Leave Room for Grace
Artwork from Frances Cannon
The word "grace" is recurring in many of my conversations as of late, whether I'm speaking about my career, where I'm searching for my identity to lay, or at the most surface level of concerns, my dating life.
It's no secret that as you get older, things begin to fall into perspective, but generally speaking, you are just as lost at 23 as you were at 18. You'd think by now, things would feel just a little more clear, right? You'd think that in your early twenties you wouldn't be dealing with similar situations as you were at 18 - but the truth is you still don't know what the hell you're doing, men still act the same, but now you have the added stress of trying to actually MAKE something of yourself with a career that gives you some type of status or credibility.
Doesn't leave room for much, does it? I feel at the end of the day my brain goes in a million different directions, and I can't even make up my mind to follow even one of those. I'm just stumbling, I've been stumbling since September it feels like, just trying to catch my footing on something... anything.
And then, one night, I opened my Bible and read the first thing my fingers fell on.
"But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved." (Ephesians 2:4)
I read it again and again. And again.
Even after all my transgressions, it is with His grace that I am saved. It is by God's grace that I even have a life where I can sit on my couch, working on my 6th IPA of the night, worrying about what my future looks like. I get so caught up in the planning, the anxiety of "what if I'm not doing enough?" only to realize that it isn't in my hands. It isn't.
What's worse is that there are problems much bigger than figuring out the plan that is laid out for me, and yet my time and my thoughts seem to always be focused inward. At least I'm self-aware, right?
The other day, I bought a pack of water and some soft breakfast bars to keep in my car. Because every day, I pass the same two men who have made the underpass of an interstate bridge their home. The first day I offered water and food, I could tell they were thankful but seemed unphased. My one act of kindness shouldn't be a life-changing moment for them, to think it would be is in fact - the exact type of inward thinking that feels so detrimental I'm speaking of (honestly - even writing about this experience is the exact type of inward thinking I'm speaking of)
By the second week of consistently handing them food and water, I began to see a little room for grace in their eyes, in the way their hands clasped around the bottles of water, the way they started to smile at me and stay a little longer to speak. If I could create more moments like this, the ones that come from thinking of others future, instead of sitting around thinking about my own, that would be incredible... would it not? But instead, I'm faced with a kind of inward, self-contained, ego-centric thinking that gets me wound up almost every. single. night.
It is with me writing this to this ethers of the Internet, that I am learning to leave room for grace - not only in my own life, but in the lives of others. That perhaps, I could fight the anxiety of the mounting fear I feel by focusing my thinking outwards instead of inwards. It's not all for nothing, this life has got to be for something greater.