Making Room for Grace

I’m a goal setter. That’s how I get from point A to point B. That’s how I stay motivated and keep my feet moving when everything in me just wants to stop. The goal was straight As at the end of this insanely difficult semester. And so my feet kept propelling me to the library, or a coffee shop – wherever it was that I could keep working towards that goal.

Over the last few years, I’ve learned that the process is worth far more than the end product. I’ve learned to honor the journey as a beautiful gift, just as worthy of celebration as the destination. But I can’t deny that I’m a goal setter. And once again, confronted with the endless possibilities of 7 weeks of school-free summer, I have decided who I want to be, come August 26th.

I want to be in a healthier state than I’m in right now. That means picking up where I left off about a month ago at the gym. It means sitting at that one spot by the river at the same time every morning, coffee and journal in hand, fighting to mend my broken relationship with God. It means going back to therapy, even though those dollars would make for many fun trips and copious amounts of goat cheese always residing in my fridge. It means doing something that scares me every week, like my dear old friend just challenged me to. It means reading a lot, and dancing a lot, and biking a lot, and loving a lot. To borrow the words of my new favorite author, Shauna Niequist, “I want my everyday to make God belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift.”

While all of these things are reasonable and commendable, the most important thing I’m certain I’ll forget most days this summer is to give myself grace.

On the days when I skip the gym cause I’m feeling lazy and hormonal, or the mornings when I feel like God’s a no-show at our spot, or the weeks where I choose cowardice instead of bravery, I want to remember that grace applies to me. That grace is for me, and not just the people around me. That grace doesn’t keep count of the many times and ways I mess up, or the terrible decisions I make. That grace is limitless, boundless, offering chance after endless chance. That grace doesn’t demand perfection. That grace unravels the threads of shame and weaves together a story of beauty and freedom and joy.

I want to be fully present wherever I find myself this summer – in sickness and in health, in plenty or famine, in community or lonesome. No beating myself up for not being where I think I should be, at the expense of embracing where I am. At the end of this summer, I’ll ask myself – like I so often do – if I’m proud of the life I’m living. I hope I can say yes, not just because of my list of achieved goals, but because I never once left empty the space where grace should be.

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