Every Thursday night we gather to write on one word. We only get five minutes and then we stop. Right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, and we publish raw words. These are mine, spilled out into a pool of grace (ha) and words and maybe a couple of tears, too.
It took more than 5 minutes, I admit. Because every other line I was looking anywhere but the screen, trying desperately to think of something not so raw and truly ungraceful.
I can’t find a graceful way to write the words tonight, and maybe that’s His irony and point in it all.
I don’t know how to begin because my throat is choked up and I’m blinking furious to hold back the tears. My fingers are paused, hovering over the keyboard as the cursor blinks back, taunting me as if to say, “what do you know, really know, about grace?”
The fridge is dripping water, the ice machine broken. Drip. Drip. The room is empty and all I’m left with are the thoughts I wish weren’t mine.
When life gets stressful and the homework and projects, tests and papers pile up, the blog goes silent. When God is teaching me something new, working in big ways, all I want to do is write it out but I pull up page after page and nothing comes out. I’m in progress and although that is so vital to a raw, growing community – sometimes He calls us to be still with Him, to process and work through it all inwardly before sharing with the world.
It’s been quiet here and each day that goes by brings with it a little pinprick of guilt. I have these dreams, big God-sized dreams to write and love and share His glory through the words He gives, yet this place is vacant, my Twitter stream is empty, and I’m pleased with myself if I post to Facebook more than once a week.
But He’s teaching and I’m learning and I guess you could say that’s grace in and of itself.
So then why do I see the word grace and feel tears sting my eyes? Why can I write all these words just fine while thinking about the drip-dripping and then look back at grace and my fingers freeze over the keys?
I’m not very good at giving myself grace. There, I said it.
I can pour it out by the buckets when people are running late or an email slides into my inbox from an old friend. I do my best to pick and choose my words carefully when someone wrongs me and try to be mindful that we all, every one of us, are facing struggles and joys. We all carry a story with us and we all need grace.
So what is it in me that can give it freely to others but not extend it to myself?
Grace to laugh on a hard day.
Grace to stop worrying about the grades.
Grace to know a number doesn’t define me or my value.
Grace to know I have worth without a boy by my side.
Grace to look in the mirror without sighing.
Grace to be me.
Grace to be.
I don’t know how to offer this grace to myself when everything piles up and my best doesn’t feel like it’s good enough. I struggle to make it through the day without letting one of the many plates crash to the floor and this balancing act is more of a juggle than an impressive performance.
I’m starting to think that’s the problem. If you dig past all the innards and get right at the core of it, I always think it’s not enough.
One more thing here and another position there, a few less pounds and a couple points higher. More time in the Word and fewer late nights, the result of procrastination.
I don’t know this grace word very well, this receiving of cupped hands full of water, a blessing for those that are thirsty and empty from the journey of the simple day-to-day tasks.
There’s always more to check off, clothes to fold and papers to write. There’s too much to do and never enough time to do it all well and where, where is there room to breathe and sit and just be? And oh, who would I be without all. these. things.
It will never be enough, all these things we add to our plates, until we stop and give ourselves grace while the mess is still there and the rooms of our lives aren’t in perfect order.
I cannot wait to give myself grace until it’s all straightened out – because it’s not going to happen.
Life is crazy and relationships are messy and the rug in my dorm hasn’t been vacuumed in two months. Things are going to slip and some things won’t be checked off the list, but if my afternoons and study breaks are filled with laughter and God-honoring conversations then does it really matter that my desk is piled with papers or I didn’t get an A+ on a test?
Maybe, just maybe, I need to learn to receive the grace I give out.