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Grace for December

I’m not perfect. And who knows how many times I’ve fallen short. We all fall short. That’s the amazing thing about the grace of God.
–Tim Tebow

NaNoWriMo is officially over. And I have the t-shirt to prove it πŸ™‚

Which reminds me, I have laundry to fold.

First up, though, book news. I’m excited to announce I have finished my very first ever in my life rough draft. Though, let me tell you, when they call it “rough” they mean it. As I was editing I actually found a note to myself that said, “This is crap. Fix it later.”

So, now you know what I’m up against in the editing process.

After a very hectic November in which basically everything got swept to the side except my computer, I’m taking a step back this month. I do have one writing goal. This past summer I met an author at a writer’s conference who offered to do an educational edit of my first fifty pages. Last week I was finally ready to contact her and I nearly jumped out of my skin with excitement when she said she’d be ready for me after the holidays. So that’s my one goal: get the first fifty pages edited as well as I possibly can.

Now on to a new challenge. While I was originally wanting to plan something cool for December, I’ve realized there’s a time for rest. It’s not something I naturally do. And I don’t mean that I’m always up working. Lord knows, I struggle with laziness. But there’s a big difference between guiltily procrastination and making time to actually rest, destress, relax, whatever.

Not only is rest important, it’s vital to your health, but I knew I couldn’t challenge myself with rest because the real problem–even with two small children–isn’t always finding the time, it’s getting rid of the stress. Stress is more of a rest-killer than lack of time because it keeps your brain going a million miles a second so you never get to truly experience relaxation.

But, why are we so stressed? There are countless reasons, of course. Kids, marriage, career, illness, etc. If you can name it, someone’s probably stressing about it. My big one right now? Guilt. I’ll bet I’m not alone here either. Western culture is all about doing and going and getting and just more, more, more. And if we’re not doing all this stuff, we feel like we should be. Anyone ever sat down for a break and all you could think about was all the stuff you should be doing instead? Not much of a break, was it?

So, my challenge is to give myself grace. Grace not to accomplish grand things. Grace to take a break without beating myself up. Grace when I forget about the laundry in the washing machine or forget to set the dishwasher.

The dictionary defines grace as free and unmerited favor from God. That means even if nothing goes right or nothing gets done, you’re still good, because grace doesn’t need a reason to say “you’re awesome, dude!” (a paraphrase, of course. Although, I don’t know, maybe Jesus would have said “dude” if he came in the 90s instead of the BCs.)

The point is, I know I can’t stop myself from making big plans, often with impossible deadlines. It’s not how I’m wired. For instance, I wanted to be sending my book to agents already. Didn’t happen. I can beat myself up, or accept grace.

And may I just repeat, you don’t need a reason for grace. You don’t have to promise to try harder or punish yourself first. It’s like salvation. It’s already there, waiting for you. Just take it.

And when I say “you”, I’m talking to myself first.

Here’s to a month of not beating yourself up because you didn’t get the house decorated perfectly, didn’t find the perfect gift, didn’t cook the perfect meal, or didn’t get your book ready to send to an agent. We’re not perfect and that’s ok. Have some grace. There’s plenty to go around.

Merry Christmas everyone.

4 thoughts on “Grace for December

  1. I, for one, am so glad there’s enough grace to go around. Thanks Emily and have a Merry Christmas and month of rest.

  2. “And if we’re not doing all this stuff, we feel like we should be. Anyone ever sat down for a break and all you could think about was all the stuff you should be doing instead? Not much of a break, was it?” Yup. It’s like I wish I could take my brain and say, “Hush! That’s enough.” πŸ˜›

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