Friday, May 19, 2017

This is How We Learn

Forgive her--
Two little words sound so easy,
Burn so bright.
They look like hope and second chances.

We take a deep breath
For giving this gift
Isn't easy as it sounds.
Forgiving is a gift that humbles us.

And no matter what she did
We're supposed to forgive.
We're supposed to let go
To allow her a second chance.

Grace means you lavish
Her with something neither of you can imagine.
You leave the past in the past
You restore what you once had.

And dear, if you really want to move forward,
And if you are truly ready to be like Christ,
Don't avoid the conversation.
Don't wallow in your anger.

Let the love of Christ break down the barriers between you.
Don't hold on
To this frustration
This disdain.

Let love lead you to the cross.
See how much He forgave you?
How can you not grace her
With the same love and acceptance?

I know she hurt you.
I know it's hard, this thing you're going through.
Isn't it time to learn Christ's way?
Isn't it time to let go and give grace?

For this is how we learn
To be brave in the face of our enemies
To build or rebuild a friendship
To live and love the way Christ loves us.



P.S. This applies to forgiving guys too. I just used girls as an example.
Tuesday, May 16, 2017

let go

We all know what it feels like when you have to pick up something really heavy and move it. Your muscles ache, you're struggling to keep your grip, and it seems like those twenty steps to move that item across the room are the hardest steps you've ever taken.

And then, when you've reached your destination, you get to set it down, and it's the best feeling. It's a relief. You feel freer, you've let go.

It's easy. 


Sometimes, our own minds can be the most tangled up, twisted places in the world. I don't know about you, but my mind really never stops going. It's constantly jumping from one thought process to the next, running from idea to idea, from project to project. And sometimes, my mind isn't the nicest place. It can get filled to the brim with negativity, and it feels as though your head is about to explode. 

Thinking, thinking, thinking too much. About those people who hurt you. About those old friends who bailed. About that person who let you down. You think that you've pushed it out of your mind, and then you see something that reminds you of them, and bam. Those thoughts are back. 

And even more frequently, those thought seem to extend to ourselves. Oh, you didn't finish your novel last week like you said that you would? Failure. You got a C on that test? Oh my gosh, how idiotic of you. You fell asleep instead of finishing that blog post? Well goodness, why do you even have followers? Clearly you don't deserve them.

But those thoughts just aren't right.

All of these thoughts just get more and more pervasive, to the point that they're all that we can think about. We can't get rid of them. They're even heavier than that box, but we can't seem to let go.

And suddenly, it's not so easy. 

To forgive is defined as, "to stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake." This can apply equally to others and ourselves. We have to let go of those feelings of bitterness and anger. 

But gosh, why is it so difficult? 

I think that part of it is because we all have a little bit of stubbornness to us. We feel like the person that we're angry with isn't deserving of being forgiven. We feel like we're not deserving of being forgiven. So we hold onto that box a little bit tighter, not wanting to loosen our grip. But in Christ, we've already been forgiven of everything, despite the fact that we sure didn't deserve it. So why can't we extend that same forgiveness to others? Why can't we extend that same forgiveness to ourselves? If the Creator of the entire universe can forgive you, can't you try to do the same thing?

As hard as it is, why can't we just...let go? 


Maybe you're always going to feel that little sting when you see that person. Maybe you're always going to be just the tiniest bit upset that that project didn't work out the way that you thought that it would. That's okay. That's disappointment, and it's natural. We're all going to be disappointed in life, many many times. We'll be disappointed by other people. We'll be disappointed in ourselves. But at the same time, we have to learn to stop holding on so tight to that box. To let it slip through our fingers, and let that weight fall off of our shoulders. 

To let go. 

It's not going to be easy. But man, is it going to be worth it. 

Take a breath. 

And let go.

- Grace Anne
Saturday, May 13, 2017

change your thermostat

  1. stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake.


That's the definition of forgiveness. And it sounds so beautifully simple. Stop feeling angry. But it's almost as hard as trying to write the beginning of this post. Because "offense, flaw, or mistake" can probably describe a moment of every single person's life on planet earth -- perhaps many moments, perhaps every day. 

We are children. Messy, inexperienced, 
writing on the walls with permanent markers. 
And we can't forgive ourselves.

But why? Why? When now, more than ever before, we live in a world where humanity is beginning to awaken to the light of a new dawn; the light of Grace and Peace and Forgiveness. Why?

Because forgiveness implies there is something to forgive. 

Offense, Flaw, Mistake. 

Trembling words with skeletal frames, whispering escape plans in each other's ears. We hate the fact that they infect our bodies, our minds, and the breath in our lungs. But hate is the very thing we need to cast far, far, away in order to forgive. 

