Basking in the lightness of grace.

Learning to Give Yourself Grace

Basking in the lightness of grace.

Have you ever fallen short? Have you ever felt it was your fault? Have you ever beat yourself up over it? I have.

Sitting in a coffee shop, I evaluate the progress of the Bright Army. Have I met my expectations? Am I where I hoped to be when I began? Is the project growing as I would like?

To many of my questions, the answer is no. In many areas, it has not lived up my hopes and dreams.

I can’t help but feel it’s my fault. I see everything I didn’t do. I see my struggles and weaknesses. I feel as if I no matter how hard I try nothing ever changes. And I become discouraged.

What is the point of trying? I’ll never go anywhere with this project. Why bother trying to become a writer? I obviously don’t put in the effort to make it happen. I should just give up.

***

Sometimes, we’re too hard on ourselves.

Sometimes, we need to give ourselves grace.

***

When you’re too tired to work…

When you tried your hardest, but didn’t succeed…

When you get too busy and life blurs past you…

When your dreams, despite your best intentions, still seem distant…

When you don’t have enough willpower to push through to the end…

When you don’t measure up to the expectation to be extrordinary…

When you accidentally hurt someone…

When you fail to do the dishes despite planning to do them at least ten times…

When you miss an important deadline…

When you get impatient

When you’re holding a mug and it falls to the floor and shatters…

When you can’t find your keys…

When you’re running late to a meeting…

When you fall asleep while trying to meditate…

When you feel as if your work is worthless after spending hours and hours on it…

When you can’t keep your word to someone you care about…

When you get stuck…

When you go to bed later than you intended…

When you get up later than you intended…

When you can’t sleep…

When you forget to return your library book and have to pay a big fine…

When you feel as though you ought to be more forgiving to others…

When your willpower is not enough…

When you’re learning a new skill and can’t get quite get it right…

When you think you have mastered a skill but can’t quite get it right…

When you fall short of who you think you could be…

When you wonder why you are so hard on yourself – why you fail so often at letting go

Give yourself grace.

***

By definition, we don’t deserve grace. It’s unearned. Give it to yourself anyways. The world throws enough challenges at you as it is. No need to add your accusations.

Grace is not a means of hiding. You still have to face the consequences of what happened. You still have to learn from the situation. You still have to move forward. But forgiving yourself gives you permission to do so.

grace
puts you in a space
to step out from the darkest place
so you can face
and embrace
grace

***

Returning home, I watch my daughter as she sits on her mom’s lap. She’s staring at her book. As I near her, she glances in my direction. Her face lights up with a grin that seems to say:

Daddy. Daddy. I love you. I’m happy you’re here.”

I may not always feel I deserve her love. I don’t live always live up to the model I want to be for her. But she gives me grace anyways. Maybe I ought to do the same for myself.

###

PHOTO: Basking in the lightness of grace.

PS: Happy birthday, Matthew.

PPS: Many thanks to my wife for reminding me to give myself grace.

7 thoughts on “Learning to Give Yourself Grace”

  1. Thank you for this reminder, Joshua. You are amazing. You have dared to dream and to then do, that makes you amazing enough.

    I just spent the last week with 700 incredibly accomplished people and the one message that resonated most was that we all fail to live up to our expectations. But that it’s okay because we choose to set the bar very high – unattainably high. That means we reach the moon, if not the stars. That’s still pretty high!

  2. Josh, Thanks for the grace you have given me over the years. I love being your Dad (and Talia’s granddad, too). I love you and am proud of you. Scott

  3. Frances, I suppose that’s part of what makes them accomplished. They gave themselves grace when they failed, and then they got back up and tried again. I’m looking forward to hearing more about your trip.

    Dad, Right back at you. 🙂

  4. Josh, You are a wonderful inspiration and your posts never fail to resonate with me and seem to be just what I need to hear at the time. You are important and necessary – your work, even if I was the only person you reach (which I am NOT!) – you are a success. Your words are important – and I hope you know that in your heart. You may never know the lives you are changing – but my sense is, as you remain open and true to your “voice” – amazing experiences will come. Every morning, before I meditate, I go through the list you describe – forgiving, myself, and others, renewing my faith and gratitude, but not without facing the “list”. It’s getting easier to be the observer and see myself with love and grace. Then, as I go out into the world, I am able to offer others that same loving allowance.

  5. I appreciate that, Connie.

    The phrase that stands out to me the most is “it’s getting easier”. A fitting reminder that learning to give grace is a continual (and gradual) process.

  6. Josh,
    As always, your writing is real & speaks to the human condition. I truly believe that the important thing is to do what you can when you can & as one wise man we both know & love says, “it’s not what you did that counts, it’s what you do next!” The Lord give you strength & grace, with a reminder at every turn to let yourself live & forgive yourself!

    All the best Josh, keep writing, keep loving & know that as long as you’ve done your best & all you can, you haven’t failed. I’m proud of you 🙂

    Love,
    Joe

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