3 Simple Questions to Invite More Grace Into Your Day
Remember getting a hall pass in school?
The hall pass meant leaving the confines of the classroom into the free open spaces. The joy of walking those quiet, empty corridors by yourself felt like you had dropped into some secret world. Even though it was only for a short time, being able to move about as you wished and on your own terms offered a loveliness like no other.
Even though it’s been a long time since I needed a hall pass, I think we all long for the freedom and the lightness of this idea. Or in grown up-terms, grace. It’s treating ourselves with a gentle kindness that says you don’t have to be so hard on yourself. Grace is like that, showing up when you are struggling and inviting you to walk into wide-open spaces.
After a difficult week of putting unrealistic demands on myself, my spirit was withering under the crushing load. I decided that was a terrible way to live. Even though completing all my to-dos wasn’t possible, I still felt bad about it. Cross-armed, toe-tapping and stern-faced me was burdening my heart with guilt. But the reality was I could be the boss of me. I needed to choose better.
I decided to try something different and give myself a bit of grace. The good news about your expectations is that no one else knows what they are but you. In fact, no one cares much about your to-do list. Because they are my expectations, I could change them. So that’s what I did. Afterward, I felt lighter. It was such a relief to say, “You know what? This demand isn’t working and no one else really cares.” I could set down my impossible list and allow rest to settle into those knotted-up places of my heart.
What’s neat about grace is that it doesn’t cost anything. It only required me to think differently. It feels funny and ironic that I am quick to give others grace, even my own dog, but hardly ever to myself. It’s wonderful to have ambitions, goals, hopes, and dreams. It’s lovely to be productive and accomplishing. Life demands that sometimes we have things we absolutely must get done. But it’s also perfectly okay to take a break or pass on things at times.
When you think about it, people who treat us with grace are the coolest to be around. The people that bring out the best in me are always the grace-filled ones. They are the ones that assume the best about me, even when I screw up or disappoint them. They remind me of my gifts and talents when they recognize I need it. They invite me to a place of a kinder, gentler way to live. They are the kind of people that hold up the vision of your best self, even when it’s far from perfect.
This week, I’ve learned that grace is best experienced personally. I’m practicing giving myself grace so it’s an easy extension for sharing with others. It certainly is a more joyful way to live instead of criticizing, condemning, and complaining. I want to be the kind of person that gives grace freely to myself as easily to others.
If you are like me and need a bit more grace, here are three great questions to ask:
Grace Reality Check – 3 Simple Questions
1. Are there any areas in life where I am putting unrealistic demands on myself?
2. If I could release one demand that isn’t serving me, what would it be?
3. Where can I extend grace to those around me today?
When I struggle with grace, I remember my dog. If I can choose the same grace that I give her, I’m making progress. My encouragement is to be an example for your family and friends for what a grace-filled life looks like. Be the kind of human that carries a sense of freedom in your heart that can only come from one place, one filled with grace. When you do, you can’t help but radiate that to others. Even though we don’t need hall passes, we can still give the lovely experience by the way we treat others in grace.