In order to love.

There's something in psychology called "cybernetics." (And yes, this is going to be one of my Science Geek Analogies™, just warning you.) To put it simply, your mind works like a thermostat. And for those of you who don't know how a thermostat works, here is a quick overview: you tell the thermostat what temperature you want a given room. If the room gets warmer, the thermostat will work to bring the temperature back to your specific setting. If the room gets colder, the thermostat will work to bring the temperature back to your specific setting. 

The thermostat knows the norm. It is the norm. 
It changes everything in the room according to the norm. 
And it's the same way with your mind. 

If you always predict a certain outcome from yourself, your mind will literally work to regulate that outcome -- finding anything less or anything more simply unacceptable. If you're always like "I suck at parallel parking" it isn't just your lack of confidence that prevents you from being good at parallel parking; it's your mind saying "ok that's where you want to be WE SHALL SUCK FOREVERMORE." The same goes for positive things, too. 

But what happens when you expect too much of yourself? 
What happens when you fall short? 
When you make a mistake? 
When you do something wrong? 

If we hear so much about forgiveness, why is it so hard to simply make amends with our messy, inexperienced humanity? 

Guys, I'm not going to lie to you -- I mess up. A lot. And I expect things of myself that are ridiculously out of my depth. And I complete the vicious cycle by condemning myself, shaming myself, and hating myself.


Who's thermostat is wired into my heart now? The thermostat that declares I am beautiful and forgiven and loved? The thermostat that whispers in the unwavering voice of my Savior that I am perfect in His eyes? 

Or is it the thermostat I see everywhere I turn? Those dark little thermostats that cower in the corner and mutter "you're a dirty sinner." Messed up and mistook. Unworthy of love. Shame, shame, shame. 

Someone set a thermostat to sit outside in the pig pen, covered in filth, shaking it's head saying, "No, I don't belong at my Father's table, no, I don't deserve to be anything more than a servant, no, I deserve to be a slave."

But I want to change my thermostat. I want to collapse into 
my Father's arms and take the rings and the robes and the sandals 
and the wild party and the loud music and the unbridled joy. 

I don't want the "dirty sinner" norm turning my thermostat down to a mere crust from the table of God. I want to be turned up all the way like the bass pumping through the front lawn. I want to forgive, forgive, forgive, because I thought it was impossible until proven possible by the hands that crafted my blood and bone. 

I want you to change your thermostat. 

To forgive.

To love.

To believe that you are worth it.

rock on,
Wednesday, May 10, 2017

dear shame

 Dear Shame,

I admit you're a subtle lover. I've been living with you for so long, I barely even notice that you're there. Except for the weight of you clinging to my shoulders at 2 AM when it's just you, me, and my regret.

If you were a person, you would be that bad boy on the corner, flashing a smile and a wink. All charm on the outside, rotten personality underneath. I think my mama warned me about ones like you some time ago, but, oh, you draw me in with the way you sweet talk, “Filthy, dirty, worthless, how could you do this, why did you do this, you are disgusting, you knew better and you did it anyway, forget about being forgiven, nobody can stomach loving you, least of all God.”

Yup, it's an REO Speedwagon, Can't Fight This Feeling Anymore, kind of sick the way you want me, the way I keep holding on to you, sort of want to leave, but you manipulate me into staying, in love with the way you chain me to the past, kind of sort of done with you, Shame.

Shame, this is your eviction notice. There's a new set of tenants taking up residence in the chambers of my soul. Don't try to fight it. You don't stand a chance against Grace.

See, Grace is backed up by Mercy, and Mercy comes with Forgiveness for my sins. Whenever you try to speak up, Love shouts that it matters what I choose now, not what I chose then.

Shame, you call me dirty.
He calls me pure.

You call me worthless.
He calls me Beloved.

You say I am unforgiven.
He says He has cast my sins as far as the East is from the West.

You tell me I have to keep paying penance.
He says the debt has already been paid in full.

You say I can never leave the past behind.
He calls me free.

You call me wicked.
He calls me holy.

He calls me holy. That is my name as a blood-bought, forgiven, and loved daughter of the King. 

Blood was spilled for my reconciliation. Love covered the multitude of my sin. He took my filthy rags and clothed me in righteousness instead. The mistakes I make now, yesterday, or even next week, have no hold on me because I belong to Christ.

Shame, I'm no longer accepting rent from you. My identity is not based on you, not on the things I do. It is safe in the One who delights in showing mercy. He loves me and because He loves me, He forgives me, and because He forgives me, I have no use for you.

Goodbye to shame, goodbye to hiding, goodbye to guilt.

Hello, love.

Hello, healing.

Hello, freedom.

Peace out,