Failing with Grace

 

It seems opposites attract. Which includes my husband and me.

He wants to arrive early. I like to arrive just on time.

Can you see a problem?

He will announce, “Time to go,” or ask, “are you ready to go?” half an hour before we need to be walking out the door. Even before he is ready.

Me. I like to get dressed and ready right before it is time to leave the house. No need to stop what I am doing and get ready and then sit around for 15 minutes waiting to leave.

I think you can see we approach getting ready to leave the house a little differently. He may be ready 15 minutes early and waiting, while I am choosing out my clothes 15 minutes before it is time to leave, putting my shoes on as it is time to walk out the door.

And because of our differences and the way we approach getting ready, you can imagine that I don’t like to be hurried and rushed, and he hates waiting.

Is anyone relating to this? Laughing at one of us or both of us? Laughing at themselves or someone else?

You can imagine that this has caused us both frustration. Words of frustration. Looks of frustration. And even to be late sometimes.

It has also caused us to be more patient and love one another in all things. As well as move towards compromise.

Over time he has waited longer to get ready and I have made more of an effort to be ready on time.

Sometimes I am even ready early. Which causes the angles and hubby to sing.

 

It is so easy to fail, or feel like we failed.

 

Last Sunday I was rushing to get ready, while hubby was sitting in the car, waiting ten minutes. According to my clock I emerged from the house exactly on time. According to his clock, I was ten minutes late. According to the church clock, we were 12 minutes before the start of service.

Well unfortunately, words were said. A comment by him as I arrived to the car, and a retort by me. Frustrations aired. Then silence.

I think you can relate.

We get frustrated at our self. At others.

And then we make unhealthy choices for the relationship. We say things we don’t really mean. Think negative things of them and our self. Blame gets distributed like a bad penny, and pride becomes a stumbling block.

What to do when you feel like a failure. 

 

So, what can we do when we get frustrated at our self or at others? When we fail yet again? When we mess up in life? Sin?

Here are a few things we can do:

1. Keep the relationship front and center.  The relationship is more important than winning or proving you are right. Focus on stating your feelings and point of view without attacking the other person. The person is not the problem, their behavior is. (Wanting to be early does not make someone a bad person, so don’t attack them in a way that makes them think they are bad for wanting to be early.)

2. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. It is easier to listen to the other person’s complaints when we try to understand why our behavior irritates them. When we look at the problem from their point of view. Compassion and empathy create understanding and dissipate anger. (I know I don’t like to wait, so I can understand why you are frustrated.)

3. Start with a compliment, then address the problem. People are more willing to listen when you notice the good before moving to the bad. (I like how you want to look nice for church. And boy do you look nice. Next time can you work on being on time?)

4. Stop pride in its tracks ­– apologize. Swallow the rising defensiveness and just ask for their forgiveness. Saying we are sorry often stops a fight from developing.

5. Keep a sense of humor. Laughter dissipates frustration and anger.

Hubby will sometimes sing a “Hallelujah” or two from Handel’s Messiah when I get in the car after he has been waiting, which usually gets us laughing. It communicates his point in a playful manner and also drops the matter.

6. Learn from the experience and focus on the future. This is not the time to relive the past, shame and blame, accuse, punish, or silently berate yourself with negative self-talk. Stop and jump off the shame and blame merry-go-round. It does no one any good. You can’t change the past. So, focus on the future. What will you do next time? Ask went wrong this time? Make a plan. Identify something you can do next time. It helps when we replay the situation in your mind, this time choosing to do the right thing.

7. Remember life is a journey – two steps forward and one back. Give yourself grace. Give them grace. Change happens slowly for them and you(baby steps), and not without reverting backwards. This is why we must set reasonable goals. We can’t say I will never be late again and strive for that goal, because we will fail and be late again.

8. Celebrate your effort – not just your success. Because you will fail, and often, celebrate your effort. Did you start getting ready 10 minutes earlier than normal, but were still late? Well, then at least pat yourself on the back for making progress in the right direction and making an effort to change your habit of being late. Then try again. And again.

9. Remember your identity. So, you made a mistake. Sinned. Failed. Made a bad decision. None of these affect your worth. Make you a bad person. Cause you to be a failure. You are still loved and called Beloved by your heavenly father. You are even loved by those around you. Friends and family do not love you because you are perfect, no, they love you because of who you are, imperfections and all.

