The pretty Native American girl stared back at me from high on my sister’s bedroom wall, the feathers in her headdress tightly stitched with embroidery floss. Tiny Xs of thread formed her little smile. Smug, I thought. My insides twisted unpleasantly.
Sarah meant “Princess.” Of course. My perfect older sister with the pretty princess name. Anna felt so plain, and the generic child clutching a blanket stitched on my own wall seemed to match my name’s ordinariness. “One of Grace,” my wall hanging read. It was so simple, so old fashioned and boring. I felt anything but graceful with my knobby knees and double-jointed elbows. I would never be a cheerleader or ballerina. Jealousy clutched at my heart.
I was clearly an Enneagram 4 even as a child.
* * *
Time for our yearly action plans at work. Cue all the eye rolling. It was a busy season, with deadlines looming and projects overwhelming. Sunday rolls around every week and if I don’t get my work done, things fall apart. Just do my job – that’s action plan enough for 2011, I thought. I stared at the bright empty form on the screen, little cursor blinking back at me. Just get it done.
My fingers flew on the keyboard then, quick ideas and requisite industry jargon filling the pages. The last question halted me. A personal tag line for my life the next year? I don’t even know. I sat and thought for a few moments. To experience and extend grace. It sounded nice. I typed it out, emailed the form to HR, added the phrase to the About page on my blog and didn’t give it a second thought.
* * *
The One Word 365 project has always called to me. In 2012 and 2013 I considered joining, but never did. But for 2014, I’m all in.
The best thing about One Word is that there are no rules. One of the lovelies behind the project did lay out some personal guidelines for choosing her own word, though, and I found them helpful as I thought through my word choice. The word should promote growth and courage. It shouldn’t be too narrow, should be able to be interpreted in a variety of ways. The word has to resonate.
So in 2014, I’m reclaiming grace.
My parents gave me the name Anna, and spoke truth into my life with it. One of Grace. This year, I’m choosing to believe that it’s not old fashioned or boring, or just a quick phrase to finish a project. This year, I’m reclaiming grace for my life in ways big and small. I’m choosing to believe that grace can really make a difference.
May grace be the lens through which I see the world. May grace be the strength behind my love. May I really learn to let grace transform my life. Yes and amen.