I’ve been saying it, and attempting to live it my whole life.
When I go through the drive thru and they scowl at me like they’d like to hack me into tiny pieces and it takes thirty minutes to get my incorrect but completed order… I let my mind consider some of the possibilities. What if the whole world doesn’t ACTUALLY revolve around me? What if this fine establishment and its management are over worked, under paid and short staffed today? What if Nancy the drive thru worker just got another call from the school… or the hospital? What if the ink is still wet on the divorce papers or the ever pressing sadness sitting on her chest is swallowing her whole and it’s all that she can do to just get out of bed? And supposing any one of those possibilities were more than just a possibility and I were the only face of Jesus she were going to see today… what would I want it to look and sound like? When in doubt, extend grace. Sow grace.
The thing is: I’m just a human. We’re all just humans. Flesh and blood. Still in process. That work that Jesus began in me, he’s still perfecting it. The grace I sow, I hope to reap. There may be a day that I go through that very same drive thru and I hope that when they see me, impatient and tired, they think- maybe she’s sick, and she only has a few minutes to eat and sleep before she has to be at it again. Maybe she doesn’t feel like she has the strength to do it today. When in doubt, extend grace.
I’ll never forget the day, I sat on my couch crying out, soul laid bare asking the Lord “How?” “How, will I ever do the work that you’ve called me to do, living in this body?” And he said the strangest thing… He said to lay down the baseball bat. I scanned the room. (I’m a very literal gal) No baseball bat in sight. The one you use on yourself, he continued. The one you use to beat yourself up when you don’t meet your own expectations. Extend grace. Extend grace to yourself the way you would to someone else in your situation. I had never felt more naked or busted in my entire life. But also, one word stuck out to me: YOUR, when you don’t meet YOUR expectations. These weren’t his expectations I was failing to meet, they were my own. When in doubt, extend grace…even to yourself.
There’s no greater love or grace we can offer to someone, ourselves included than when we’ve let the ugly show. But that’s the wonder of the cross, which meets us right smack in the midst of those nasty face, least deserving places, that races ahead of us filling in gaps before we can create them. What kind of love is this? What kind of God is this?
“Freely you have received, freely give.” Matthew 5:8
When in doubt, I vote we extend grace, even to ourselves. Check yes or no?