10. Don’t compare yourself to others. First, you don’t know the whole story. Second, everyone’s journey and struggles are different. (Comparing yourself to others is often jumping back on the shame and blame or beat yourself up merry-go-round. Or else the I-am-better merry-go-round of pride.)

11. Give yourself permission to be a work in progress, and then extend that permission to those around you. Treat them the way you want to be treated; treat yourself as you would treat a good friend. (Notice I said “good friend” because we can be so harsh with ourselves. Harsher than anyone else is to us.)

12. Let it Go. Don’t hang on to anger. Don’t bring it up again and again. Don’t dwell on it in a negative fashion. Give it to God and move on.

 

Coping with failure.  Remember what’s important. 

 

Always grace to self. Grace to others. God’s grace showering down and freely given round.

No accusing, blaming, shaming. No negative self-talk. No punishing. These don’t change us or others for the better.

What changes us, and others, is grace, love, and forgiveness. Freely given gifts from God which we pass on to others.

You are a work-in-progress and on a journey that will never reach perfection in this lifetime.

Let yourself be a work in progress. God does.

Let others be a work in progress. God does.

Extend grace. Repent. Forgive. Move forward.

Repeat for a lifetime.

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa

If you need some weekly encouragement and hope, tied up with some humor? Subscribe and join the journey. Life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the Discussion: How are you letting yourself fail with grace? 

May link up at Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory);  Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Arabah Joy (#Grace & Truth).

Will the Real You Please Stand?

 

Do you ever see someone else and suddenly do a double take?

Maybe they look like your twin. Are wearing something you own. Saying something you would say. Have the same name and hair color. Or they have some quirky mannerism you have been teased about all your life.

Anyway, you stop and stare and can’t quite tear your eyes away from them, even if you are beginning to feel a bit like a scary stalker.

We were ordering ice cream when I turned around and there was a lady walking towards us with her husband and kids. And darn, if she wasn’t wearing my skirt — the same blue pencil skirt splashed with brown and tan flowers that I had at home in my closet.

I looked at her again and realized it wasn’t my size, so she hadn’t snuck into my closet and borrowed, or stolen my skirt. But what was she doing with my skirt?

I kept watching her, feeling like she was imitating me. Like she had stolen my identity. As if I was somehow watching myself. I was caught in a deja-vu moment. I couldn’t tear my eyes away.

I felt like saying, “Will the real Theresa please stand up!”

 

How I let my self-identity and worth be stolen?

 

It was a skirt I had bought last year. One I thought conveyed my personality. Of course, I knew I hadn’t bought the only one. But it was the first time I had bumped into someone wearing something I owned. Something so distinctive. Not like a gray t-shirt or black leggings that everyone else had.

We eventually wandered away, but I kept thinking about that lady wearing my skirt.

Obviously, she wasn’t trying to imitate me or pretend to be me, but it kinda felt like it. And it felt like maybe she was a better me.

Suddenly I felt like I wasn’t as unique as I thought I was. Or was told I was.

I wondered if she had the same taste in clothes as me. In what other ways were we alike?

She didn’t steal my identity, but suddenly it felt compromised. Almost fake. Not quite real.

And yet I was still the same person. Nothing had changed, expect I had seen another woman wearing my skirt.

On a good day this would have had me laughing and complimenting her good taste, but on that day it had me doubting and wondering.

Maybe because she looked more put together than I did. She appeared more confident, relaxed, and her children were smiling and looked to be about perfect.

She didn’t look like she had fought with her toddler to get his shoes on. Made only popcorn and apple slices for dinner. Had a run in with her teen. Or words with her husband.

See, that is what comparison looks like. Them winning, and you feeling lower than a flattened and blackened penny.

And all because she was wearing my skirt that I thought looked like me. Maybe was me, on some days.

Self-identity and worth, what contributes to them?

 

If we are not careful our identity gets stolen. Compromised. Hidden. Disbelieved.

We doubt ourselves. Question ourselves. Compare ourselves. Feel like imposters.

We do everything but believe the truth of God. Who says we are his beloved. His child bought and paid for. Whom he delights in.

We instead listen to the voices in our head. The voices whispered by our enemy saying we are not enough or do enough. We listen to the voices of society that tells us we should be all and do all.

The lies get louder than the truth. They dare us to prove them wrong, and we can’t. Not of our own power. Not of our own strength.

