I am pretty good at giving grace to others. A lot better than I used to be, anyway.
At one point in my marriage, my husband had the guts enough to share with me that I didn’t have a whole lot of grace for him. I got really mad at him for saying this…..mostly because I knew it was true.
As my kids are getting older, I find myself praising the good grades they get more than the beautiful little people they are becoming. And, when they get anything less than 100% on a test, I talk to them about it. Granted, I don’t yell at them or berate them but, I use it as a “teachable moment”. You know, the whole “if you would’ve looked back over your answers, you would have seen this sticking out like a sore thumb” song and dance.
For me, “holding people accountable” for their actions comes easy to me. Like second nature.
What doesn’t come naturally to me is praise. Over-the-top love that I truly want to have for my family and friends is something I have to choose to give….and most especially, love for no reason at all just doesn’t make sense to me. Love just because is like a foreign languange.
Good news! I know where this comes from.
It all stems from the fact that I don’t know how to give grace to myself. There are mistakes that I made….all the way back to grade school….that still haunt me to this day. They come up in my mind at the most inopportune times.
Mostly, these mistakes haunt me when I am alone. Wondering if I’ve given enough love to my children. Wondering if they will know how to love their children better than I love them. Wondering if my husband knows that I think he is the hero of this household. Wondering if I could fix the mistakes of my past with good deeds. Kind words. A loving touch or smile.
As I write this, I can barely see through my tears….this subject just absolutely WRECKS me.
I mean, for crying outloud, I can’t even give myself grace about giving myself grace.
One step at a time. That’s the only way I can do it. One time of turning away from self-deprecating thoughts. One moment of choosing to tell my children how much I love them instead of punishing them as they “deserve”. One moment of running to the door when my husband gets home instead of continuing to correct the math homework or stir the pasta sauce in a mommy-martyr sort of way.
Right now, I choose to not let the part of my personality that claws for order and justice run my life. The part that whispers to me that the only paper deserving of a compliment says 100%. The part that tries to convince me that a husband that doesn’t know our calendar inside and out doesn’t respect me for making it. The part that doesn’t want anything to do with anyone that hurt me in the past because forgiveness is just too messy.
The part that slithers along any happiness in my life and hisses out the word “FAILURE”.
I will replace “FAILURE” with “GRACE” again and again. I’m not sure it will ever become second nature to me. But heck if I won’t strive to make it that way. And if I have to make a conscience effort to do this for the rest of my life, it doesn’t mean I failed at not feeling like a failure….it means I’m human and I have flaws. And that’s ok.