Living Under Grace

The great thing about writing a blog is that it makes you look awesome. For one, there is a layer of awesomeness that comes from simply authoring a blog at all. Cool people blog. The other, more significant factor is, of course, that I control the creative content. Cool people blog about being cool people.

When I look back through my posts, I see the type of person I want to be. Curious. Introspective. Articulate (thanks spell check!) I have been running, kickboxing, bicycling, cooking, reading. I have shared real and actual progress toward my weight loss goals.

But I’m not always so spot on. Actually, most of the time I am flailing around, tripping over the uneven ground I have paved for myself, and reaching out at the last moment to be pulled up by the strong arms of the gracious folks around me (Jesus. My husband Brett. My boss. My parents. My friends.)

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Recently I was bitching to a friend about a person who drives me mad because I feel like they present themselves as having it “all together.” (A perfect example of how I have got such a long way to grow.) I could use a little deliverance from my gossipy habits, but it also motivated me to keep my own image in check. It is important to share the relapses along with the victories.

I recently read this article from Donald Miller. It reminded me what an important role grace has played in my life. How difficult it can be to accept grace. The challenge of living in the dichotomy of being humbled by human error (sin, if you will) and redemption. This, by the way, comes only partly from my own weight loss goals.

As a Christian, as a gradual converter, as a person who came of age in a conservative, Evangelical (and in many ways wonderful) church, I’ve carried a lot of guilt in my life. I often still do, almost instinctually. I recently accused myself of having a lifetime record of “honorable mentions.” I often move forward with the very best of intentions only to discover myself in the middle of a situation that is “not quite right.”

To a certain degree, we all do this. Some of my more memorable “missteps” include volunteer commitments, jobs, friendships, class schedules. You can probably count many of these, if not all of these, among the choices you have made that ended in results much different than you expected. Even the good things in our lives, the best things, often miss the mark of our expectations in a beautiful, gritty way. (Shout out to my married peeps!)

But there is something special in acknowledging that it is okay that we screwed up. There is something even better about accepting those screw ups as part of the plan.

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The veritable moral of this blog, of my story, is that I am a work in progress. I should not have gotten fat in the first place. I should not have fallen for the guy who only called me when he was drunk. I should not have worked 50 hours a week, taken 17 credit hours, and volunteered at the zoo in one semester. I should not have been so trusting of the girl who always seemed to be so mistrusting of me. I should not have gone outside without socks on when it was raining.

Grace takes the “should” out of the situation. Grace accepts that we “did.” Grace accepts that we “will.” My most character building moments have been under the veil of grace. I hope you all find the grace you need and I hope you keep pointing me in the direction of the grace I need.

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4 thoughts on “Living Under Grace

  1. Jess says:

    (I’m gonna just go with my working notion that your blog is just you and me talking and continue to comment on every post.)
    Church guilt! Yes! Getting rid of guilt in all forms has been the work of my adulthood! Shame is not an effective or useful tool!

    • Uhm, yes. This is obviously just a long-form dialogue!!

      I think there is this tendency to assume when we screw up that we might have done it differently if we were better/smarter/more righteous. While I think there is a usefulness to the honesty of acknowledging our contribution to a situation through our behavior (and evaluating how to change and better that behavior), I’ve been freed by the idea that I’m not bad/wrong/broken because of my mistakes.

  2. If it makes you feel better about the socks, I was underdressed last night. I should have worn long johns and a long-sleeved shirt underneath my 2 jackets. It took me hours to warm up. I was shivering as I fell asleep.

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