I have seen so many people lately talking about their word of the year. The word that they want to focus on in 2019. The word that may change them, break them down, or lift them up. Truthfully, I have never done this. Picked just one word I mean. I guess I have often times felt that there was no way one word could truly define my year. How could I place all of my heart on just one word? How could I select just one word to live by, think about, or pray over? Well, after 2018, I think I understand.
This past year was one of rebuilding. Actually, the past few years were. There have been times where I felt extremely broken, and others when I was dancing praises. Truthfully, it was the in between times that were the most difficult. When things seemed to be going my way, I rode that gravy train with a smile on my face. And when things were not so grand, it was easy to fall to my knees. But it was those in between days where I felt lost, confused even. I was so wrapped up in the things, and the hustle, that instead of becoming dependent on my heavenly father, I was becoming (heavily) dependent on myself. Which, let’s be real…I can only carry the weight for so long. I quickly became worn down, tired, and very weak. My constant desire to please everyone was unfulfillable, which made me even more upset. My anxiety levels rose because I was not crossing things off my to-do list like I thought I should be. This endless list of tasks was growing by the minute and my heart just could not take it. Which is when I heard the word GRACE.
G R A C E
That was it. What I needed. To give myself a little grace. And y’all, this was (and is) not easy for me. I have talked about it several times throughout the past year, but I am EXTREMELY hard on myself. When I feel like I have failed, I have this little voice in my head that never sleeps. It rattles on, constant blows to my heart, “I knew you couldn’t do it.” “You are worthless.” “You will never measure up.” And the sad thing is, I start to believe it. And it wears on me…in all aspects of my life. My negativity cup runs over and even begins to show in my day-to-day routine. My smile fades, and I become weary. While I fight the voices in my head, I push myself harder, becoming even more physically weak/tired. In the sense of this platform, I became so inundated with social media that my head was constantly in my phone, missing out on the things around me. But why? Because I needed to be better. Or so I thought.
What is so funny about this though is that NO ONE around me told me that I was failing. Not one person sat me down and said, “Taylor, do better.” It was all in my head. But I had convinced myself of this failure. Convinced myself that if I stopped, things would fall apart. Well, I finally hit my breaking point.
The night before I left for New York last month, it happened. My sweet husband was trying to take me on a date before I left town. And I wanted to go of course. However, I also wanted to finish packing, finish a blog post, and finish ‘The Graceful Guide’ at the same time. (You can probably see where this is headed.) We could not decide where to eat at first, but eventually came to a decision. Or so I thought. He left the table to get ready, and I kept at it. After a few minutes, he returned looking super spiffy in his jeans and sport coat, ready to take me out for a NICE steak dinner. And all I could do was cry. I thought we had settled on a quick meal at our local Mexican spot…so the panic set in. My heart began to race and I tried to type faster, get one more email out. When he heard the tension in my voice, he became confused (and had every right to be) which made me think he was upset. I started to shake a little…then the tears came. Uncontrollably, out of nowhere. WATER WORKS. And y’all, I do not like it when people see me cry. Which made it worse. The tears came more rapidly and the only thing I could do was throw my face into my hands and sob. It was then that Jon Luke (very calmly) wrapped his arms around me and held me. And in just a few words helped me to breathe. “Taylor, it is okay.” Just like that. It was all I needed to hear. That my not being able to pull myself together for dinner was okay. That not having all of my emails answered was okay. That my new project (“The Graceful Guide”) was going to be okay. That I did not have to post to Instagram that night and it was okay. That I did not have to have everything together…and it was OKAY. He was extending that GRACE I needed. I just needed to be able to extend it to myself.
So fast forward to now. 2019. It is a new year. (Thank goodness.) And the perfect time for me to truly meditate on this word. To think about it. Pray over it. And constantly ask for help in one of the things I find most difficult…not doing it all. And as I said before about last year, there were tough times where I found myself on my knees. But why only then? Why was it only in the times when I felt completely defeated that I felt the need to ask for help? Shouldn’t that be my constant response? To go to my heavenly father and PRAISE HIM for the wonderful days, LISTEN TO HIM during the in between when he is teaching me, and THANK HIM for carrying me through the worst? That is where I feel I can truly understand what that GRACE is. If He can love me through all of my mess and at the end of the day still say, “Daughter, you are loved,” then what am I really doing?
So with all of that being said, you guessed it, GRACE is my word for 2019. Remembering to extend myself GRACE when I feel overwhelmed. Extending GRACE to others when I feel let down. And accepting the GRACE from my heavenly father because I am in no way perfect. And that my friends is so good to hear.
“Grace” temporary tattoo from Words for a Season.