Honesty in Our Communication
I must say, it has been a little easier this month than it was last month for me to deal with grace – to recognize and accept God’s grace in my life, and at the same time, to extend that grace to the people in my life.
This is the third month on my journey, but it feels like I’ve been at this for a much longer time!
God continues to make His grace known to me, and I’m surprised at how often I’m able to notice it.
I thought this little project wouldn’t impact me so deeply, but if these last few months are any indication – I’m in for a huge transformation in my thoughts and in my heart.
I believed I was already conscious of God’s grace, but I realize I was not aware of the depth of it in my life. My eyes are being opened to the many ways God’s grace permeates my life and also of how graceful behaviors and attitudes should flow from me to those around me.
This month, my lesson on grace came from a conversation with my husband and reminded me of just how important grace is to our conversations.
My husband had foot surgery a few weeks ago, and for the first week afterwards, he was on pain medication around the clock. During that time, we had important household items to take care of.
As one deadline neared, I brought some paperwork that needed his signature, as well as a list of selections that would impact us in for the rest of the year.
I spread the papers around him on the bed, gave him a pen, and started going over the details on the first form.
He kept interrupting me. “Now what?” Or, “Sorry, what’s this?” And, “Hold on let me look at it again.”
I’ll admit, I felt myself getting frustrated. Usually, I was the one asking questions to be sure I understood the details of our lives and the paperwork or decisions we needed to make.
I took a deep breath and got ready to go over the document with him again, but he stopped me.
“I’m sorry, babe.” He reached for my hand. “Forgive me?” he asked. “I’m on this pain medicine, and I’m not processing everything as clearly as I should.”
The frustration I felt building, vanished. Compassion replaced it almost immediately.
“Don’t worry about it. We’ll get this done when you feel better.”
I put the paperwork away and sat with him, watching TV until he went to sleep.
I thought about his humility and his admission of weakness for the rest of the day.
I’ve always thought of my husband as a wise man, but his words and actions that day showed me the depth of his understanding of Proverbs 15:1. I admired his ability to sense my growing frustration and defuse the situation quickly by explaining to me what was going on with him physically and mentally.
It also caused me to think about how I communicated when I was having a rough day.
I know that I rarely admit how I’m truly feeling – how I try to cope with the pain and the fatigue, how I fight to keep my hope in spite of how the illness affects me each and every day. I get tired of its presence, of the disruption to my life. I think my family and friends don’t want to hear about another flare or test or inability to function normally.
My standard reply has always been, “I’m OK.” Or, “I’ll manage, just give me a second.”
But my husband’s actions showed me that I hadn’t been fair to my family and friends.
There was no need to go into detail about my issues, but a simple – “I need to rest.” Or, “I can’t do this today. OK for me to try tomorrow?” – was all I needed to do to keep the communication open and to give them insight into how I felt.
I’m understanding that God’s grace also applies to how I treat myself and how I care for myself. It’s not an excuse to wallow in self-pity or to become lazy, but to ease up on myself; to rest when I need it; to be OK with my areas of weakness and to trust God for strength. It’s important for me to learn to be grateful for the life I have this day and to continue to rely on God to keep me.
I had no idea what I would discover about God and about myself as I focused on grace.
Now, I realize that this is not going to be a simple endeavor – I’m examining my heart and finding areas where God wants to shower me with His grace, but my stubbornness and self-sufficiency have hindered Him.
I’m learning that grace is a blessing and a ministry to me and I have the potential to extend it to others.
What will next month reveal? Sometimes I look forward to it with anticipation and a sense of adventure. Other times I dread what is coming. What area of my life needs a change? How is my attitude failing to glorify God and reflect the grace that He bestows on me each day?
Growth is a challenge (Hebrews 12:6-10), but no matter how hard it is, I have decided to stick with it.
Thanks to my husband, I’m learning how to extend grace to myself.
Maybe that’s something we all need to do.
Father, we praise You for Your grace. Help us learn to love ourselves so that we can love others properly and extend Your grace to them.