Got grace?

Hi. my name is Emma, and I struggle with busyness.

I’m in a busy phase of life. I didn’t believe people when they said planning a wedding takes over your life. I thought, I’m a pretty organized and pretty laid-back person. Planning a wedding will be a lot of work, but nothing too crazy. Oh, silly Emma, how naive you are.

Wedding planning is like having a part-time job. There are hundreds of decisions to be made. The ironic part is that the more I researched, the more paralyzed I became. The more beautiful options I saw, the more I questioned the decisions I made. Luckily, with the wedding just over a month away, I’ve moved out of that phase and into the “I-don’t-care-about-any-details-I-just-want-it-to-be-here” phase.

But the wedding isn’t the only thing in my life. I’ve also moved this summer and started a new role in my job. Again, I naively thought that the jump from intern to campus staff would be a minor one: after all, I know how staff life goes day-to-day. But turns out there was a lot I didn’t have to do or think about, so I’m learning how to do all that.

I say none of this to complain! I LOVE my job. I have a job that lets me do different things every day, spend my days getting to know students and talking about who God is, and this weekend I get to go to the beach. For work. I am also pumped about getting married. I get to spend the rest of my life with the man of my dreams, and we are blessed enough to get to have a big party to celebrate the covenant between us.

It’s just that all of that at once is hectic. 

It means that sometimes I burst into tears over relatively small things. It means that the size of my to do list is the determining factor in whether I will do things like cook a healthy dinner, or spend time in silence with God, or initiate a hang out with friends. It means that when I do turn off the light and go to bed, the never-ending to do list surfaces and runs laps in my brain for a while before letting me sleep.

The best part of it all is that this weekend, I’m giving a talk on how constant striving for success and productivity isn’t healthy and isn’t what God intends for us. (In case you aren’t sure, I’m giving it as a testimony of someone who struggles, not as an expert on the subject.)

With that in mind, I’ve been reading and praying a lot about my own schedule and expectations on myself. Without repeating my talk or posting it up here before I give it, a big conclusion I’ve reached is that I don’t give myself enough grace. I have always been my own toughest critic. But its ridiculous for me to tell myself that I will have that elusive effortless perfection when it comes to starting a new job or planning a wedding or preparing to start my life together with my fiance.

Maybe you as you’re reading this can resonate. For you, I offer this:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift from God.   Ephesians 2:8-9

There’s a ton more to say on grace, but we’ll save that for another time. But the conclusion I came to, when it comes to myself and grace, is this: if God has already given me grace, who am I to withhold it from myself?

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