Rhythms in life feel familiar and welcomed. Newness awaits. 2017 was the year of Wonder(Full). It was intended to be full of wonder, full of busyness, and wonderful. And it lived up to its name.
In 2017, I ran a marathon, got published, taught a course, completed a year of doctoral work, survived a hurricane, made new friends, saw many theater productions, laughed a lot, and served faithfully at work. It was a year of Wonder. I could share only my best moments, the highlights of 2017, and while they are wonderful, they wouldn’t be the whole story.
In 2017 I also had my heart broken, felt lonely, dealt with disappointments, and injustices. I cried a lot and worked through more than one midlife crisis. I frequently wished for more wonder and less busyness in my life. I believe that all stages of life always contain both emotions: joy and sorrow. Triumph and disappointment. Progress and stagnancy.
As I choose sat down this weekend to look back on the year, timeline my life, and think of options for 2018, I wanted to capture that balance. I made a huge list of words — deep powerful, beautiful words. Some connoted fierceness and determination, others rest and peace and rest. I’ve decided on a phrase that attempts to capture both:
2018 – The Year of Grit with Grace
Grit means perseverance for long-term goals. Connotations include: endurance, fierceness, defiant optimism, courage, and strength of character. Grit captures all the hustle that this year will no doubt hold. I will be experiencing schedule changes at work, choosing and attacking doctoral projects, and balancing these and other obligations in all of life. It will take grit.
But it will also take grace. Grace with myself and grace with others. In the Christian tradition, grace means unmerited favor. It connotes elegance, attractiveness, favor, forgiveness, belonging, prayer, and blessing. I long for 2018 to contain grace as well as grit. To know that the tasks will be rapid and steep, but that there is purpose in the sanctification and refinement. I believe 2018 will be a year of refinement, defiant joy, and purpose. I have chosen I Peter 2:6-9 as the verse to support the Year of Grit with Grace. It reads:
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Running with endurance is grit. Walking when you need a respite is grace. Hustle, yes, but also be kind to yourself. Expect to succeed, and deal redemptively with failures when they inevitably come.
Happy New Year! Here’s to a balance of stick-to-it-iveness and self-care. That’s Grit with Grace.