give yourself some grace. [5 min read]
Happy February! Where on earth did January go? Am I right??!
I wanted to revisit a topic today that really proved a point in my mind this past week. For those of you who aren't aware, I am taking a semester off from school, working for the city and trying to save up for school. Technically it's not the whole story, but that's a story in itself for another time.
So, taking time off school should be easy, no? Nerp. I wrote out a note to my roommate the other day...it said, "Amy, thank you for your grace, but this transition back to school has been much MUCH harder than I ever anticipated". For a number of reasons. I find the routine different, the amount of commitments different and working the same job during the summer is much different than it is during the school year. Life is just kind of different, you know? It's busy, commitments are flying every which way, and I just find myself getting tangled up in the mess that is unrefined. I can be pretty unkind to myself in a mental and emotional way.
In all of that, I had tea with a friend a few weeks back, and almost every time we speak, she mentions, asks or brings up, "hey Katie, give yourself some grace". She speaks it and my skin gets goosies ALL OVER because wow is that powerful. Give yourself some grace.
With that being said, I wrote on grace a while back, and wanted to revisit that post. I titled the post, "his grace is not for sale" and that stands true to this day...in fact it will forever! My friend says, "give yourself some grace", and I truly believe it means rooting ourselves in the idea that we are not perfect, nor could we ever be. I run around town, committing myself to a billion different things, work myself up, get stressed and then when the world comes crashing down I feel like a complete and utter mess. But then there's grace. It's like God is saying, "Katie, slow down, and give yourself a break...chill out! Why do you EVER think you can do everything**". In those moments He calls me back to Him.
Grace, as defined by the online dictionary that I conveniently just whipped up in Google Chrome, is “simple elegance or refinement of movement”. Soooooo I can see where people get confused. Grace is just being dainty and peaceful and basically a ballerina, right? Or… Grace is the name of the five year old girl down the street with blonde hair and the bedroom painted princess colours! I think we all have a preconception of what grace is and how it applies in our lives (and that is okay). The important part is to know what God gives with grace. There are many words in my vocabulary that I use, but don’t know the meaning of. Or use it to sound fancy and sophistically mature…like “context” or “reckon” or “fond” or in this case, “grace”. Sometimes I throw in mercy and salvation for good measure.
So as followers and believers of God, what is grace? Grace comes in many forms, but the way that I can most describe it is like this: You have an annoying coworker that will not stop complaining. You listen to them talk all day, and for some reason they just don’t get the message. You really want to tell them to shut up, or to stop talking, but you continue to listen, and continue to provide input. Maybe I’m describing mercy, no?
It’s like the combination of “love thy enemies”, “do unto others what you want done to yourself” and “forgive and forget”. In this crazy world of ours, we have things like the “grace period”…a time to not pay back your student loans (*wink*). A time of freedom or a time when people are not berating you. You are free, despite the fact that you owe a butt-ton of money, or that you did something wrong. Someone forgives you anyways, you don’t have to pay late fees, you are given a second chance.
Man oh man, does God have grace for us. In fact, it’s never-ending. Imagine that! How on earth could something that I can’t actually see, or someone that I don’t even quite possibly know existed (remember, it’s about faith here!) have compassion and forgiveness towards me? I see where people get confused. It’s just such a big concept to wrap our heads around. The defining act of grace (and mercy) was when Jesus died on the cross for us. That compassion and love, no matter WHO we are or WHAT we have done, is unconditional and forever. Pretty neat, right?
Ultimately grace is wrapped up in the favour that God has for us. God created us (every single one, you bet your buns), and knows us, and I’ve said this before, there is not a single thing that we can do to change that, whether we believe in that sort of thing or not. Grace is unmerited (and sometimes unwanted in some situations) and completely free. What did I ever do to deserve that? I’ve broken so many things in my life, and I am so ultimately ridiculously imperfect, and most of the time people aren’t willing to give me free stuff. Well, except samples at the Farmers’ Market. But I like to think they do that because I’m cute. God’s grace is not for sale (and it’s yours to keep and also give away to others).
By reminding ourselves of the abundant grace the Father gives us, I think we can truly live in a grace of our own - not dependent on ourselves but on Him. It's like we need to remind ourselves that we just aren't perfect. We can't do stuff by ourselves, and in reality, "giving ourself grace" isn't about giving ourselves anything at all. It's about recognizing what we are incapable of without the Father. If you try to give yourself grace cheaply, it just ain't gonna work. That would be like an excuse. There's a difference. It's like abusing the system (again, a post in itself).
When life gets nuts (as it is right now), when you get frustrated with yourself, remind yourself of the grace the Father has for you. It's unmerited friend! It's never ending! Do you realize how legitimate that is? Ah, I just love that.
thanks for reading this week friends.