My baby girl turned 3-years-old this week. Naturally, when there’s milestones like birthdays & anniversaries, it pulls you into reflection.
Her name is Grace. In reflecting on the little person she’s growing into, I re-connected with the amazing empowerment that grace offers.
Origin of grace
The term grace, as we use it today, is derived from Middle English and meant “God’s favor or help.” The Middle English term came from the Latin word “gratia” which meant a “pleasing quality, favor, thanks.”
Grace is a fusion of favor from outside of us – via a divine or higher power – and gratitude from inside of us. We can receive it and give it as we choose.
In Christianity, grace is defined as an undeserving favor from God.
The “undeserved-ness” of grace is where we derive empowerment. Here’s why: we can receive grace when we don’t deserve it. Regardless of your religious beliefs, when you can tap into a higher power or energy source to receive grace, that is empowering.
So often we mess-up. We don’t show up as the person that we want to be. Frankly, we don’t deserve grace. Yet, when we believe that we can receive some grace from a source bigger than ourselves, it fills us with the power to bounce back stronger.
Giving grace to ourselves
Brene Brown says: “Grace means that all of your mistakes now serve a purpose instead of serving shame.”
I had to give myself grace. I started 2023 10 pounds heavier than I am currently.
I had been on a meal plan & delivery service for 2022 that helped me eat clean & healthy. During the holidays, though, the company went out of business. Left up to me – especially during the holiday season – I ate too much of the good stuff that’s not so good for you. And, I wasn’t working out enough. So, over the course of a couple months, my weight crept a little higher and my clothes were a little too snug.
By the time the scale started measuring the heaviest it’s been in 8 years, I had a choice to make. I could beat myself up for my lack of discipline, control, self-care or some other demoralizing self-judgment. Or, I could give myself grace for my mistakes and use it as a kick in butt to whip myself back into the shape I’m used to.
I chose the latter. With the clear conscience, I found another company that delivered meals just as clean for even less money. Huge win. I recommitted to a workout regime that I had gotten off of. All through undeserved grace, since I was the one who ate poorly and didn’t exercise.
Three months later, I’m back to the weight I’m used to, my clothes fit how they should and I feel more healthy.
Giving myself grace empowered me to change.
Giving grace to others
The late Archbishop Desmond Tutu said: “Resentment is like drinking poison yourself and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”
By withholding grace from others, we harbor anger & resentment.
The nature of grace is an undeserved favor. If someone does something against us, technically, they don’t deserve kindness from us. However, when we choose to give grace, we shift the power back to us. We are no longer drinking the poison.
Most of us have been wronged in our life. Some of us have HUGE wrongs done to us; others of us, it’s smaller. Yet, regardless of the magnitude, when I suggest forgiveness to clients, it is sometimes met with pushback.
They are used to drinking the poison. In fact, giving forgiveness & grace can feel like you’re letting someone off the hook.
What grace actually does is let you off the hook. Your ability to offer undeserved grace is the empowerment that YOU are in control of yourself, your mind & your wellbeing. Not someone else.
You can offer grace to others more freely when you set and enforce boundaries.
A boundary is like a line in the sand. It has a border similar to that of a geographic border. If that line is stepped over, then you have a protocol for enforcing the border to keep you protected.
You can choose to remove yourself from people or situations. You can choose to associate less with people who have crossed it or can emotionally guard yourself better.
When you have boundaries and enforce boundaries, you have the power to stand in your power and offer grace to people who might have encroached that border.
You can live in your kingdom poison-free!
I love my little Grace. She embodies the elements of grace. She takes her mistakes in stride and stands-up for herself in strong, yet kind ways. (Most of the time… she is 3 after all.)
In honor of my Grace, let’s strive to receive, give ourselves and give others underserved grace this week. Notice how empowering that really is.