The Guilt of Gracefulness

It strikes me.

How a word as beautiful as “Graceful” can incur such guilt.

Graceful… all that I am not.

Guilt.

I should be more patient with my family, intentional with my time, dutiful with my domestic responsibilities.

I should take the time to understand the hearts of my children, be understanding, empathetic, listening. Graceful.

I am a Counselor after all.

But I’m often not.

I’m often short, uninterested, impatient, bored, slow to listen… graceless.

Ah, the guilt of Gracefulness.

But then I add guilt upon guilt.

How can such a lovely word bring me so much guilt? I’m supposed to understand and embrace the grace which I’ve been given! To walk in the freedom of God’s amazing grace… and then extend it to others.

More guilt.

Guilt because I feel guilt at the thought of gracefulness and all I lack.

Am I alone here? Or just brutally honest with this moment?

The truth is, regardless of what guilt is borne… is that grace, amazing grace, is extended to me. And it is not dependent on my feelings, my insights, my intuition, my low levels of patience and empathy… it is a free gift handed to me. I can take it or refuse it, left to wallow in my guilt.

The guilt of my gracelessness comes from a very different a place. A place that does not love me, cherish me, call my it’s own child by name… does not forgive, build up, encourage, or offer peace and reconciliation.

So this day… I cast off and reject the guilt of all that I’m not… and I choose all that I am.

God’s extension of grace.

Redeemed.

Restored.

Whole.

Perfected.

Graced.

Five Minute FridayThanks for joining me on another 5-minute Friday. It feels so good! And it’s only five minutes!!!!

 

The Constance of Change

“Change is the only constant” -Heraclitus

And while change is definitely always constant… it is not the only constant. And it is certainly an inconsistent constant. But I digress.

Change.

Everything changes.

My body has changed since birthing children and hitting milestones in age.

How I spend my time has changed based on desires, hopes, dreams, and life circumstances.

My entire life has changed after selling everything and moving my family to Germany.

My children grow, transform, bloom… always changing and always headed toward the “great departure” into adulthood.

My friends and family change.

The weather and seasons change… especially in Kandern! It’s sunny one minute, thundering the next.

Presidents, kings, priests… come and go.

Pop culture, propaganda, mainstream media… always changing.

The definition of beauty is fickle and flighty.

How can one be a person who does not like change… and yet be a part of this world? I can only imagine that such persons are quite miserable… always. Perhaps this is another constant… miserable change-resistant people in a constantly changing world.

One thing, however, does not change.

Or, person, rather.

God does not change. He is constant. His view on beauty, on morality, and life-giving, life-bringing truths… timeless.

James 1:17- Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Psalm 102:24-27-  So I said: “Do not take me away, my God, in the midst of my days; your years go on through all generations. In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded.But you remain the same, and your years will never end.”

What assurance I find in knowing that while everything around me is in constant flux, there is One who is not. The One who holds the breath of all things… holds my breath… does not shift like the shadows, or weather in Kandern, or ideas on beauty worldwide. His thoughts for me are eternal and not based on the lastest fad or cultural trend. His sights are set on things beyond the visible while my eyes limit me to visions of only what is seen.

This, then, is how a person who resists change may continue to love life, misery cast aside, enjoying (or just bearing up) the changes that must be endured. Knowing that there is indeed One who does not see as we see, hear as we hear, experience limitations as we experience them.

One who is not surprised by the surprises that catch us.

Perhaps change is constant…

but not as constant as our Creator, Savior, Friend.

Five Minute FridayThis has been another 5-minute Friday 🙂

 

The Mile Before the Race

My dear Dorina Gilmore and I after completing our run 🙂

I remember circling the track… before the race even began.

We’d done our warm up exercises and were taking a little jog. Or so I thought.

“Why are we running a mile before the race even starts?” I panted at my dear friend. A friend who got this non-runner running this thing. Stretching me into spaces of life I was sure I didn’t belong. Runners.

“Well, you know how that first mile is the hardest? We run that hard first mile and get it over with… then when the race starts, it’s out of the way and only gets better from the start!”

Huh.

Actually… that makes some sense.

It’s definitely true that the first mile of a run is the most painful, hard to endure, frustrating mile of the race. At least in my opinion. And though every thing in me wanted to say, “don’t add an EXTRA mile to an already long race!” her words made sense. Why not get that yucky one out of the way and start the race ready to go?

I had also struggled with this concept in our trainings. Warm up? WHY? Sometimes the stretching and warming up was as hard as the workout! Why not just skip the stretching? Or skip the workout? Shoot, a nice cold pepsi in a hot tub sounded great.

But alas, week after week, we stretched, trained, and prepared for the race.

So here I was, running a mile before the race even began… doing all things in opposition to my brain’s complaints yet compelled by love for Haitians, orphans, and my Glmores. 🙂

The race began… and to date, it was my best run ever. No joke.

That doesn’t make it a good run by any professional runner’s standards… I think I was in the bottom ten… but it was my best time ever.

My reflection on that whole experience has been foundational in much of my non-running life since.

The importance of stretching. The warm up. The preparation.

It gets the “yucky” part of the journey out of the way… so that when the real deal comes along… the move across the world, the new job, the new language to be learned, the new child to parent, the new spouse, the loss of a loved one… whatever it may be…. everything leading up to it has been a chance to stretch, to warm up, to prepare.

If we’ve refused and rejected those times of stretching… brushed them off and opted for the easy, comfortable, and tangible… then we’ve skipped the training and jumped right into a marathon without building up our muscles and body for the task given to it.

But when we’ve embraced the difficult, even in the small things, and practiced perfecting our positive attitudes, made choices that lead to good and healthy change, and dealt with feelings for what they are… then we are prepared for the bigger challenges that come our way. We’ve built up the endurance we need for those deep valleys.

To stretch and be stretched.

Painful in the moment… priceless during the race.

Crossing the finish line of the Cross City Race… 10K!

Five Minute Friday

This has been another 5 Minute Friday post! 🙂 It keeps me writing in this crazy transition of moving across the world…