Why I Am Grateful for Messy Grace

If you’re looking for a happy-go-lucky motivational New Year’s resolution post, keep scrolling.  This eternal optimist and her rose-colored glasses are butting heads with reality for the next few paragraphs.  The past 48 hours have been pretty frustrating.  We all have those moments when things just don’t go our way – and then those moments that seem to snowball into days or weeks.

Standing in long return lines behind people with 14 things to return on 6 different receipts … braving the grocery store at 4:00pm on a Friday when there’s more snow on the way, and getting “road rage” down every aisle because you just want to get your stuff and go home … backing into the garage while it’s still closed (with all the kids in the car so you can’t even pretend that didn’t just happen) … losing almost 10 hours of work on a photo calendar that you agree to make every year for your family (even though it’s already January) … nothing life-changing, just frustrating.  Hypothetically speaking of course.Photo Dec 09, 5 49 07 AMSo when I got home from my errands to see that Christmas trees had been taken down, the space they had occupied seemed empty and bare.  Because we just moved into our new home in August, several things are still finding their place.  As we discussed what pictures would go back on the wall in place of some of the decorations, I realized that those empty, bare spaces mean I get to choose how to fill them.  Instead of mourning the loss of the Christmas trees and wreaths, I was excited to hang some of our family pictures and a new wooden sign that I love that reads, “Do More Of What Makes You Happy”Photo Jan 06, 7 58 25 PMSo much has changed for me and for our family in the past year.  Some of it I have handled with patience and grace, and some not so much.  Writing helps, a lot.  So does wine.  Running is my true crutch but even that has seen significant changes in the past several months. This is where my Christmas tree analogy – and the relevance of this confession – comes full circle.Photo Jan 06, 7 59 10 PMSince I declared myself a runner 7 years ago, it’s been a comfortable constant.  Always there exactly when I needed it.  But this year, something did change.  I set a Declare It Day goal of a sub-2 hour half marathon, and nearly hit it, but training for that race broke me.  It made me doubt myself in a million different ways of which my identity as a runner was certainly the least of my concerns.

As I sit here tonight staring at the empty space where the Christmas tree in my office used to sit, I am excited for that blank slate.  Rather than mourn ‘what could have been’ in 2016 – what I lost, where I came up short, what changed – I am choosing to be grateful for the opportunity to fill that empty space with something new.

Messy Grace.  It’s a saying from a long-ago sermon series that I fall back on often.   God doesn’t make mistakes.  I am where I am {mentally, physically, spiritually} for a reason.  My prayer is that I am graceful enough to navigate His plan the way He intended, because the Good Lord knows I could be an expert in the messy part* :)

*Of course the pictures are all sideways.  I have tried editing them.  They look fine when I preview, but when it posts they are sideways.  I told you I was an expert at the messy part!

I’m not big on resolutions because I have never followed through with one single resolution that I’ve ever made.  But I do love goals!  My dad’s favorite question has always been “what are your goals?”  You gotta have goals, he’d constantly remind me.  So my first goal of 2017 is to keep it real.  To be raw.  To share the early morning antics and hilarious girls’ race weekend stories.  And also the crazy-excited-lots of butterflies-super nervous training for my first full marathon this fall.  {Warning: this will probably be accompanied by some combination of complaining, disbelief and amazement!}