Can I just say that I have a hard time loving others some days? I mean a really hard time. Folks can just do the absolute most and I find myself worn out from trying to make it work. It’s as though some people just like to be difficult! Now that I have properly vented, can I also say that is the most selfish statement ever?
Christ loves us in spite of our irritating ways, demanding personalities and crummy attitudes. He not only loves us but he cares for, provides for and carries us. Why can’t I do the same for those with the same shortcomings I have? I believe that I can. That’s why I’ve been devoting time to learning the art of grace. The art of taking deeper breaths. The art of ignoring irrational thoughts that lead to damaging conclusions. And the art of refusing to amp up to 100 when the situation requires a five, at best.
Can you imagine how beautiful our interactions would become? How much easier to communicate without the expectation that someone will inevitably annoy us? Yep, I would say that’s art. Learning to hold our peace, have patience and actively seek positive resolution to conflict. All three take skill and time. All three are art forms. Just like a seasoned painter has learned how to expertly turn blemishes into seamless works of art, we can learn how to reshape our responses to others. The goal is to quiet our negative emotions and encourage meaningful dialogue.
Honesty break. My husband is one of the most incredible people that I know but sometimes he can drive me nuts. Seriously, lol. For example, I like to complete my online shopping as quickly as possible. I locate what I need and order it. Robbie, on the other hand, is perfectly okay with researching items for days, putting the items that made the cut in the basket and then just saving the cart. For weeks. Now let me be even more honest and say that I am guilty of operating in “selective amnesia” and forgetting that he does the majority of the cooking and household maintenance. Therefore, it kind of makes sense that he would overlook a few of the items or tasks on his list. However, when I realize that something I have asked for is just gathering dust, I struggle to discuss my concerns without impatience. I don’t know if that is a married thing or if it’s a people thing. Either way, I think that it would be safe to say that it is not cool. I’m working on it.
How about you? Are you open to deliberately setting aside time to work on responding with grace? I am comforted (and empowered) by the knowledge that Christ will never put more on us than we can handle (1 Cor. 10:13). So then let’s assume that because he has commanded us to love our neighbors, we are already equipped to do it! We have only to follow through!! That gives my heart such joy.
*Disclaimer: I am not advocating for you to “like” everyone or build a relationship with them. But treating folks with respect and grace communicates an appreciation for who they are to Christ. His children.
Basically, it’s totally okay not to respond to every annoyance (and I suggest it!), or correct every misstep. It’s also totally fine to speak to and even hug the person that you know has talked poorly about you. Your actions could positively influence theirs, but more importantly, exemplifies the love of Christ. And really, my loves, that’s all that matters.
If we are totally honest with each other, we don’t really deserve the grace that Christ shows us. What if he decided to give grace equal to the amount we “deserve”? We’d be out of gas. But you know what? He knows our shortcomings and still loves us with an everlasting love and covers us with immeasurable grace.
Good grief but I love being loved by him. He’s my fave.
I would love to hear some of the ways that you have tackled your grace deficit, so chime in!