Oh, May! So good, so challenging, so essential for growth. This post was the epitome of May.
Sometimes, you roll with the punches.
Sometimes, you just get punched.
Over the past few weeks the ratio has not favored rolling. And because humans are built to avoid taking punches, I’ve tried to make things better on my own by showing myself some grace.
I tend to be really good at doing that. Gold medal grace-giver, right here. And in a variety of ways, too! They include:
- having frozen yogurt for dinner
- skipping workouts in favor of sitting in the sunshine reading magazines
- having pie with a side of cookies for dinner
- watching an indeterminable amount of NFL Network
- watching an indeterminable amount of Friday Night Lights
- not washing dishes
- not doing laundry
- have we talked about pie?
[ last night’s dinner-and-distraction grace session ]
I really believe that sometimes it’s advantageous to skip a workout and rest. Sometimes it’s healthy to not even consider the presence of vegetables on a dinner plate. Sometimes it’s nice to zone out for a few hours and imagine your life as Tami Taylor.
As per all of the above, I’m a big advocate for giving yourself some grace from time to time (especially when it comes in a pay-per-ounce self-serve cup). But…
Oh, is there ever a but!
Sometimes Most times when I give myself grace what I’m really doing is giving myself an excuse to be less than my best.
It’s so true.
There is a time and a place for grace. But consistently responding to life’s problems by taking the easy way out is kind of like trying to heal a burn with band-aids. They might cushion the wound for awhile. But it won’t improve without proper care. A burn requires real medication.
Self-discipline, though not as enjoyable as grace, is real medication.
Because when you’re getting punched, standing up and fighting back is ALWAYS better than backing down.
Fighting back with self-discipline on the hard days – working out when it’s the last thing I want to do, swapping quinoa for cookies, muscling through a to-do list on my computer instead of sitting motionless in front of my computer – it makes the hard days feel so much more victorious. It put a W in a column that would have been all L’s otherwise. It’s worth every ounce of stingy effort. Fighting back with a response that doesn’t just feel good to me but actually is good for me is an action that is so much more in my favor in the long run.
It’s an action that will make me better. In all ways.
Yesterday was a hard day. I did not fight back. I flew my white flag high and proud (clearly: see above). And some days are like that, as much as I wish they weren’t. But even though I was pay-per-ounce soft-serve girl yesterday, today I am praying for the resolve to be this girl:
She is clothed with strength and dignity,
and she laughs without fear of the future.
When she speaks, her words are wise,
and she gives instructions with kindness.
She carefully watches everything in her household
and suffers nothing from laziness.
[ Proverbs 31:25-27 ]
And to live this way:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
[ Hebrews 12:1-3 ]
If you need a beneficial break, take it and don’t look back! Soak up all the grace you can so that you are ready to fight the good fight again tomorrow!
But if you can marshal some reserves of strength and keep pressing on today, if you can show yourself some personal tough love knowing that you are really giving yourself a gift in the process, if you can fix your eyes on Jesus and trust that He works all things together for the good of those who love Him,
all the better.