I typically don’t set New Year’s resolutions because I’m not very good at keeping them… Last year I tried picking a single word to guide my year, but that didn’t work out either. Since both things were a bust, I didn’t plan on writing a post about the New Year.

But we are 12 days into 2017, and I can’t stop adding items to my “wants” list that I started in my note section towards the end of last year.

My “wants” are just random things I want to learn, or focus on; things I want to get better at, things I want to consistently pray for, or start thinking more about; and some are things that I want to slowly start to achieve…it might be by the end of the year, or maybe in my lifetime.

Since I have well over 20 “wants” so far, which can make for a lengthy post, I wasn’t going to share them. However, two of them have been at the forefront of my mind since January 1st and I think that’s a sign that I should share them.

In no particular order…

1. I want to listen well.

At first this “want” was to have deeper and more meaningful conversations with people, because I’m tired of all the small talk.

I want to really know people. I want to know their hopes and dreams, and how their heart is and how it works, and what makes them tick, and what is really going on in their head. I want deep and meaningful connections, because life is short and I think it’s an important part of living a well-lived life.

But, when I told some of my dearest, closest friends about this “want” they freaked out a little. And as they told me their concerns, which were totally valid, I noticed that I wasn’t listening. I was hearing them and understanding some of the words they were saying, but not all of it stuck. I was too busy trying to figure out what my next response would be.

See, I am a talker. It’s hard for me to admit that. I’ve always thought I was great listener, but I’ve realized that I listen to respond, not to just listen. And that’s a problem.

So my “want” changed. I want to be a listener.

I want to listen well because I know the importance of feeling like you’ve been heard and understood. When I leave conversations knowing my voice was heard, I feel empowered, inspired, and hopeful. I want people feeling the same way around me.

I want people to know that I see them and I hear them. I want people to leave our conversations knowing that they matter, what they feel matters, and what they have to say matters. I don’t think anything says “you matter” more than a listening ear.

I want my conversations to always be full of grace and seasoned with salt (Colossians 4:6).

2. I want the gospel of grace to really sink in.

I want to spend this year meditating on the word grace. I want grace to sink in to the core of who I am.

I want to center my focus on the gospel of grace – to know and understand that God loves me, more than I could ever imagine, and I am accepted by Him just as I am. 

I want to engrave on my heart that there is nothing I can do to make God love me more, and there is nothing I can do to make me a better child of God, I just am (Colossians 1:22).

I want to grasp and hold tight to the fact that God not only loves me as I am, but He knows me as I am. I do not need to try and mask my quirks or pretend to be something or someone I am not. I do not need to cover my own wounds or feel shame for my shortcomings (Romans 5:1-2; 6:15).

I can feel comfortable approaching God because His grace abounds me. My brokenness does not make me unacceptable to God, it does the opposite, it draws me to Him and allows for His grace to flow within the breaks (2 Corinthians 12:9).

“My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.” – Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel

Grace is what I want to focus on, to work on, to learn about, and what I consistently pray for.

I think when we are aware of the grace that has been given to us, it becomes easier to extend the same grace to others and to ourselves.

My list of “wants” grows almost every day and I’m sure it will continue to grow throughout the year. Some things are big, some small, some are super spiritual, and some aren’t. I want to drink more water, get better at eating healthy and saving money, and be more organized.

Whether we make resolutions or have a word to help guide us through 2017, I think the point of it all should be simple. To become better versions of who we already are.

What are some of your New Year’s resolutions or goals you set?

Do you have a word for 2017 or any “wants”?

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You have beautifully written some of my exact thoughts. When coming to grace, thank you for reminding and encouraging me of God’s love for me exactly where I am.