Wednesday, April 8, 2015

6 Graces . . . for when we are our own harshest taskmasters

Sometimes we're just too hard on ourselves, ya' know?  If we can't blast into full throttle mode on any given task, we just throw up our hands, wander off, and do nothing at all.  

Maybe sulk in the corner.  

Pout.  

Or have a bit of a pity party.

Half-truths and downright lies about who we are whisper their familiar refrain somewhere deep.  The enemy of our soul's an excellent marksman, his poisoned arrows piercing right where it hurts most.  After awhile we define ourselves by our imperfections and flaws, screw-ups and sins, with a list of coulda / woulda / shoulda's draping themselves around our defeated shoulders like a heavy, immobilizing wet blanket.  

Slowly but surely, we feel 'less than.'  

Or like we're never enough.   

We begin to define ourselves by what we don't accomplish instead of who we are in Jesus Christ.  And after awhile, when life throws us even the simplest of curve balls we throw up our hands in defeat instead of figuring out what a Plan B grace might look like.

What grace responses can we choose?




6 scenarios

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some options we can choose

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some helpful, practical links to take us there

1.   The house desperately needs a heavy-duty spring cleaning, just like grandma used to do.  Windows, curtains, linens, shelves, floors, every nook and cranny stripped bare and scrubbed to a spotless shine.  Any less just won't do.  It's all just too much to even comprehend.

Exhausted at the prospect, we drag ourselves half-heartedly through a few tasks before deciding to call it quits for yet another season.

OR a Plan B Grace Response . . .

Not up for an all-out cleaning frenzy, we choose to crank up the music, set the timer, and do a bit of a spruce up for 15 minutes.  Amazed at what we've accomplished, we decide to do it again in a couple of days!  



2.   Walking at least 2 miles every day is on the unspoken yet rigid agenda.  It's sprinkling out and we'll get soaking wet if we venture that far.

Playing the martyr just a bit, we stay in and figure we'll head out some day when it's not too cloudy or wet or windy or cold or muggy.

OR a Plan B Grace Response . . .

We choose to pull the sweatshirt hood over our heads, shrug off the raindrops, and head out for just a short hike instead.  We return home surprised that it wasn't so bad after all!



3.   Self-appointed experts or some kind of internal blog police strongly urge a great big online masterpiece penned each week.  But we're swamped or life is going in a new direction or the creative well is bone dry.

Frustrated at these expectations, we force ourselves to write anyway ... and our words end up lifeless and dead.

OR a Plan B Grace Response . . . 

We choose to pick up our pens when we're really excited about what we have to say!

Here's 4 cool steps to get those creative juices flowing again.


4.   We've finally started on a great big diet, and we've committed ourselves to lose 10 pounds.  But then someone offers us a few goodies straight from the oven, and we end up gorging ourselves..

Disgusted, we throw in the towel and grab another handful.  The diet wasn't working anyway.

OR a Plan B Grace Response . . .

We choose to encourage ourselves to eliminate that restrictive word 'diet' from our vocabulary.  And then switch gears and begin to eat healthy once again!



5.   We believe that we must spend at least an hour each morning having devotions or we're bad Christians.  When we can't live up to that standard, regular devotional times soon become a vague memory.

Guilt-ridden but not necessarily convicted, we're sure God's mad at us.

OR a Plan B Grace Response . . .

We choose to consider a devotional time to be an invitation from God's loving heart, not a strict discipline that hangs over our heads like an ominous sword!



6.   The dining table has become a convenient place to stack piles of random stuff because it's been eons since we invited guests over for a meal.  We feel disconnected and wonder why no one's giving us a call.

Hurt, we figure no one would want to come over anyway.

OR a Plan B Grace Response . . .

Feeling a bit lonesome, we choose to call a friend and meet at Panera's for afternoon coffee in the comfy red chairs by the window!


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We've been called to love our neighbors as ourselves.

If we can't cut ourselves a break, if we refuse to ratchet down our endless, often unrealistic expectations, how can we expect to show grace to others?

May we be able to look in the mirror and allow the Lord to lavish that deeply needed grace to the precious soul who stares back at us.






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Connecting with Kelly  .  Mary  .  Holley  .  Lyli

44 comments:

  1. I have learned to be willing to do something imperfectly rather than miss out on doing it at all!

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    1. Amen. You're so wise, Debby. What might we have missed along the way because it had to be absolutely perfect.

