A Gracious Heart, A Lost Art - Reading List

A Gracious Heart, A Lost Art

Monday, January 04, 2016

A Gracious Heart

There is no doubt in my mind that I am far from a parenting expert.  I have only been a mother for a meager seven years and only have three kids, however there are some realities that had escaped me before entering this phase of my life. Once I had a responsibility to raise children, I started to analyze characteristics and traits that I admired in others - characteristics and traits I would want others to see in my kids.

For the first few years of parenthood I was sure I could instill great manners in my children and raise kids that others would respect.  Then slowly I started to realize the only chance I had at raising kids who would impact society positively was to model the characteristics and traits for them.

Who would be that model?  That was the question that popped up again and again over the last few years.

The truth is the models my kids have during the first few years of their lives consist of me and my husband and the people we spend our time with.

That model starts with me as their mom.  And that was when I knew I had to cultivate said traits and characteristics in myself, and pray that my kids would aspire to reflect it.

The problem?  I am not the best role model on the traits I wanted my kids to display.

For the past few years I've been struggling with the crazy that comes with three young kids, pregnancies and life.  Which is why I focused on cultivating Balance in my life. I wanted my kids to know that we had to pick our priorities and fight to keep them. While I am not an expert by any means, I have decided it is time to work on another characteristic in this journey.

Word of the Year 2016

For 2016, I am striving to cultivate a gracious attitude, spirit and heart.

What it is

Gracious is an adjective that is often synonymous with kindness.  Yet it is so much more: the ability to be thankful because you know you have more than you deserve; a generous spirit that wants to give to others since you've been given much.  

A gracious person desires to say the right things at the right times in order to build other people up. Gracious people are welcoming hosts and fair towards all people no matter the socio-economic, cultural, professional, or educational status of others.

Steps to get there

To be honest, I am not sure how to cultivate an honest gracious attitude.  But I'm going to try these three steps:
  1. Focus on what I have been blessed with, as my life is so full. Society might tell me I just need one more thing, but when I can be thankful for what I have joy tends to ride into my heart with that grateful thought. 
  2. Breathe more instead of rushing to the next step.  When I slow down, I can choose to respond with a gracious word, instead of react out of dashed expectations. 
  3. Allow a few verses to go deep into my heart so that the Spirit will fill me with peace and joy - hopefully a gracious heart will flow naturally.

Psalm 145:8

The End Goal

My hope for 2016 is that I can reflect the amazing Gracious actions of our Lord so that my children will want to reflect His graciousness as well.  I am not going to fool myself into thinking this is something I can accomplish in my own power. If that were the case I would have mastered this years ago!  

No, I know that this change of heart will only happen if I daily allow the Spirit to renew me and fill me properly. So I will start with daily disciplines of searching out the True Light that will rejuvenate my heart and soul. 

Do you have a goal for 2016? A verse? A word?  I'd love to hear all about it!  

Marissa  at Reading List

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