August 26, 2020
What's Your Word

by Jody Bancroft
“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
Galatians 5: 22-23 (NIV)
Several years ago, when I was still working, I heard a motivational speaker that the school system brought in for the faculty and staff. My takeaway that afternoon was the idea of choosing ONE WORD as your focal point for the year. One word, in place of resolutions, would change your life! One word is easy to stick with, keeps you focused, and can be a representation of who you want to be. It can be flexible for whatever moment you are having. I was intrigued so I chose my first word: GRACE. I made it part of my password, it showed up on my Facebook page, I collected sayings on Pinterest, and I shared my word with folks. I liked leaning on the word, Grace, and it often reminded me to give grace to others or to myself when I might not have before. It seemed to show up unannounced in a variety of forms seemingly just when I needed it most.

At the end of that year, I struggled to pick another word. That was the idea, choosing a new word was part of the pattern of growth. Only, I did not want to leave grace behind. It was still teaching and supporting me. So, I held onto grace for another year.

The third year, for various reasons I choose a new word: BALANCE. The year after GRATITUDE was my word and the following year I chose JOY. I chose Joy as an homage to a dear friend who had recently succumbed to metastatic breast cancer. She spent her last years embracing every opportunity to be joyful and to do joyful things with the people in her life. She traveled as she could and welcomed visitors when she needed to. My last text from her told me to come see her in the hospital. She exuded joy even while dying and I will always be in awe of her.

That brings us to this year. 2020. Can you remember back to our mindsets in late December or early January? It is hard because that was a different life. I may have hesitated in choosing a word for the year, but this year a word chose me. For 2020, my word is BRAVE. Certainly, we have seen and applauded the bravery of the front liners, but we have all had to be brave with our world as we know it being turned upside down. We are grappling with a worldwide pandemic that brings constantly evolving information and horrific numbers, social unrest that impacts us all, a political divide deeper than I have ever known, economic uncertainty, and isolation from family and community. As we live in new ways in these challenging times, I have leaned into being brave as I wrestle with finding my way and my voice in all that is swirling around us.
Dear God, please give me the strength to endure this situation, and to find the blessings and lessons that it contains. Please give me the endurance to continue ahead. Please guide my thoughts, words, and actions, so that I walk your path of peace and love. Amen
Alpharetta Presbyterian Church
180 Academy Street, Alpharetta, GA 30009