When Grace Can Be Hard.

We've heard it, we've seen it, we've even tried to apply it to our lives. "Grace upon grace." Sometimes I love that phrase. It's pretty and looks great written in calligraphy or watercolor. It is a pretty phrase that has such a beautiful meaning. But then there are times when grace is difficult. Showing someone else grace in tough situations can be really hard, and the phrase isn't as pretty anymore. Forgiveness + patience + grace; these are qualities that God calls us to show to our friends and our enemies... but that can be hard sometimes! 

You know what else is hard? Showing grace to ourselves. Forgiving ourselves and being kind to ourselves is more important than I think we believe sometimes. Loving ourselves can be a struggle on the days when we make mistakes or don't feel attractive or when we're feeling less-than.

This issue is especially fresh in my life right now. I've been unable to give myself grace for my shortcomings. I've been unable to show my husband grace when he forgets to fold the laundry or works long hours and it cuts into quality time. Yes, I'm patient. But I bottle in the frustration and the feelings of not being good enough. I let it eat at me until I say something hurtful or do something unkind to myself or even to my husband. I hate that this has become an issue in my life but I've decided to tackle it head on!

Grace: favor, patience, mercy. When I have a problem or something in my life that I know I need to change and an area I need to grow in, I try my best to fix it. But when I don't get it the first try or when I feel like I'm not good enough, whether creatively or in a group of other young adults, I believe the lies that I'll never be good enough. For the last 2 or 3 months, I'll be totally honest, I've felt like crap. I'm tired and I feel ugly and unimportant and like I won't ever get to the bar I've raised for myself. Anyone else with me?

I need to stop. I need to breathe and take a moment to focus on the positive and what things I can do to succeed or at least motivate myself to try harder. But even finding that little motivation has been difficult and then at the end of the day I'm left feeling empty, alone, and frustrated. One thing that I haven't been doing during this time is turning to Jesus. Its sad but true. I've been trying to get better and find strength and motivation and encouragement in myself. I've ignored the encouragements from God that I am "beautifully and wonderfully made," and that I have been blessed beyond measure. I've just been focusing on what I feel and what I lack and it's resulted in me no longer believing in myself. I've withheld grace from myself and started to hate what was looking at me in the mirror. I was grumpy and lonely and sad. Then I started to get impatient with Mark. Then I started to get impatient with family members and friends, getting internally frustrated with their "shortcomings." 

As I take a step back and see all this, I naturally want to scold myself even more! But this has to change. If I can't be nice to myself and forgive myself and understand that I am human and I can't do it all, how can I expect that I'll treat others any better?

xx I'm still working through it all so there isn't a very cohesive way to end this post other than to say I'm working on me. I'm trusting in God and seeking his voice as I learn to show myself grace and forgiveness. It's a weird and somewhat stressful road getting back from self doubt and not feeling good enough to being confident and trusting that God always has a plan. 

"Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many." Hebrews 12:15


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