Saturday, April 9, 2011

Having Grace for Myself

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?



  1. I was in church about a year ago just sitting quietly and listening for God's voice when God brought to my mind a situation that I was having a very difficult time forgiving someone for. I had the grace to forgive someone who had hurt me in the past, whether they apologized or not, but not the grace to forgive someone who intentionally continued to hurt people I love, and was going to do so into the foreseeable future. Then God spoke to me in the voice of a mutual friend who sends you Dawson care packages saying, "If you really have forgiven someone, you can bless them whole heartedly."

    Long story shorter, God worked that in my heart in an instant. It was a freaking miracle. The whole burden was gone. I was walking on a cloud, for about a tenth of a second when he said, "Now do the same for yourself."

    Yeah, so, that one isn't so easy is it?

  2. @Justin thanks for your comment man. That's powerful.

  3. Colin, Thank you so much for putting those thoughts and feelings into words for us to understand better what you cadets go through there at WP. Also, know that we are so thankful that you, along with so many other fine young men and women, are there. We are truly blessed and encouraged by your willingness to sacrifice for us. We are praying daily for you and those around you. May His grace abound to you all the more!