Personal Grace

Do you ever think about grace? 

   Once upon a time, in my twenty-something days, I was the most graceless person on the face of the planet. No joke, you would not have liked me, at all! I was conceited, self-serving, and unkind. I had very little compassion for those around me, and I drove hard nails into the judgemental coffins I constructed. 

   It took years of health struggles, and a veritable volley—(Oooo, I like those two v-words together)—of real-life-kick-in-the-pants-problems, before I understood the true meaning of grace. It wasn’t until I’d walked in some hard shoes that I realized I had no right to judge. Most of us learn this life lesson first, and as a result, most of us get better about having grace for others. But what about having grace for ourselves too?

   Sometimes, I’m downright brutal; I berate myself for not getting all the things down, I’m by far my own worst critic, and I constantly focus on my mistakes. Sound familiar? 

   I think we treat ourselves poorly for a lot of reasons, but especially because we often believe its immodest to extend grace to ourselves—almost like we’re not being humble if we give ourselves some slack. Honestly though, self-abasement is abusive to the soul, and no matter how innately human, it draws us down a dark path. The truth is, we’re NOT perfect, the fact is, no one is. And the MOST graceless thing we can do to ourselves is to constantly focus on our shortcomings.

   For example: living with chronic illness is my reality. I can’t do ALL the things anymore, and in this, I need to have grace, either that or the frustration around my physical limitations will destroy me emotionally. I also need to have more grace for myself when I mess up. While I should definitely acknowledge my mistakes, I can’t let them define me… Mistakes can be used to help me grow, but afterwards, I need to move on.

   Personal grace will look different for each of us, but I honestly believe that if we don’t start extending more of it to ourselves, we’ll eventually have nothing left to give others.