Grace means more than gifts. In grace something is transcended, once and for all overcome. Grace happens in spite of something; it happens in spite of separateness and alienation. Grace means that life is once again united with life, self is reconciled with self. Grace means accepting the abandoned one. Grace transforms fate into a meaningful vocation. It transforms guilt to trust and courage. The word grace has something triumphant in it.
— Yrjo Kallinen
Release the burden of guilt and give yourself and others the gift of grace.
As I wrote in last week’s Journal, on Saturday I celebrated my brother-in-law’s super fun 40th birthday. Read about that awesome experience and what I learned in the post, Increased Vitality. During the course of the evening I had many great conversations, however the most memorable was with my cousin’s wife, as I learned that she paints her own toe-nails (OMG!!) because she feels too guilty to get a pedicure. I am sure my facial expression said plenty, however also chimed in with a “WHAT! Are you kidding me? You’re a wife, mom AND business owner and you should NOT feel guilty about getting a pedicure!” I basically told her that she was crazy to think that way and she needed to treat herself to regular pedi’s and mani’s. Furthermore, I encouraged her to ditch the guilt complex because she was doing her very best, and guilt would only take away from her important roles as wife, mom and professional.
Now… let’s fast-forward to the middle of last week, as I was doing my usual iGnite, mom, and wife “thing” but felt oddly off. I was very busy with my weekly to-do’s, which I am always eager to tend to, but all I wanted was for the weekend to arrive so I could press the restart button and try again. I was completely unable to get in my groove and felt bogged down, scattered and unmotivated, which was really bothering me. Why in the world would I be feeling this way? I have everything to be happy and excited about and I am perfectly healthy, so why can’t I get moving and start accomplishing things?
Thankfully, Thursday rolled around and I had the fortunate opportunity to have lunch with a friend who ironically was experiencing some of my same emotions. She too is in the wellness profession and claimed to feel like a fraud because she had not been “walking her talk,” which was exactly how I was feeling! I expressed to her that the only way she was a fraud was if she wasn’t real with her clients and pretended to always “have it together,” or never claimed to have a bad day/week. It was also during our conversation that she said she was going to give herself grace. It was then that it all began to make sense to me. The reason why I was feeling blue was because of guilt. Here I was just five days prior chastising my cousin over her guilt when I was doing the exact same thing!
UGH! What a fraud I AM! Where was that optimistic, joyful and can-do spirit that I persistently preach about having? I can accurately say that last week my head was rolling down the street, I was chasing my tail and my spirit was down in the dumps! I was like a ticking time bomb, caught up in the self-induced perfection pressure cooker and rather than take a deep breath and allow myself grace, I felt like a failure. My heart was weighing heavy with personal and professional guilt. I was feeling like an inadequate mom, wife, friend, business owner, manager, and leader. On a personal note, I was receiving Christmas cards from friends who had the most beautiful family photos taken on the beach, snowy mountain tops, etc, while I hadn’t taken my son Durant to get any professional photos! Additionally, I didn’t have any Christmas decorations hung and I hadn’t even written ‘Thank You’ notes for my baby shower gifts from LAST YEAR, much less have Christmas cards ready to send. Meanwhile, one of my best friends, whose twin girls turn one year old in March, was already planning their gymnastics birthday party! As for my husband Russell and I, we were two ships passing in the night. Professionally, I hadn’t given myself the gift of exercise in several weeks and there are so many things I am excited to do with and for iGnite, but I can’t seem to get ahead of my ongoing pile of to-do’s.
So, that was my week, and praise the Good Lord for girlfriends and the restart/grace button, for had it not been from the inspiring words of my girlfriend, my spirit would still be in the garbage can and I would not have smacked on the grace button on Thursday night. Once I gave myself the gift of grace, I was able to breath again and put things in perspective. I also had a dinner that I was supposed to attend and actually called one hour before to let them know I couldn’t come. I wasn’t proud of canceling at the last minute, but I just couldn’t muster the enthusiasm to get dressed up and literally wear a fraudulent happy face. I was true to myself and needed to stay home to refill my empty tank, and without guilt I put on my pj’s and spent the evening with my family.
I don’t know if you suffer from seasonal or regular guilt, but if you do, I encourage you to pick the gift of grace rather the burden of guilt, as well as give others the gift of grace too. We ARE super women, but everyone needs a break. We also can’t live up to pressure of perfection and be everything to everyone, all of the time. This is unrealistic and the reality is that no one expects us to live this way. When we set ourselves up to wear ongoing and multiple hats, guilt and failure are bound to follow. Furthermore, rather than feel the need to “keep up with the Joneses,” like I was trying to do, do what’s best for you and your family, because everyone’s situation is always unique. And, with Christmas fifteen days away, I hope you’ll join me and give yourself the gift of grace. I also hope you’ll add grace to your New Years goals and enjoy an enthusiastic and guilt-free 2012.
Finally, last night following the Heisman Show on ESPN, I watched the wonderfully inspirational life story about a former college and professional quarterback named Todd Marinovich, whose father literally bred him to be a quarterback. As an effort to escape the tremendous pressures of success, he slowly became addicted to drugs. What started with marijuana and alcohol in high school, later grew to crack, heroine, and LSD. Needless to say, his college and professional careers were ruined, and after a long road to recovery, he is sharing his story, which is a beautiful story of grace. This clip is from Dr. Drew is ten minutes long, however it is great insight into a picture of grace. (To skip a commercial, fast forward to 40 seconds)