I think I’ve said this before, but I asked God to give me a word for this season or year or whatever (basically until He gives me a new word likely) and that word was “grace”. I’ve thought about what it means and how it applies to my life a lot.
The dictionary gives one definition of grace as “the free and unmerited favor of God as manifested in the salvation of sinners and bestowal of blessings.” Another definition said grace is “God’s love in action toward men who merited the opposite of love.”
I’ve said I felt like that the word grace applies to the way I treat myself. I’ve thought, I give grace to everyone else, but I don’t cut myself any slack. But recently I’ve been convicted a little, even more so just today.
The second part of that statement is still very true. I don’t give myself grace. I do hold myself to a higher standard. I know it’s the curse of the way I am programmed, but I know that it’s part of learning to breathe and an area I need to improve.
However the place I’ve been convicted lately is that I’m not sure I’m giving much grace to anyone else either.
Those who know me know I like things planned out, well in advance. I like to have a plan and I do not like to deviate from the plan. I admitted at work the other day to a friend that I have a plan at the beginning of the day of how that day is going to go, and the problems come when something changes my plan. I just don’t like that very much. Their response was comical because it’s true. They looked me dead in the face and said, “well, Leah, that’s not very realistic since we work with people.” I really didn’t have a response because it’s true.
The sad part is that’s true in so many areas. The more people that get involved, the more wrenches that get thrown into perfectly good plans. The more variables there are, the harder the situation is to control. But, I’ve admitted my problem with control before.
But how does that roll back to grace? Things alter my plans. People alter my plans. People are not wired like me and don’t plan things in as much advance as I’d like for them to, or at least don’t communicate those plans. And I react before I think things through. I react before I think about their situation and why perhaps things have come to this or things have changed last minute.
Recently something came up that was going to change the plans I had for my week. (Yes, I have a general plan for my entire week. There, I admitted it.). This activity did not fit into my plan for the week and may potentially alter two things on the schedule. My first reaction? Why didn’t this get planned in advance? Why am I just now finding out? I do not have time for this!
Realistically, I do. It’s just that I would like to have already thought about it prior to 8 days prior. Because that’s how I work. I marinate on an idea for a while and then I act. They took away the marination time basically. And, factoring in this week’s every other day schedule and the fact that I’d just been at work for 13 hours and fought fair traffic (the state fair happens in my neighborhood) to get home, I fired off a saucy response when I read the email. Well realistically it was a passive aggressive response meant in a saucy manner. Lol. Whatever that means.
When I presented the conundrum to my people they were like ok so we’ll do this and this and done. And I’m looking around thinking, “how could that be so easy? Doesn’t it annoy you?” Clearly not. It was so easily fixed by just moving some things around.
Oh, GRACE. Loving people, no matter how they are. Grace to remember that not everyone is wired like me (I mean thank goodness right? The more I think about the way I’m wired the more I realize the ridiculousness.). I’ve actually said before that sometimes I “fly by the seat of my pants” as the expression goes, but I need to look at myself in the mirror and admit, no friend. You don’t. Not even a little bit.
But some people do. Those people with excellent ideas and questionable execution skills are the people that push us to greatness. The people who have dreams and drive but are missing the organizational piece (at least the detail side) are the ones that give us something to plan out. We all make the world go around.
And we probably all drive each other crazy.
But when did I forget to give grace to others? I still give grace to my best friends, to my people. But to others, I think a lot, what is wrong with you?
Maybe I’m more like my no nonsense grandpa than I realized. The older I get, the worse it’s gotten. And while I love him dearly, I don’t want to be him.
So this week, I’m praying for God to show me ways to exercise grace with others. To accept others for the way they are. They have what I need. And I have what they need. And while I still need grace with myself, this week I pray for opportunities to give grace to those around me because everyone deserves grace.
And this is how people like me continue to work on just breathing…and letting go. And not being in control of all the things….or any of the things sometimes. And this is when God starts to use me well, when I start to love others well. All the others. Not just the others I like the most.
Therein lies my gaps. Gaps for God to fill with grace. And grace to pour out of the gaps and onto those around me.