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  • Writer's pictureStephen

Grace!


Since we took some time to Reflect during the last week of the year, and then we considered what it means to Project (the Verb!) for the first week of the new year, I want to share a few thoughts with you this week on Grace.


As a person who has been involved in lots of spiritual conversations and discussions with people over the past 40 years, I can honestly say that the concept of grace is one that is often very difficult for people.  As a result, I have attempted to create my own definition for grace that I have refined and modified over time.  At this point in my journey, my current working definition for Grace is: "undeserved kindness or love, offered without strings attached."


If we proceed with this working definition (and I am happy to get feedback on how you think it could be better!), there are two key phrases we must consider.


Undeserved Kindness or Love

When we think about kindness and love being undeserved, it's important we make a distinction about worthiness.  I believe everyone is worthy of love and kindness, simply because they are here and a part of the human race. However, most of the time we tend to measure or judge whether or not a person or group (including ourselves!) deserves our love and kindness.  We may think that everyone is worthy of love, but do they actually deserve it, as if love and kindness is something that can be earned or won as a reward?! Grace is about offering kindness and love because of a person's worthiness, not whether they have actually earned or deserve it.  This leads to our second phrase.


Offered Without Strings Attached

Most of the time we are conditioned by our culture to think of our relationships in transactional terms.  "I will do this for you, if you will do that for me." We don't often say it out loud, but we offer kindness and love with an expectation that it will be received and returned by the way the other party responds, either now or in the future.  However, grace is about offering kindness and love without any expectation of return - without any strings attached.  It's simply given as a gift!


Now, you may be wondering what this has to do with taking time to Reflect at the end of the year and taking time to Project at the beginning of the year?  Great question! When we reflect on the past, it can be easy to focus on the ways we fell short or didn't measure up to some standard we thought we should achieve - our lack. And when we look forward and project into the new year, we can also set expectations for ourselves that can be sources of frustration and disappointment when we don't accomplish what we intended - our lack.  These are both powerful opportunities to offer Grace toward ourselves! Rather than focusing on the lack, what would happen if we just gave ourselves some underserved kindness and love, without string attached and said, "You are worthy of this love and kindness and you're doing great!  Here's to a new day tomorrow!"?


How could you offer grace to yourself this week?  What would it mean for you to believe you simply are worthy of love and kindness and you don't have to earn it?  How could you give yourself that gift and not expect anything in return for it?  Is there someone else you need to offer grace to this week? How could thinking about them as being worthy rather than deserving of love and kindness help you actually offer it to them without strings attached?


Here's to offering Grace to ourselves and others this week!


Be Well,

Stephen


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