People say the hardest person to lead is yourself. While I find that to be abundantly true in my own life, I’ve realized I’m also the hardest person to have grace on.
Lots of people say I am aptly named. I believed I was named by God and gifted with grace. I believe I have showered it down on others generously. For myself? Not so much.
Last year when I was searching for that “perfect” blogging tagline I wanted to play on words. Adding the word “Grace” was intentional. Not only is it my name & an obvious spiritual gifting but being gracious and grace-filled is a lifestyle. Our actions whether grace-filled or hate-filled share the story of imitation of our gracious God…or, they don’t.
I started listening to The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning yesterday, primarily because I have no grace for myself. A Brennan book is where I go when I get this way.
In the last few months, I have said horrible, horrible things to and about myself. I have been cruel. I have been petulant. I have spoken to myself in ways that I would never, never ever articulate to anyone else under any circumstance because they are hateful and horrible.
In the manner of, “you are a WORTHLESS, fucking loser. Just go away. Die all ready.“ Yeah. It’s been off the charts. Fugly.
A couple weeks ago, I was listening to Pink’s F*ckin’ Perfect, one of the many comforting songs I turn to when I’m just done. with. life.
She says, “changes the voices in your head. Make them like you instead.” I decided to change those voices in my head for one single week. For one week, I wasn’t going to Grace-Biskie-Bash. Each day, I tried. Each day, I failed. Each day, I reminded myself “hey, little buddy, remember we’re not being mean to ourselves today?”
Step two, I suppose is to start replacing the evil with gracious thoughts. I’ll get there.
When I sit in my quiet times each morning, I wonder how I got here. How did I get to this point in life where I am so profoundly disappointed in myself? Where did all of of these expectations come from? It’s hard to wrap my head around who I thought I was supposed to be.
All of these transitions are weighing me down. In the last couple of years I almost lost my marriage (character), lost lots & lots of money (stability), lost my dream job (identity), lost two great friends (integrity) & lost another job (capability).
I spend last week telling the Lord, “did you know this was heavy? This is heavy. Yeah, this is pretty much…heavy.” (I know, so deep right?)
As I respond to these losses -sometimes in bravery, sometimes in unhealthy coping- YOU have grace for me. I know you do. I don’t. Yet, I don’t know a lot right now. Because of these losses, I feel the uncertainty always there. Always present. Always swearing at me. Always finger pointing. The reality is, all of the losses are at least 85% my fault. And I won’t let myself off the hook.
So. I go back to Brennan. I read about him being a drunk, over & over again all the while he’s an internationally known speaker and trusted divorced, Priest.
I‘m not that bad, I think.
But there’s the rub, I am that bad. It shows differently. And that is the point of grace? It is unmerited favor. Unearned.
I have to figure out this “grace thing” for me. For me. Not for you. I have it for you.
I have to wrap myself up so tightly in the flames of grace that I’m burning from it’s fervor.
That is what I believe isn’t it? That Jesus died not for the well, the wealthy, the put together. But for the filthy Brennan’s, and the loser Grace’s who can’t keep much of anything together…not even a clean house.
In my head, I know that God is there. Kind. Forgiving. Gracious.
In my heart, I know these things too.
But every day, for 3 weeks now, I’m wrestling these truths. Are they true? Just how true? Why do my fingers still shake? Why does my belly still flip? Why do I feel I must distract from the fears, the worries, the concerns, the uncertainties? When does all this boundless grace kick in? When does it lay a balm on top of the heavy? When is it coming for me, from me?
Because grace is there. It’s available. I know it for you. I know it for me.
Even in this, He says, Late have I loved you, Grace.
Late have I loved you.
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