growing in grace isn’t only an outward thing

Posted: June 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

Learning to extend grace and mercy to myself has been a prevailing theme in my life for some time now, but especially in the six months I’ve lived in community at JPUSA.  Though no person is actively after me about my self-talk, God has been kind of relentless on the subject.

And I needed it.  I’m an “oldest child” and we tend to be highly perfectionist and have a need to be better, smarter, faster than everyone around us.  Like the rest of you, I drag my baggage through life and though it’s gotten substantially lighter, bashing myself was still a pretty big item I hadn’t really let go when I got here.

I’m noticing lately that the change manifests itself in a number of ways:

  • When I look back on the “past” me, it is with a lot more love and tenderness.  If you’ve been reading me for long, you know how often I’ve been known to say when I looked back at that old me, I didn’t even like her.  I’m over that.  I look back and see my mistakes and wrong beliefs and selfishness, and I’m able to view it all with the same compassion that I have extended much more easily to others.  It’s disorienting, but I love it.  It boils down to:  it doesn’t hurt to look back, and I don’t have to stomp my foot and say how much better the “now” me is than the “then” me.  I can just be happier without letting insecurity cause me to puff up my chest.  That’s freedom.
  • I catch myself when I’m bashing me, whether aloud or silently in my head.  I may not be at a 100% recovery rate, but WOW I am learning to shut up the negativity.
  • I notice improvements and celebrate them kind of exuberantly, not in a “pride” kind of way but more just encouraging myself along the way and celebrating what God is up to in me.  That would have felt awkward and somehow wrong if I had tried it not so long ago, but today it just reads as giving myself what I would easily give someone else.
  • I am discovering my right to exist and not be less-than in this world.  This one is hard to explain without sounding all self-helpish and not very Christ-centered.  Perhaps this will make it clearer:  I seem to be slowly and steadily outgrowing my compulsion to be a people-pleaser.

Most of this was started in a major way when I went through the “-anon” 12 steps in 2010, but living in community has taken that good beginning and multiplied it exponentially.  I continue to be intrigued by the many things God shows me about me as I lean into Him to teach me how to live closely among others.

Meh.  I feel like I’m tripping over my words tonight.  That’s what happens when I let days go between blogs.  I also feel self-conscious sharing all this me, me, me stuff…but it’s out there because God has shown me constantly that where I lay parts of my journey bare, it touches others’ journeys.  And that’s what I’m here for, eh?

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