Grace is forgiveness that is not deserved
The ability to hold a grudge is not a characteristic I claim very proudly. It is without a doubt that it is an inherited trait, but one that I work diligently to be able to compensate for. My husband will tell you that my superpower is the ability to go “ice queen” on anyone in my life. What he means is that if I feel that someone has done me wrong or hurt my feelings, I have the ability to just shut down and shut off. I go completely numb and do not move forward until I am done processing and on my own time. That means no amount of apologies will make me change my mind – it has to be my own decision. While he lovingly jokes about my similarities to Queen Elsa, there is a lot of truth in it. In a fight or flight situation, I will chose flight every single time. I think my “ice queen” abilities is just a defense mechanism I had developed as a child that allowed me to turn off my emotions and become numb. 2015 was time for me to “Let it go” though. No pun intended.
I carried a lot of my hurt and anger for years towards people. People that I know were probably not missing my involvement in their life or giving me a second thought. The anger that comes with going numb can consume you to where it affects your every day life. In college I was a much different person than I am now and that is largely because I feel this overwhelming sense of numbness towards a lot of situations I had encountered. New Years Eve 2015 my husband and I sat around a fire in our backyard and talked about any resolutions we wanted to focus on and mine was that I just wanted to let go of all the “ice” I had been carrying around. I felt like I was carrying this heavy load.
Like I said, holding a grudge is a characteristic that I own about myself. So while this resolution sounded like something I could “poof” and make happen, it was very much a journey for me to overcome. At first I thought that in order to forgive, I had to confront the very people that I had suffered from. In the process of this journey I realized that to forgive someone, unlike what they taught you in grade school, wasn’t something that I needed to tell the person. I did not have to say “I forgive you” or wait for an apology. I needed to be able to release that anger within myself and come to peace with the hurt that I had experienced.
That meant I needed to extend a lot of grace. Grace meaning the forgiveness that people might not be deserving of and to extend grace released my ownership of the pain. There is comfort in knowing that you are forgiving someone who doesn’t deserve it. Oftentimes when we talk about forgiveness we think that relieves someone the responsibilities of their actions, but what grace does is acknowledge that they are at fault, and that it is no longer a burden for me to bear. Grace is marriage is something I am looking at talking about more, so hang on for a future post.
I say this because everyone has pain and hurt they carry around with them every day. The release and freedom that comes when you extend grace is directly related to happiness. You know I want you to be happy. I want you to forgive whatever it is in your heart that is holding you back, whatever is causing you to feel like you are carrying a burden, let it go. You don’t need to call up your father and say “I forgive you for…” or call up your ex-boyfriend and tell him “I accept your apology” but what you DO need to is forgive them in your heart and release that energy back into the world.
I want you to write down names of people or situations you have yet to heal from. You don’t have to go in detail, and if the sight of their name makes you cringe then just do initials, but throw that in the fire. Maybe literally or figuratively but let the ice that is your burden thaw and extend grace to people who do not deserve it. We’ve done a fire in our backyard every single New Years Eve since then as a good reminder of how I want to start my year.