Grace for Myself

Every year around the beginning of the year, I hear many of my friends talking about a word that God lays on their heart as kind of their “theme” for the year. I haven’t ever gotten into that, though maybe I should. At the end of a year, I can often look back and tell you what my “word” would have been. For 2011, the word would have been “grace”. 

I recently finished reading What’s So Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancey, a book that every Christian should read. I got quite a different perspective of grace…a deeper understanding from it. Grace is a word pretty unique to the Christian religion. We always here about God’s grace, having grace for others, etc. Grace is often synonymous with forgiveness, though it is more than that. 

On my mind the past few weeks has been something that I’ve always struggled with. I don’t hold grudges. I’m quick to forgive—everyone but myself. 

There’s such an emphasis on forgiving others. We learn all about God’s grace for us, how undeserving we are, but how much He loves us. But how much grace do we bestow upon ourselves? I know it’s often the last thing on my mind, and therefore, that has been my biggest struggle for a long time. 

Writers, in general, are often the hardest on themselves. Something about the way our minds work, I’m sure. All that creativity and passion channeled into our lives, be it a WIP, family, or whatever else we have in our lives. 

If we don’t forgive ourselves, what does that say about our trust in God? “God, I know you forgave me and are giving me the 1,035th chance, but I just can’t Maybe you, the God of the Universe, just didn’t get it right this time. There’s no hope for me.” Pretty ridiculous, huh? 

I think, though, for me, the closer I am to God in my daily life, the better able I am to accept His unfailing grace. The better understanding I have of grace, the more willing I am to allow me to have grace for myself. Another chance. Even if it is the 1036th time.

I’ve learned so much about myself and about grace this year. I’ve accepted my many imperfections and flaws, realizing that I am only human. Perfection is not within my grasp—and the day it is will be the day I embrace my Savior in Heaven. 

As we come to the last couple of months of the year—a time of reflection during Thanksgiving, and a time of hope for the future as we celebrate the birth of our Saviror—I think I’ll embrace the joy of a lesson learned. Maybe I’ll even pray for my own word for 2012. I wonder what God has in store for me?

About Ralene Burke

Whether she’s wielding a fantasy writer’s pen, a freelance editor’s sword, or a social media wand, Ralene Burke always has her head in some dreamer’s world. And her goal is to make it SHINE! She has worked for a variety of groups, including Realm Makers, The Christian PEN, Kentucky Christian Writers Conference, and as an editor for a number of freelance clients. Her first novel, Bellanok, is being published as a 4-part serial! When her head’s not in the publishing world, she is wife to a veteran and homeschooling mama to their three kids. Her Pinterest board would have you believe she is a master chef, excellent seamstress, and all around crafty diva. If she only had the time . . .

5 comments on “Grace for Myself

  1. Lovely post, Ralene! I think sometime as Christians we worry that forgiving ourselves is being selfish or something. The we have to deny ourselves even the things God *wants* us to have to prove ourselves humble or whatever. But the Bible says to love others “as you love yourself.” Man, if most of us loved other people the way we love/treat ourselves, we’d be rather rotten friends! We’d demand too much from others, not forgive them, not give enough time for them to rest, and push them to the point where their stress would affect their health. Sometimes we need to turn that verse around and say, “Love yourself as you do others.”

  2. I think I would only reiterate what Kat so eloquently wrote in her comment.

    I/we ( you and I) Ralene, are blessed to be able to say that we don’t hold grudges. It’s true. I’ve been on this Christian kick* for almost 18 years and though I have so much to learn I have learned that we are only hindering our own walk slash journey and blessings when we hold grudges and save forgiveness for those who “deserve” it.

    So what does that mean, should we hold things against ourselves? Exactly.

    We only prevent US from everything God has in store for us. Indeed, how Kate ended her comment: “Love yourself…” is utmost truth. God wants us to.

    Do we know more than God? Are we saying His words and Spirit don’t know what they’re talking about? We are-when we don’t accept His forgiveness.

    *for any who would scoff at me calling it a “kick”-semantics.

  3. It’s hard to forgive myself most often because I know what I was doing when I did that *whatever* and I know I’m mostly sorry I got caught. ‘Cause if I were sorry for doing it, I wouldn’t have, right? Paul said something about that in Romans…

    Satan uses so many lies to separate us from God but it’s really all the same lie – that God is the liar. We can’t trust Him to be Who He is and do what He says and love like He does.

    That’s a mystery it will take all eternity for me to get.

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