      Thanks for kicking off the conversation. I think it's going to be a good one ...

      Delete
  2. Another wonderful post Linda. #1 especially hit home, as I look at dusty baseboards while typing. I shall not fret about all that needs to be done. I will instead take a deep breath and pace myself. Have a wonderful day friend!

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    1. I dusted a few windowsills with my fingers while chatting on the phone with my sister yesterday. What a mess ...

      Maybe next week?

      ;-}

      Delete
  3. I love this Linda! My only problem is i cycle and riding in the rain can be a painful and "needling" experience (as well as dangerous). So I take a nap instead. LOL Not really. I either work out or ride inside with music cranked up.

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    1. I'm the master of excuses of why I can't exercise. You saw them all up there in black and white. I admire your tenacity, Bill.

      Hopefully the snow is melted out there in Indiana so you're on the road again ...

      Delete
  4. When I grow up, I wanna be JUST LIKE YOU! Great post--and I am actually thinking of getting off my duff and heading out for a walk---perhaps I will feel better for doing so!
    Blessings Linda!

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    1. You're cute! When I grow up I want to be like my two girls! They lead the way for me ...

      How'd that walk go?

      ;-}

      Delete
  5. I am going to send this to my daughter in law who struggles with procrastination and guilt because of exactly what you have written about. She is a perfectionist too so that drags her down. She has ask me to help her which is a God thing. Thanks Linda .

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    1. How lovely and wise that she has reached out to you, Betty. I hope these musings will encourage her spirit. The whole perfectionist trap sure is a drag.

      May God free her up!

      Blessings to you, too, friend ...

      ;-}

      Delete
  6. Hi Linda! I just love this post. And your links are awesome too! I am the queen of 'internal trash talk' and I can spin around in my own lack of oomph. I know I would be gentle with everyone else. Why won't I do that with myself?
    My husband and I just lost a ton a weight (working on it since October). Last night I really overate...a lot. But you know? I'm going to allow that, and I enjoyed it too. Now, back on the better road, without any pity party or beating myself up in a back alley somewhere.
    Thank you for your lovely approach to loving ourselves into peace and good habits!
    Ceil

    ReplyDelete
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    1. 'Internal trash talk.' Well put, friend. That spin cycle's a real drag, and it's hard to get out of its hold on us.

      Good question on why we're gentle with everyone else and not ourselves. Maybe it's easier, maybe we think they're more worthy? Whatever.

      I'm with you ... let's say to 'no more' to beating ourselves up, putting ourselves down. He loves us so ...

      ;-}

      Weekend joys to you, friend ...

      Delete
  7. Wow, I NEEDED THIS today. On my check list is to do my spring cleaning.. but with the new baby I've been putting it off.. and off.. and off.. and I keep feeling like a failure!! I needed this post badly! Off for a 15 minute cleaning / jam session now! *hugs* - www.domesticgeekgirl.com

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    1. Enjoy sweet baby Thyme, Gingi! The cleaning will be there another day. Trust me ... it's been 35 years since I had my last one and there's STILL dust and piles and stuff to sort through.

      Cuddle up and have fun together this weekend. Your family is so lovely!

      ;-}

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  8. Love this!! Love the format - the high expectation and the "grace response" (beautiful title) and I love this idea of being gracious to ourselves, letting ourselves off the perfectionist hook and relaxing to enjoy and healthy life rather than striving for a perfect life. Love, love, love this!!!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Relaxing not striving. Yes, Dar, I'm with you on this.

      Peace ... peace.

      I hope your weekend is filled with opportunities to go there! Thanks for your kind words ...

      ;-}

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  9. I trust you are extending these graces to yourself first, my friend! Great post! I especially needed to read #3 this week :)

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    1. Like every one else, I seem to learn the best lessons the hard way.

      Grace, grace, He whispers ...

      May Sabbath rest and restoration be yours to overflowing, dear June ...

      Delete
  10. Sulking never never helps. I also take a walk or do something productive instead.

    Have a fantastic weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And those around us get tired of it real quick, don't they, Lux ...

      Enjoy every second of the weekend!

      Delete
  11. I love this and I love how each one leads us to another post for further reading. Speaks to the wealth of resources you leave for us no matter the season we are in. You are all kinds of wonderful.
    I'm feeling more at ease with #3 and while I don't use the word "diet" that often, I really am trying to get to a better place with my food issues.

    Wishing you a lovely weekend, friend.

    xoxo

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    1. Well, you're all kinds of wonderful, too, Beth! I'm so grateful that you're in my life.