Improving your identity and self-worth problems.

 

Ladies, this is our dilemma.  Are we going to believe the voices of others that lie to us, or are we going to choose to believe the truth teller who loves more than we can even fathom?

Are we going to argue and protest and say no way when he calls us beloved? Or are we going to say thank you and accept the free gift he is handing us?

Are we going to try to earn our worth and identity by what we do and accomplish, or accept what he has accomplished for us and freely gives us?

Are we going to believe the lies swirling in our head and around us, or believe his truth captured in written words?

Don’t let someone or yourself tell you that you are not of worth. Because you are. Not because of what you say or do, but because he says you are.

Don’t let your past, present, mistakes, sins, or faults determine your identity. We don’t need to be perfect because he is.

Don’t let your identity be determined by others — your mother, kids, husband, friend, boss, teacher, co-worker, neighbor, or your negative self-talk. Evaluate their words and see if they are true? Right? Do they align with your true identity given by God?

Tell yourself the truth daily. Tell your sisters the truth. Your children. Your mate. Your co-workers and neighbors.

You are valuable. Loved. Precious. Enough. Your worth comes from being his and not what we do or say.

Let us proclaim the truth loudly and drown out the lies that are swirling through the air stealing and trying to change our God given identity. Our worth.

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa

 

P.S. To protect our identity and worth we need to listen to the right voices. What Voices Are You Listening To?


If you need some weekly encouragement and hope, tied up with some humor? Subscribe and join the journey. Life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the Discussion: What steals your worth or identity?

May link up at Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory);  Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Arabah Joy (#Grace & Truth).

What is Helping You Survive These Winter Months?

 

My grandparents headed to Arizona during the winter months, leaving me wondering why they left every year and why on Sunday nights we couldn’t visit them. Now with each passing winter, I understand more and more why they headed south. South towards the sun and warm balmy days.

Heading south is not an option, though. Even if I live where it is cold outside. So, what are we to do?

Winter blows in with cold temperatures. At first it is fun to wear those winter coats, sweaters, and long sleeve shirts that have been lying unused. Christmas arrives, amid parties and a flurry of activities that take minds off the cold. January arrives, and there is a new meaning to cold. To darkness. To dreary, now that all the Christmas decorations and lights are packed away.

It feels like there is nothing to do but hunker down and wait.

Then February sneaks in, and while the days are getting a little longer, it feels like winter will never end. The weather is unpredictable and cancels calendar plans. Sickness stalks the aisles.  The house feels like it will never be warm again.

By February, I tend to wear the few same things over and over. What does it matter what cute shirt I wear as a hoodie or thick sweater tops everything? And when I venture out, a coat tends to stay on more often then not. I feel like I will never be toasty warm again.

As February unfolds, I need to force myself outside for walks. To leave the house more often. To remind myself that winter has never lasted forever. To feed our souls. 

 

Find things that nourish your soul.

 

It seems that during this time period, this waiting for winter to end, it is little things that tend to bring me happiness. Little things that make me smile. Little things that brighten my day. Little things that sustain me.

Hot tea with honey and milk.

Fingerless gloves.

Good books.

Blankets to snuggle under.

Conversations with family and friends.

Windows that spill in light and sunshine.

Planning summer trips and activities.

A happy (bright colored) winter coat.

Flannel sheets, topped with a down comforter.

Pie of any kind.

Hugs

Words of hope and truth.

Memories of warmer times and places.

A good belly laugh.

Thoughts of spring and knowing it will return.

Knowing that I am not the only one waiting. Hoping. Dreaming of spring.

So, what bringing you happiness during winter?

What is sustaining you in these cold winter months?

 

How to nurture yourself.

 

Don’t wait until spring to be happy and satisfied. Find something that can sustain you now.

Winter is a time of rest, regrouping, and refreshing so growth emerges forth come spring.

Winter is a time of counting different blessings and finding joy in the starkness that surrounds us.

We may have to look harder to find the positive, to notice our blessings, to find the joy, but it is there.

Find it. Count it. Do it. Be happy. And then share that happiness with others.   

All that sharing will create community that lasts long past the seasons.

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa

If you need some weekly encouragement and hope, tied up with some humor? Subscribe and join the journey. Life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the discussion: What is bringing you happiness and helping you get through these winter months?

May link up at Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory);  Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Arabah Joy (#Grace & Truth).