Grace is the only real transformative currency. You have probably learned by now that judging, criticizing and shaming people does not really produce great results. It may change people’s behavior, but in the long run, it just produces more and more shame. You shame your kids, then they feel ashamed and shame their kids. They way out is to find grace for yourself, and you will at that same time find it for others. To some of you, this may seem like cheap grace or “letting people off the hook,” but what else is there? I dare you to try it. Are you holding back on receiving grace for yourself?
You will be able to forgive others as soon as you are ready to accept forgiveness for yourself. The things we do not forgive in others are the same things we refuse to forgive in ourselves. Alternatively, as soon as you are ready to receive grace into your greatest shame, you will be able to offer the same to another. If you can be forgiven then so can I, and vice versa. Grace reaches both of us at the same time; it is the great equalizer.
When you learn to trust, I believe you will begin to trust EVERYONE. Now most of us choose who we trust, which is wise in a way, especially when you are talking about actually entrusting yourself to people. But I believe you can also learn to trust the people who have hurt you continually and will continue to do so. Trusting those who have hurt you looks like this: forgiving them and giving them over to their own devices.
When you learn to trust, it means you realize those people who have hurt you really do not have any control over you and you act like it. You forgive them and you may even feel compassion for them. That is trust. You are not scared of them. And you also trust them enough to allow them to continue to make the decisions they make, hoping they will dig their own grave and somehow come to their senses.
May we all learn to trust more.
I wonder what the world would be like if we did not work so hard to avoid everything. So much in our lives exists to help deaden our senses: not only drugs and drink, but electronics and countless other diversions. If we really felt everything there is to feel, I wonder if we would fall apart. The world seems like it would drastically change if we just accepted and encountered the pain of our circumstances head on, as it is. But we do not. We anesthetize in order to avoid feeling too much.
So much of our stress must come from this mentality of scarcity, which is borne of the belief that there is not enough. There is never enough time, money, energy, love, so we hunker down and protect what we do have. We have this irritability that springs from the belief that if we do not fiercely guard our space, time, energy and money, someone will come and take them from us. It’s true: people will take what you give them, and there is also this ethic of going the extra mile and forgiveness.
How can we do this? With the belief that there is enough to go around – that if you give of your time and energy and money, you will somehow receive the same – enough to live on. Now I believe we cannot say yes to everything. There is a time to say no, but how many times are we saying no out of miserliness or unforgiveness and calling it “boundaries”?
Remember that there is a natural rhythm to life. You must work and you must rest. Too much of either of those is not a good thing. If you are constantly working and not resting, you will run yourself into the ground. And if you rest too much, you will actually make yourself more tired. Instead, it is wise to heed the adage: “work hard, play hard.” When you are working, you should give yourself to it fully, not constantly wishing for rest while you do it. And when you are resting, you should give yourself to that fully, not constantly feeling the need to work. When you do one well, you will be able to do the other with equal abandon.