Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Self, Less Grace

It's unimaginable that God has such grace for you and me.  Particularly when we realize what little grace we have for ourselves.

It is one of life's hardest lessons, and one God is working me toward a little more each day.

I love grace.  I love the idea that when I'm not enough, there is plenty to round me out.  I love the idea that when I've fallen short, there is a measure to make me stand tall again.  I love the idea that all of my emptiness is filled by this simple little thing called grace.  I love the way grace makes me feel.

And I love the way it feels to pour my grace out on others.  It's not so hard, you know?  I mean, I don't find it difficult to find it in me to meet someone else's heart with grace the same way God has greeted mine.  It's not so hard to find myself thinking that, you know, they're people, too, and we all need a little grace.

It is exceptionally hard, though, to find me thinking that when I'm looking at the woman in the mirror.

What is it about ourselves that we have such a hard time extending grace to our own ragged reflection?

We don't take enough responsibility for our own hearts.  We are arrogant about our wounds, adamant against our weaknesses, and ignorant of our need.

We are arrogant about our wounds because we don't think we deserve to be wounded.  So when something stings, someone must pay for our pain.  We hold the rest of the world accountable for the ache in our heart because we cannot fathom that we are worthy of the hurt.  They have disrespected, discounted, and dismissed us by choosing to wound us, and we won't let them forget it.

When we have not the grace for ourselves to embrace our wounds, it is we who do not forget.  And we greet our world with resentment.

We are adamant against out weaknesses because we know ourselves.  We know what we are capable of and not capable of, and we are a people who refuse even to try when there's a good chance we might fail.  So when we fail, something went wrong with something not us.  There was a glitch in the system.  There was a breakdown somewhere.  There was something not ready, something amiss, something wrecked that kept us from succeeding.  We labor to correct our circumstances because we cannot find the grace to admit we could not do/be what we should have done/been.

When we have not the grace for ourselves to embrace our weaknesses, it is we who fail ourselves.  And we greet our world with domination, control.

We are ignorant of our need because by this point, it's plain we see no problem with ourselves.  It is our world that betrays us, our circumstance that foils us.  It is this place falling apart around us that dooms us to something less, and we have convinced ourselves that if we can control our circumstance and command our world, we would be all we are.  So when we find ourselves with any need at all, it is the need for the world to get on board with our being awesome.  It is our need for the rest of creation to get out of our way.

When we have not the grace for ourselves to embrace our need, it is we who drown in emptiness.  And we greet our world with bitterness.

The problem is not necessarily how we see ourselves.  The problem is not that we resent being wounded, that we expect more of ourselves, or that we feel held back here.  That...is something maybe rather beautiful that I will talk more about tomorrow.

The problem is that we fail to see ourselves with grace - the same grace we drink of from our Lord, the same grace we extend to the man not in the mirror. 

When we have not the grace for ourselves to embrace our own heart, it is we who diminish ourselves.

When we can only see ourselves less (without) grace, we cannot help but see ourselves as less.  And that's a problem.

A problem that needs grace.

To be continued...

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