Grace is something that's hard for me to understand.
"Reap what you sow," "you get what you pay for," "he got what he deserved," "justice was served."
Experiencing grace is always a humbling experience for me. Whether it is receiving something I DON'T deserve, or not receiving something that I DO deserve, my first reaction to grace is often a feeling of "I'm not worthy."
I love being able to show people grace, but sometimes that's incredibly hard to do. Choosing to respond in love, instead of responding in anger, is so rewarding, and worth it.
This school year, but specifically this semester, I've been placed in a position that I never experienced in high school. I've had to have grace for myself. See, I'm an extremely competitive person, and that reveals itself most when I'm around people who are bigger, faster, stronger, and smarter than me. At West Point, I'm always around people who are bigger, faster, stronger, and smarter than me. I've learned that constantly living in a state of competition doesn't work for me, and is in fact incredibly exhausting, both mentally and emotionally. How do I push myself to succeed and get better, without getting discouraged by looking around? Where's the line between healthily caring what other people think, and needing their approval?
There's a tension between my competitive side, which wants to fight to be #1 and is constantly getting frustrated with itself, and the side of me that wants to keep the status quo, equilibrium.
Having grace for myself is the only remedy to this tension, it seems. Realizing that my competitive side can push me to get better, but also realizing that it's ok if I'm not He-Man is refreshing. But it's not easy. At all.
It makes me wonder how Jesus does it. If I get frustrated with myself on a regular basis, how much more does Papa have the right to be frustrated with me? Yet He doesn't. His grace is eternal, everlasting, all-encompassing.
It's a mystery I'm not sure I'll ever understand.
Do you have an experience with grace that you'd like to share?