Sometimes I feel like I’m losing my mind.
Take today, for instance.
I was going about my business, living my life, doing the typical Sunday stuff. You know…the stuff we put off all weekend then frantically try to complete by midnight on Sunday. It’s like we’re going to turn into a pumpkin when the clock strikes 12, so we’ve got to cram it all in after church.
And thank goodness, we made time for church, because someone needed to bless the muttering, complaining, and “less than appropriate words” stomping through our heads all afternoon. Heaven help us, if we didn’t start the day with a good dose of Jesus.
When out of nowhere, my husband snaps out of his football trance and says, “Hey…what time was that party today?”
Suddenly, everything in the room came to a screeching halt. My heart fell straight to my gut…and one of those “words” may or may not have popped out of my mouth.
The neighborhood “Happy Birthday to Jesus Party.”
How did I forget the party? It’s a birthday party for Jesus, for crying out loud. What kind of person forgets that?!?!?
Me: A tired person.
Also Me: I bet nobody else forgot the party!
Me: We just moved to this neighborhood….they are going to think I’m a total flake.
Also Me: As they should!!!
So with 15 minutes left in the party, I sucked it up and texted the host, owning the fact that I totally screwed up. I mean…I was supposed to bring the mini cupcakes. Pretty sure I ruined Jesus’ birthday!!! (And I wonder where my kids get their flair for drama…)
Then I spent the next few hours fretting. Out loud.
I must have said, “I can’t believe I did that” 100 times until finally my 8-year-old said, “MOM…give yourself a break!!”
I just knew I was going to be labeled the “flaky mom” in the neighborhood. You know, the one you invite but don’t expect to come so you don’t give her anything “important” to bring. Drinks and chips. That was my fate. I would forever be the drinks and chips mom.
But do you know what her response was?
Complete grace. Not the kind that was sent in “good Christian love” but was as fake as the 17-year-old Christmas tree sitting in our living room…no, this was legit.
She even admitted to doing the same thing just a few months ago, and I don’t even care if she was lying through her teeth to make me feel better. BLESS HER.
Why is it that we have a hard time extending this kind of grace to ourselves and to others?
Life is hard! Whether you have zero children and a thriving career or have 6 and are a stay-at-home mom…we have so many demands on us! Just being a woman and experiencing the emotional ups and downs we ride on a daily basis is hard enough! (Thanks, Eve!)
The sad truth is that I freaked out because I know the thoughts I’ve had about others who have “flaked” on me. Our first inclination is to think the worst. They didn’t want to come. They just don’t like me. They aren’t responsible. They should really manage their time better. (eye roll)
But where’s the grace? Where’s the empathy?
We’ve all been there and know we can’t be on our A-Game 100% of the time. It’s impossible. So why do we hold ourselves and others to an impossible standard?
“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” Ephesians 4:2
I’ve come to the realization that it starts with us. I have to hold myself to a standard of grace not perfection, so that I can then extend that same grace to others. How can I show others grace if I can’t even show it to myself?
I can’t. And you can’t either. So instead of freaking out when we fail or casting judgment when others do the same, let’s purpose in our hearts to give ourselves a break this Christmas season and determine that we will show more grace in the year to come.
“I will hold myself to a standard of grace not perfection.”
Merry Christmas, and God Bless!!