As time goes on, things usually take a beating. Ever buy a new item, that you wanted so badly, and then something happens to it? A scratch, a snag, a pull, a missing piece? UGH. Bummer. I’ve done this to three articles of clothing in the past month!
When we use certain items over and over again, eventually they just get worn out. Right now, I’m currently on a plane (when I finally post this, I wont be, but that’s ok). I can confidently say, that it has seen better days. But I’m not complaining!
The front pockets are definitely worn, there are a decent amount of coffee stains on the tray table, and the TV screen has a ripple effect going on every so often. What happened to Chip and Joanna’s faces?!
Regardless of the wear and tear, the seats are still maintaining their purpose, you know? Holding butts in seats and taking passengers from one destination to another. The tray holds my drink just fine and I still can flip through the channels to distract myself. Purpose, even though it may be a little worn out at the moment.
I think as we are fulfilling our purpose throughout life, it is easy to get worn out, too. More specifically, “people worn.”
What do I mean by people worn?
It’s that rumor that finally makes its way back to you (most likely magnified as well). It’s your spouse doing that one thing, all over again, that breaks your heart. It’s feeling slighted over a decision when you just got into business with someone. It’s dating one person after another only to feel like you’re in an endless cycle of dead ends. It’s someone who attacks your integrity or capabilities. It’s going all out for your kids, not feeling in the least bit appreciated. It’s your friend leaving you out of something, forgetting to invite you, one more time. It’s the woman who is annoyed at the barista because her coffee isn’t a specific temperature. I kid you not. She didn’t do anything to you but you’re just annoyed because she’s so rude to the guy making her coffee! It’s… a lot of things.
No matter who you are, what you do for a living, or who you are surrounded by, it is easy to be worn down, let down, and shut down by people.
Here’s the catch though. Life is people! People can be subtracted from your life. Many have done it before. It’s kind of like bartering. Let me give away pain, problems, and messy situations by cutting everyone out completely. In return, I feel free. The only dilemma with a trade like that is in reality there’s only isolation and emptiness of real love; never feeling the reward of a sacrifice well spent. That’s not a life well spent in the end. So what do we do? How do we deal?
For me, I think the feeling of being worn out by people stems from not always grasping what God’s grace really is. Maybe you can relate? Or maybe I’m being too transparent? For years I knew grace was good, but it didn’t necessarily feel good all the time. Really because I allowed my perspectives to taint it. I knew I was supposed to accept God’s grace for what it was, but continually felt like I needed to work for it, earn it, and prove I could be a recipient of it. Completely not what God asks for. Completely contradicting the definition of grace itself! I couldn’t extend it because it was hard for me to receive it. But what else was I supposed to do when that was all I ever really have done? Work for it, earn it, prove it.
I’m not saying I’m always good at this, or that I’ve found the solution to avoiding pain and erosion, but I will say, I’m better at it than I was yesterday and that’s an improvement. I don’t think there’s a bandage solution or a here’s-a-five-way-fix, but there is grace. As each week, month, and year passes, there’s another layer of “grace depth” revealed and it goes so deep. Grace to be given, grace to be received. Grace for others, grace for ourselves. Grace to flourish at the top of our peaks and grace to fulfill our purpose when we feel worn out. There’s also understanding.
There will be days where you feel so connected to people that grace will be simple. Understanding why people make the choices they do or hurt the way they hurt will feel easy to decipher. Forgiveness is given, with no strings attached. There’s not even a speck of judgement in your heart. Love covers and comforts like a warm blanket on a freezing NY winter night. Then there will be days where you continually feel worn down by people; the decisions they make and the things they do that effect you weigh on your shoulders. Comments plague your thoughts and rear their heads at the oddest of times. You feel you’re not good enough or not doing enough. Trying to mend the gap with understanding is frustrating. Forgiveness is gripped with white knuckles and the thought of releasing it feels like your taking the cheap route. Some days the smallest of comments ticks you off into a negative spiral. Pride eases up slowly not to wake you but to catch you off guard.
No one wants those kind of days. At least I hope not! I definitely don’t. I can look at bothsides of this spectrum and see that I’ve teetered both sides and somewhere in between. People worn is part of the process, part of living, and can be looked at negatively. But there is a positive. When handled and processed right, it can actually result in a beautiful outcome. A full life. Regardless, don’t give up. Hold on to grace. Strive for understanding. Fulfill the purpose God has given you, whether you feel like a new corvette or a hand-me-down car your uncle gifted you.
Extend grace and understanding to people. Behind every comment, hurt, offense, or naivety, there is a reason. A past full of choices and environments that led people to where they are and who they have become. Once again, counterintuitive, but I have found that the more grace I give, the less people worn I feel. Each piece of grace I extend, I feel the more I understand God’s grace for me. The grace I desperately need pours back 10-fold.
Which leads me to say, have grace for yourself when you don’t get it right and your flesh takes over. The first feeling that rises up when I know I’ve harped on something for too long or I know I really blew it is just that – the “man I really blew it” feeling. Haha. It’s a sense of failing. A “man, I did it all over again.” Extend yourself the grace God gives, to allow yourself to be loved and forgiven. To pick up and move forward.
Remember, you have purpose even though you may feel a little worn out right now. It won’t be like that forever. God has called you to discover, live, breathe, love, create, and do something great with the life He has given you. He also created your life to be a testament to others, for you to bring the people around you to experience THE amazing grace. That there is hope, A HOPE, a life better lived. So don’t forfeit it by not grasping His amazing grace.
One night I went to Hillsong NYC with a bunch of friends. After a great service, we headed to the diner because that’s what you do after a great service – eat. When we were leaving, another group of people were leaving too and one guy, instead of saying, “goodbye”, “see you later”, or whatever you would normally say, he said, “waves of grace, amen.” Not going to lie, my pastor’s son, Malachi, and I were in stitches. Not trying to make fun of the guy or anything but it was so random. Who says that?! We now continually say it over and over again and we still crack up over it. But when I stop now to really think about it, I laugh and can’t help but think maybe he was on to something. Waves of grace. Amen.