As a Christian this word is used often. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read of God’s grace. This was my word for the year a couple of years back. I wanted to focus on giving and reviving grace. I did fairly well on the giving of grace. Giving of grace to others that is. What about to myself? How often do we extend a grace to others that we don’t let ourselves receive? Why is it so hard to give myself grace?
I have found that allowing myself grace is something I’m still learning. If I’m sick or not in a good mental state I’m upset about the fact that I’m not getting stuff done. Not being a good enough wife or mom. I’m not pulling my weight in the house. At this time I’m home with the kids 24/7. So if my husband has to come home from work to a messy house, or having to help with dishes, I feel guilt. I’m home everyday and some days can’t fathom cooking one more meal. This is where I have to add that my husband is practically a saint. He doesn’t care if there’s a mess. He will be the first to say don’t worry about cooking, we will order something. On days he’s come home to dishes still in the sink from two days ago he says nothing. He will either help out with them or just leave them. Not one complaint. Not once. These standards I place on myself. The kids don’t care if I nap or don’t make an elaborate meal. They certainly don’t mind the mess it seems.
Four years ago I went to therapy and got on an antidepressant/anxiety medication. This has been a 4 year journey of trying to work on myself and my mental health. I’ve had many conversations with my husband about what goes on in my head. People see me as organized and clean. This is my anxiety in action. Which I have to say has served me well in that sense. It doesn’t serve me so well when I mess up or don’t reach the unrealistic standards I put on myself. I will dwell on what I should’ve done. How I should’ve handled something. What I did wrong in any given situation. These things will replay in my head. I can promise you that no one in this world is harder on me than I am on myself. I’m still a work in progress. I’m trying to learn that I deserve a little grace myself.
During the social distancing that Covid has brought us I’ve found myself, and others, fighting off bouts of depression. I’m prone to depression and have to actively try to keep it at bay. I know that if I don’t wake up, wash my face, brush my teeth, and have a little coffee and devotional time to myself, that it’s easier for me to fall into the pit. Like just about everything else I want to fight my depression. I want to beat it. When I feel it coming on I wear myself out trying to work through it and not let it affect my day to day life, or those unrealistic standards I place on myself. One weekend I felt it hard. I told my husband I felt depressed and I was tired of fighting it. That weekend I let myself be sad. I let myself feel that emptiness. I sat on the couch. I napped. I didn’t cook. I did no chores. For an entire weekend. I decided it was enough. It was time I gave myself some grace. Guess what happened? The world didn’t stop. My husband didn’t think I wasn’t worth being married to. My kids snuggled me and didn’t care that I rested all weekend. The house didn’t catch fire. Everyone was fed, bathed, loved, and content. Guess what else happened? That Monday I felt a little bit of light coming back. Something that surely would’ve lasted well over a week lasted less than one week. This is huge for me. Maybe, just maybe, all along the thing I needed was grace. Grace that only I can give myself. To be human. To accept help. To rest.
During this time at home it’s easy to think we should be conquering the world. Reading every book known to man. Getting our homes Instagram worthy so everyone will know what we are accomplishing. Working out. Doing all the things we lacked the time to do before. Doing every Pinterest activity with our kids we can find and posting proof that we are not sitting around being lazy. Or God forbid just letting our kids happily play in the dirt. With everything going on just remember we all deserve grace. Give it to family members, friends, and most importantly yourself.