Last night, whispered prayers dripped onto my pillow as I acknowledged a familiar grief. My heart refuses to pretend to be who I want to be… strong, secure, gracious, and true. Instead, life pushes at me, tripping me up, like a playground bully. In the bump and fray of everyday life, I find myself again nursing wounds and grudges, that are inconsistent to the woman I want to be. But they are real. And so am I.
I am a work in progress. My life is a bit of a wrestling match between who I am and who I want to be. Yes, I know, these things shouldn’t bother me. What people say about me, and what they think about me should not be my concern. But my heart bleeds when it is falsely accused, misunderstood, or handled roughly. If I were the woman I want to be, the opinions of others would have no impact on my heart. But they do.
So, I argue back (in my own head) and wear myself out in preparation for the defense. I build up fences (sometimes with barbed wire) to keep people out, and I rehearse my side of the story. I write letters in my journal, expressing my frustration and pain. This practice builds muscle memory so I will be ready when someone asks what is wrong. But no one asks, and my energy is spent building walls instead of bridges. It makes me tired.
The woman I want to be is wise and kind. She knows how to navigate difficult relationships and the intricacies of her own heart. She does not find herself in these difficult places because she recognizes the trap and navigates around it. She knows instinctively how to handle the conflict. Honest well-spoken words would cut through the flurry of emotions, healing relationships, and rebuilding broken bridges. Her heart remains calm and true. She forgives easily and lives lightly. Unfortunately, I am rarely that woman.
But Grace whispers, it’s okay. I am not yet the woman I long to be. Instead, I am learning to appreciate the woman I am. The right now in the middle of the mess woman. I am learning to appreciate her tenacity to stay in the fray. I am digging beneath the anger and frustration where I often find a pool of pain. This emotion needs attention, space, and time to heal. Grace murmurs a new perspective, reminding me that the world does not spin in orbit around me. I can rest, and receive the Grace so freely given.
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. Romans 12:3