To Be Gracious

On Tuesday, I drove many miles for an appointment that ended up not happening because the young lady that I was to meet became ill.  Unfortunately, I had actually arrived at the meeting place by the time that she told me about the change of events. Either way, time spent on the road at the end of the school year meant that I could actually listen to the radio rather than make phone calls the entire time.

I think I needed to think that day because I have been thinking ever since…

On both the drive to the meeting place and the drive back to the office – on two different radio stations (yes, I use all 6 pre-sets on my car radio) – I heard a song by Mumford and Sons that challenged my thinking and has made me sit back and think and think and think some more.

Typically, my thinking has to do with other people’s behavior, and this allows me to feel as though I have it all together (yeah…right…), but on this particular day, one line continued to hit me over and over…and it hit me squarely in my heart, mind, and soul.

The song is Roll Away Your Stone, and you can listen to it/watch the band perform it by clicking here, and you can read the lyrics in their entirety by clicking here.

I have to be honest that writing what I am about to write is not easy for me.  It is humbling to share in this way, but this blog has always been about being honest and putting myself out there in the hopes that perhaps others can avoid the stupid moves I have made.

If you have listened to the lyrics and/or read them, can you guess couplet has challenged me?  The picture below is both a space holder to give you time to guess as well as a hint.

IMG-20120530-00501

It seems that all my bridges have been burned,

But, you say that’s exactly how this grace thing works

 

This couplet has kept me awake at night and has made me rethink who I am and how I approach others.

Who am I?

Am I someone who allows others to burn their bridges with me and still give them another chance?

Nope.

This song…this couplet…has sent me for a loop, and I am not sure how to fix it.

I realized as the day went on during the day on Tuesday that I am judgmental.  I have known this for a long time, but it became quite apparent as a sadness that I felt in the morning due to a circumstance out of my control that broke my heart was replaced by anger when other circumstances which were also out of my control simply made me angry.

Those for whom I felt sadness would likely experience grace from me; however, those whose actions flamed my anger might not.  In fact, I found that I flippantly spoke of them later in the day as I relayed the experience to a friend.

And why would this person stay my friend?

In fact, why is anyone still my friend when I talk this way about others?

I am so thankful that God wrote the book on how grace works, and that He rebuilds the bridges that I have burned.  Now it is time for me to practice what I preach and become one who extends grace – rebuilding bridges when others burn them down.

Interestingly enough, my children have pointed out my character flaw in this area.  In fact, just yesterday as I drove them to school, we experienced this – yet again.  As we approached a 4way stop, two cars sat side-by-side at the intersection.  There was no one coming from any other direction, so I could not figure out why they were not going through the intersection – one turning left and the other turning right.  I have to be honest and say that I was annoyed.  It was nearly 7:30 a.m., and we had an appointment with a teacher at the school.

As the two cars (finally) turned their opposite ways, I noticed that the windows next to each other were down.

They were talking to each other!!!

While I sat and fumed about this, my kids jabbed at me, “Mom, you are so self-centered.”

And they are right.  I am.

How many Stacy Bender’s does it take to screw in a light bulb?

(Just one; the world revolves around her).

While this example does not truly play out because the “offenders” did not even have to experience my wrath, it is a great example of just how high strung I have allowed myself to become (again).  I would like to say that it is the end of the school year, and that might be part of it.  I would like to say that things are crazy busy with teens in the house, and that might be part of it.

But the bottom line is that I have not embraced what it means to be gracious.  I have not extended to others the same grace that has been extended to me by so many others and by God Himself.

It is time to breathe, listen before I talk, and consider before I act.

Maybe I will print out the picture of the bridge above…oh wait, I don’t have to…I just need to step outside of my office and turn my head to see it.  May it be a reminder that burned bridges allow us the opportunity to receive and to extend grace.

Happy Thursday, all!

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