My middle name, Ann, means "graceful" and I feel like I've been struggling to live up to it my whole life. I've always been clumsy, quick to put my foot in my mouth or joke about the wrong thing at the wrong time, fumbling through a trial and error type of life. I've been called brave by some for my ability to make the long jump from here to there and back again or to stand up under life's major storms and come out kicking.
Growing up, grace was a certain way of acting and looking that seemed really put together and pretty. Grace was a movie star walking on 5 inch heels on the arm of her gorgeous Italian lover. Grace was putting on a smile at the family dinner table, even when my nine-year-old self knew that everything was falling apart. Grace was minding your manners and always answering a daunting question like "How are you?" with a "Wonderful! And yourself?"
I've only figured out recently that grace is not what I thought it was. In the past few years, grace has looked like "leaking" tears in a staff meeting and not being embarrassed for showing emotion. Grace has been knowing that I can't do everything all at once and still be able to breathe and move at the end of the day. Grace has been giving myself the love and the care that I need so that I am able to healthfully love and care for others.
Life-giving rhythms, intentional practices that are integrated into your schedule and patterns so that you can thrive, are founded in grace. When it comes to your rhythms, grace is both in the process and in the outcome. Give yourself grace (space and understanding) while you're trying to figure out what you need. Give yourself grace (forgiveness and time) when you're first practicing your rhythms, as things won't often turn out like you think they should, and make sure you learn from each successful failure. Give yourself grace (slowness and quiet) when you need rest or a good home-cooked meal. Give yourself grace (indulgence and pure enjoyment) when you need to give yourself to the rhythms of things you love, whether creative or nerdy or just plain silly. Find grace (confidence, joy and energy) in becoming more of who you are while practicing your rhythms. Give others grace (care and encouragement) as they stumble through the same patterns, find their rhythms and start to thrive.
What does grace look like to you right now?
What kind of grace do you really need?
How will you give grace to yourself and others?