Grace and Gratitude - Words for 2021

What a whirlwind year 2020 has been with COVID, social unrest, racism, a polarizing election and many other things topping headlines. I’m praying 2021 is a much kinder and graceful year. I’m also praying for people to focus on gratitude and grace this year.

There has been a tradition over the last few years on the choosing a word for the year at the beginning of the year to shape the focus for the year. This is sometimes suggested to do in lieu of New Years resolutions. Statistics show that most resolutions don’t stick with people more than a couple of months. Choosing a word to focus on is a different type of activity to provide a foundation to build on in everything you do.

Usually I choose one word for the focus for the year. The past three years the words have been accelerate, excellence and easy. The intention behind “Accelerate” was to accelerate or move all my activity forward in an accelerated manner. The word “Excellence” was an intention on how I would do everything in the year, focusing on excellence like the Air Force core value of “Excellence in all we do.” The word I chose for 2020 was “Easy” which I intended to have things flow with ease. Despite the challenges of 2020 there were many things that flowed with ease for me even though we were in difficult times.

This year I have chosen two words for the year, which I think are appropriate to go hand in hand together. The word or words usually come to me in what I call the whisper of the Holy Spirit and I know without a doubt that is the word (or in this case words) to focus on for the year. This years words are “Grace and Gratitude.” I feel like for this year I can’t have one without the other.

Grace means courteous goodwill, elegance, finesse, politeness, dignity and honor. Grace is something that I need to at times work on having. My good friend, entrepreneur and fellow veteran Larry Broughton has a foundational principle that the people in his company live by; “offer grace, patience and forgiveness freely and often. “

Having and operating by grace goes along with the sign hanging above my desk that says “Be Kind.” My Pastor, Rick Warren of Saddleback Church says when you are working with people you have to remember the term “Extra Grace Required.”

Psalm 103:8 says "The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. " If that's how God is to me, then I need to follow that example and be that way to others. 

For 2021 I’m focusing on operating my life from a position of grace and kindness and offering grace, patience and forgiveness freely and often. I will also remember that extra grace is required when dealing with people and keep my focus on those things throughout the year.

The other word I’m including this year is gratitude. Gratitude means the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

We hear a lot about gratitude and being grateful but many times take it for granted or don’t put a lot of thought into what we are really grateful for.

Gratitude and anxiety cant live in the same place. When you focus on what you are grateful for, really grateful for, it makes the difficulties seem smaller.

I pray daily and thank God for many things. Keeping my focus on gratitude reduces complaining, anxiety, depression and negativity. Having been in many parts of the world and witnessing extreme poverty and working with women in Kenya who are in extreme poverty makes me focus on gratitude all the more.

I start with being grateful for the basics; food, clothing and shelter. There are many who don’t have that especially in Southern California. The homeless population in Los Angeles County has grown significantly during COVID.   Being genuinely grateful for those things among others keeps the focus off of self and on what I can do for others.

With those words for this year we will be sharing our Grace and Gratitude collection so you can focus on those thing in your life too.

What is your word for this year? Feel free to post it in the comments and what it means to you for the coming year. Also check out the previous blog post from the Swahili Sunday show where I discuss this topic in detail.  

In Grace and Gratitude with much Nakupenda for a prosperous 2021


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