      Yeah, there's all kinds of emotions that get wrapped up in what we eat. It can be kind of complex ... I like the word 'healthy' better than 'diet,' which sounds so restrictive and severe. I'm looking at this spring as a fresh start for me yet one more time.

      I hope this has been a sabbath where your soul has been refilled and replenished. See you somewhere here or there this week, friend ...

      ;-}

      Delete
  12. I love this as always! Grace in all should be our response because I tend to lean more toward the rigid response. I think it is having engaged in a life full of schedules that everything needs to be all in or nothing. Not a good way to live. I am imagining right now a complete shift in my thinking and just the thought leaves me with a big exhale of relief. What joy that will be!! Happy weekend my friend! See you around next week!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. You bring up an excellent point, Mary. When firm schedules need to define our days {as in teaching or counseling!} we do tend to be more rigid. I like to operate within pretty clear boundaries but with lots of grace mixed in!

      I betcha can't wait to re-imagine your life as you launch into this next season. And I can't wait to see what that looks like for you!

      I hope this weekend's offered you a bit of a reprieve from the demands of that schedule ...

      ;-}

      Delete
  13. Hi Linda!

    I'm visiting your blog this morning through Kelly Balarie's #RaRa Tuesday Linkup. What wonderfully, encouraging words! I especially appreciate the practical recommendations you give for so many areas where I struggle. We have to cut ourselves a break from our unrealistic expectations. You are so right!

    Thanks for sharing!
    Janet

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    1. Hey Janet, good morning! Thanks for stopping by! I hate unrealistic expectations, don't you? I'm grateful that the Lord gives us grace-leaden options. He loves us so ...

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  14. This is what the Lord wanted me to read today. You spoke directly to my heart. Thank you for sharing this. I have no words for the depth at whi h you touched my heart. #RaRalinkup

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    1. Dear Dana ... thanks for taking the time to let me know that these words somehow touched your soul. All I can do is praise God for the work of His Spirit in your life.

      So very good to meet you today ...

      Delete
  15. I love the specific ways that you free our heart from the burden of "to do's"! Love this. I want to look at things this way. Great insights! Cheering on your truthful words from the #RaRalinkup on Purposeful Faith.

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    1. I'm glad this worked for you, Kelly! Sometimes we just need to know we've got a plan B to choose from ...

      Thanks for the warm welcome to your gathering! I do love a good party!

      ;-}

      Delete
  16. Linda, your words are a breath of fresh air to me this morning as I choose to give myself the grace that seems much easier to give to others.

    Drinking coffee for your heart with you today, my friend. : )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why is it that it's easier to extend grace to others?

      And can we do iced tea?

      Thanks for dropping in, Crystal ...

      Delete
  17. Once again, you have put a smile on my face and encouragement in my heart!

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    1. We do that for each other, don't we!

      ;-}

      Delete
  18. Giving grace to ourselves is such an important message, Linda. I never tire of hearing it. I've been trying to clean out a bedroom lately, so I just do a little each day, sometimes just 10 minutes. But bit by bit, I can see a difference! God works with us in the small things. So thankful for Him. And for you!

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    1. I'm with you, Lisa! I never tire of hearing the grace message because I'm in such need of that unmerited favor. And I need to learn to give it more extravagantly.

      I hear you about trying to clean out a room. It can be a bit daunting, yes? And 10 minutes is better than no minutes. I'm going through books and some bins today ... and I will most certainly keep your 10 minute thought in my mind!

      I hope this sabbath gives you refreshment to soul and body.

      Delete
  19. Replies
    1. No one's ever called me Ms. Linda before! That's too fun!

      Are you from down south or what?

      ;-}

      Delete
  20. I am so glad you linked up this post at Thought-Provoking Thursday so that I could read it again. It breathed life into all the right places AGAIN today. :)

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    1. Fresh life. Yes. How we need it ...

      Sabbath rest to you, to yours, Lyli!

      Delete
  21. Great list! Sometimes it's hard to give grace to ourselves. Perfectionism is a brutal taskmaster that should be traded in for grace. Thanks for reminding me.

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    1. I'm glad you came by to visit, Donna. Welcome!

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Welcome to the table, friend!

This is where we gather and hang out. I'd love for you to pull up a chair and jump right into the conversation. Or simply say 'hello.'

l'll be dropping in to visit you sometime soon ...

Linda

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