In a season where we’re all counting our blessings, I’m counting (and counting on) the biggest blessing of all: grace.
I’m the kind of girl who will get in the ring with myself when I should be treating myself with care and compassion. I’m the kind of girl who will punish myself for not being more or better or smarter or prettier. I’m the kind of girl who will try to make things work that won’t, who will try to fit things in that don’t.
Exhibit A: The Pants
For example, three months after I had twins, I poured myself into pre-pregnancy jeans and felt like the world and my husband, Steve, owed me a gold star. I mentioned to him, as if I had done him some sort of favor, that I was in non-maternity jeans, to which he said, and I quote, “OK.”
“OK?!?!” I rip into him. “OK?!?! Did you hear what I just said?”
Luke and Lane were fairly large for twins at almost eight pounds each. I emphasize this point to Steve:
“I had over fifteen pounds of baby inside me three months ago, and I am now wearing non-maternity jeans. I think you should probably say something more than ‘OK!!’”
“What do you want me to say?” he continues digging. “I don’t really get the big deal.”
And then I did something that I will blame on the fact that those pants were so tight they were cutting off oxygen to my brain.
I punched Steve in the ribs. And I don’t mean I jokingly took a jab at him. I mean I punched him in the ribs.
I think we were both so shocked I actually hit him—hard—that we never spoke of it. We just stood there looking at each other and then one of us nonchalantly said, “Wanna go to Costco?”
Apparently those were tense times. Squeezy jeans were not helping matters. You’d think I would have learned my lesson, but…
Exhibit B: The Pants
Right after I had our third child, Elle, I was sitting in my car waiting in traffic wearing too-tight, non-maternity jeans and felt, with such visceral disgust, my post-partum stomach observably expanding—like dough rising—out the top of the jeans. When I got home I immediately ran upstairs and peeled off the jeans. I dove into the safety and loyalty of my Zella yoga pants and said out loud, “That’s it. No more bad pants.”
What catches me every time, as I’m skinning off the pants, is the red indentations all over my legs and stomach. Like a body that has been surgically scored.
So I’ve decided: no more bad pants. Even if that means a stretch waist band for the rest of my life, I am not going to wear clothes that hurt me. I have so many things in my life that squeeze me; I’m no longer going to allow my pants to join in the party.
The Bully I Live With
We know it’s not okay to bully others. But have we learned that it’s not okay to bully ourselves?
When I’m adversarial with myself, I’m living in a system that has no grace. And when there’s no grace in the system, I will only, always bully myself. I will only, always hold myself to a standard that refuses to consider my humanity.
God has offered me a totally different economy. He has offered me the deep breath of grace, a blessing that covers me and comforts me and whispers in my ear ever so softly: “Shhhhhhhh. Let go. I’m here.”
In this season of gratitude and thanksgiving, I am saying thanks for the incredible blessing of God-given grace. The kind of grace that lovingly and gently reminds us that we are enough, we are loved, and we are home.
In this holiday season and beyond, may we offer ourselves the grace that God himself extends to us.