offer that same grace to our own broken self.

For example, I have come to learn a lot about my past and my upbringing after purposefully asking the Lord for the wisdom to understand things I simply could never understand. As a result, I am able to offer grace more freely to others because I realize all people are sinful and will always make mistakes, myself included. To me, this is almost a no-brainer – of course I should extend grace regardless of circumstance because I receive grace from my Father daily (and sometimes several times throughout the day!) and He always grants it to me without question or judgment.

But do I allow myself the grace to mess up and not be perfect? To not do it all or have it all together? To know when to take a break to rest or be still or even to throw in the towel and quit?

The truth is, a year ago I would have said “absolutely not” but right now in this moment my response is “not as often as I’d like.”

I want to seek the kind of grace that will grant my recovering perfectionist self the opportunity to say, “I can’t” or “It’s too much for me right now,” or plainly, “no.”

We live in a world full of constant demands and endless obligations that have us running wild and ultimately, weary. There is power in saying “no” to the things we don’t want or need to do. There is strength developed when we recognize that we cannot do it all, have it all, or be it all to everyone.

This is the type of grace that I hope to seek and gift to myself in 2018. With my fourth child expected to arrive in early May, I find it is no coincidence that God put this meaning of “grace” on my heart. Especially after finishing an enlightening year of seeking wisdom, it makes perfect sense to me that He would lead me to seek grace during a year that will bring a lot of busy.

Because friends, we simply cannot do everything or be everything to everyone. Likewise, we can’t say “yes” to every event, activity or to-do that comes our way. We shouldn’t have to feel like we have to go on social media, post something, “like” something, or comment on something. We shouldn’t feel like the only way we can be hospitable and open up our house to others is when our house is picture-perfect, clean and tidy, or Pinterest-worthy. We shouldn’t ever feel obligated to say “yes” to every social event that comes our way when we are already drowning in a sea of overwhelming schedules that result in an underwhelmed soul.

Trust me, I have been there and I have failed. Maybe not in the sense of failing the task at hand but I certainly have failed by not allowing my body the rest it needs to function and thrive. As well, I have failed in prioritizing the things that mean the most to me – God, family and friends – all for the sake of having a clean house, throwing a successful dinner party or participating in a physical activity or social event when I should have been tending to my children or other more important responsibilities.

We’re almost one month into the new year and I have already taken a handful of opportunities to give myself grace. They may have been baby steps but they were also productive progress towards the end goal of letting go and letting God. I am so grateful for the wisdom God has given me to know and understand myself better and on such a deeper level, but I am also very thankful for the people I do life with. As I will continue to pray for the ability to extend and receive grace to both myself and others, I want to also pray for those who may be on the receiving end of my grace quest. May they have the heart to recognize when my soul needs a rest or when my body is screaming “no” even though my head may be nodding “yes.”

We are all in this life together and together we can be pillars of grace in a world of jacked-up priorities and jammed-packed schedules. We can be the change our world desires, or at least, we can change ourselves by allowing God’s grace to overflow into every corner of our life.

“But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” ~ Ephesians 4:7 (ESV)

“May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” ~ 2 Peter 1:2 (ESV)

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