What is grace?
Grace is knowing that I am an imperfect person, and that I am loved anyways.
Grace is knowing that I am worthy and valuable, outside of my actions.
Grace is NOT dependent on my performance or how much I do each day.
Grace is a free gift.
Grace is the vehicle for self compassion and permanent change in my life. You’re welcome to define where your grace comes from; I find mine in Jesus.
If you work with me one-on-one you know I talk about grace a LOT. I have my clients exercise grace in their goals, grace in their weekly action steps, and grace in how they are speaking to themselves every single day.
(I practice grace in all of the same areas.)
Why do I think grace is so important?
One reason I believe grace is so important is because of how detrimental I see it to be to NOT know our value outside of our actions/performance.
Lies we believe about our worth being based in performance:
- If I feel good about my work today, therefore I am valuable and worthy.
- If I feel bad about my work today, I am no longer valuable. I am not worth it.
Basing our worth in these areas makes me GUT WRENCHINGLY, SAD. Things that can stem from this place: mental illness, depression, sadness, and insecurity.
We all know how important these things are to take care of. Especially today.
Cue… the absolute importance of grace.
YOU are valuable REGARDLESS of your performance. We’re all human. None of us are perfect. We ALL fall short. That’s normal. Join the club. You’re welcome here.
If we don’t trust our value apart from our actions, we will constantly be on the hamster wheel of striving, go-go-go, do-do-do, earn-earn-earn, in order to (maybe) feel valued.
Rather, if we know we are valuable first (you ARE), then… we can choose our actions wisely, in a way that serves us and others.
For example, recently in a session with a client we talked through a bookshelf visual.
On this client’s mental bookshelf were all of the things in her life that she valued.
We looked at what it looks like when she’s tries to give her attention to every single “book” (aka, thing in her life that she values) at the same time.
She recognized that when she does that, she’s not able to give her BEST to anything.
When she’s striving to feel valuable or “good” by trying to be a good employee, girlfriend, friend, daughter, exerciser, healthy eater, spiritual person, etc. all at the same time… she feels fatigue. Scattered. Not fulfilled in any area.
EVEN THOUGH, technically, she’s got everything she values in her life. Her bookshelf is full.
We processed through how much of her attention she was able to give to each area when she’s focused on ALL of her values at once (because she didn’t WANT to not be a “good” friend, girlfriend, co-worker, etc. She WANTED to be great at EVERYTHING).
She was able to recognize that when she is trying to gain approval through perfectionism and feeling like she’s not letting any area down by paying attention to every area at once, she is not able to give her best to any area.
In this case, grace looks like recognizing that we CAN do everything (or MOST things), but that we cannot do everything at once.
So instead of spreading ourselves thin and running ourselves into the ground trying to do everything, we can use GRACE to step back and recognize that in order to give our best to the things we care about, we can only choose a few things from mental bookshelves, so to speak, at once.
Grace reminds us that we can love and adore everything on that bookshelf and STILL not give every area our attention 100% of the time.
It’s OKAY to love and/or exercise and choose not to do it today.
It’s OKAY to consider work important and not work until 11:00 PM every night.
It’s OKAY to love your partner and not spend every moment of your free time together.
It’s OKAY to love your parents and not have dinner with them EVERY SINGLE week.
It’s OKAY to love your girlfriends and not say yes to every single thing they invite you to.
It’s OKAY to ask the babysitter to stay an extra hour so you can have time alone; you’re still a great mom and you still love your kid(s).
Know your boundaries. Know what season of life you’re in. Know what you need.
Give yourself GRACE.
You are valuable no matter what…
You are loved no matter what…
You are worthy of love, no matter what…
Grace gives us permission to focus only on what’s in front of us without feeling like we are neglecting everything else.
Grace reminds us that we are not superhuman. (None of us are.)
Grace allows us to be intentional with one value at a time, and trust that the others will be okay sitting on the shelf for a moment.
Grace teaches us that this is not only true for us, but true for the other people in our lives who are also just trying their best.
Having grace for ourselves, gives us more grace and compassion for those around us.
Grace allows us to put our expectations in a place that serves us, rather than depletes us.
I hope this post was helpful for you and explaining a little bit about what grace is. What do you think? Was this post helpful for you? Where could you have some more grace for yourself, in your own life?