I’ve heard both words a lot these last weeks. ‘Grace’ and ‘Acceptance’... All related to the adjustment in my life and the things that are in my past, present and future. Stay with me on this one...I’m going to try to put some intricate pieces together.
For years I’ve been the ‘ostrich with its head in the sand’, fighting off the difficult obstacles in life by merely ignoring them. And it’s been a prevalent issue that is quite embarrassing. You see, I am surrounded by normal ‘everyday’ folks who manage to charge through and find traction under any or all circumstances. Funny that I use that word, because it was the focal point of a recent sermon I heard here in Reno two weeks ago. ‘Friction Creates Traction’. (Living Stones Reno)
If you were to define the word ‘Accept’, almost all of you would write that it’s a word representing the understanding of one’s limitations...and being OK with the outcomes associated, whether good or bad, after addressing them with the best of the person’s ability. But not me. I did it different. I accepted things to simply ignore the hardship of facing them.
Behind on deadlines? cool...no worries...it’ll work itself out. Mortgage payment? cool, I’ll pay it up to date when I can. Righting a wrong with another person? Yeah, um...I’ll get to them in a bit. I don’t wanna stir the pot.
The above seems like it’s very dismissive. And yes, it is. But that’s been my version of acceptance for many of my breathing years. It’s the wrong definition though. Let’s use another word in its place - ignorance.
There’s now a daily onslaught of reworking this approach. It’s almost absurd to think that I’ve dodged and weaved my way through life, considering that I’m quite capable, and have been all along, of problem-solving my way through very difficult or stressful times. I’ve just been fearful of outcomes and judgements. “So you’re saying you worry about what everyone else thinks about you, Chris?” ... Yes. and it’s been a critical failing point.
It was brought to my attention, and in detail, that I’ve let others run my show. When this tiny little morsel of information was spelled out for me, it really changed everything. No-one will judge me for falling down, breaking or even getting it all wrong IF I’m doing it honestly and the best I can. The flip side? If I drop the ball and ignore it...or create an intentional oversight. Again, that’s just me showing ignorance.
“You’ve always needed an element of chaos in your life to feel normal. If you have something that is broken, that chaos removes expectation. But if you don’t, it moves you out of your comfort zone and all hell breaks loose. You’ve created that warped threshold”, says a close friend of mine.
And THERE is the proof that I think with too much projection and that my decision making is typically driven by how I perceive people to possibly react (When they’re probably not even paying a lick of attention in the first place!)...all hypothetical outcomes!
Which brings me to the term ‘Grace’. And I may lose a few folks here...but this is an important part of my spiritual connection. I was raised with the understanding that all hellfire and brimstone would unleash upon me with any sign of me straying from my Christian path. How friggin’ ironic. I made it happen regardless! But in the midst of having religion forced down my neck, I was able to find the deeper essence. It wasn’t man-made. It was, and still is, a subtle and Divine protection. I’ve chosen the path I’ve walked my whole adult life but was never truly accepting of what that spiritual existence may actually mean to me or if there was anything in store. I assumed for years that if my life was coming unglued then God must have forsaken me. How can I serve a god that would only offer punishment and consequence? I didn’t want to be held accountable to these incomprehensible standards!!
Truth is, I’ve never been judged or punished, but rather, I’ve been given opportunities of grace. I have countless moments throughout my life where I should have been set on fire from the heat of rage and anger, discontentment, shame and guilt...and lastly, that thing I called ignorance. In all those years, doing all those things, there’s been a protective hand over me...willing to guide me...yet I was unwilling to be guided.
I choose to be willing. I choose to let the reigns go to allow the direction God intends to take me actually happen. This is one more truth about me that I’m finding needs to be public because it’s something I can’t live without anymore. My biggest secret has been my faith...more irony. A flame will die if placed under a glass...but hopefully the glass shatters from the heat before the flame is extinguished. That moment is happening now. Im watching the glass break and fall away.
I accept who I am and the imperfections I’ve created... I am willing to accept the grace of my friends and of God. But don’t expect me to keep doing what I’ve always done.
Thanks for letting me unload a few more discoveries... I never promised this would be perfectly written or captivating. It’s just my own journal with very public entries.