I am feeling a little cruddy this evening, so I headed to my husband’s recliner to rest while I learn my script for tomorrow morning’s UpStreet. (For those who don’t know, UpStreet is our way cool “children’s church” at FBCW.) I am sharing the storyteller duties with my friend, Tessa, in the morning.
As I read the script, I was struck by the prayer at the end: “God, thank You so much for Your grace – thank You for giving us wonderful things that we don’t deserve. Help us to give grace to others, just as You give us the grace we need. Amen.”
Not a long prayer. A prayer intended for those in grades K-5. But, it hit me square in the heart.
As I walked this evening, my iPod died. I had just listened to part one of the RE series from Life Church. The RE topic? Remember. My iPod dies just as Part 2 – Repentance begins. So, I have 5 miles left and no podcast. Hmmm…what to do? It’s so quiet and peaceful along the Ohio River that I opt for taking in nature and some prayer time.
The first thing I see? A super cute squirrel making all kinds of racket as he played with a nut on a branch above my head. He made me smile and think, “Why do I stress so much? Look at me. I am healthy, I can walk, I have a beautiful town to walk in, I am surrounded by God’s creation, and on and on.” That squirrel’s got nothin’ but a tree and a nut…maybe a squirrel friend nearby…and he’s super happy! I really am a blessed gal:)
Those thoughts turned to, “If I am so blessed, why I am so hard on myself? Why can’t I accept my blessed status?” And, the RE sermon comes to mind: Remember. I begin remembering some of my past triumphs and failures. Immediately, the failures overtake the triumphs, and I begin dwelling on a few – mainly, my previous attempt at being a stay-at-home mom. And, again, I ask myself: Why I am dwelling on the bad instead of reveling in the good? Why am I so hard on myself?
Sadly, I am not the only one.
After my last blog post, Need an Umbrella?, I received a variety of texts and emails – each one a blessing to me. One email was from a friend back home who is struggling to let go and let God. Her husband may be without a job soon, and she’s stressing over finances and the future. She said she wants to trust God in the uncertainty, but her “obsessive side” keeps kicking in. This friend is one of the most sincere, Godly women I know. And, I think of her as I walk…thinking…she’s being too hard on herself too.
This has me thinking of friends, situations, and recent conservations. I notice a thread woven throughout the lives of many women I know: they are too hard on themselves. Who set the bar so high? Why do women feel so pressured to live up to ____________[insert your own thing here]!
Do all of us have issues? Yep. Do we all have work to do on said issues? Yep. Do we need to trust in Him to help us with these issues? For sure. But, through the work and growth, can’t we just take it a little easier on our friends and ourselves? Quit judging others and self-deprecating? If you gain a pound, take a look at your week and see what happened, but don’t beat yourself up. If you have a bad day, make a bad decision, trust in self much and God little – whatever it is – give yourself some grace. No, don’t make lame excuses and justify. But, just as you extend grace to others, please extend some to yourself.
Tomorrow’s UpStreet story is about The Prodigal Son (Luke 15: 1-32). The father definitely extended grace to the son. But, I wonder how the young son felt? Did he give himself any grace? Or, did he beat himself up for (very!) poor decisions and behavior? I also wonder if the older brother – the faithful one who stayed at home and obedient – ever had a change of heart and extended grace. I know, it’s a parable. But, still, this grace thing has me pondering.
I hope you extend grace to others – and yourself – today. No, you don’t deserve it, and neither do those to whom you extend it, which is what makes grace so amazing.
RE Sermon Series from Life Church (Remember, Repentance, Renew, and Remain)