In my previous post, I introduced grace as a game changer, a truly remarkable gift that can transform our worldview and the quality of our relationships and life. Here are four truths I’ve learned on my journey with grace. They begin to set you free to be everything you’ve been created to be.
Four Truths About Grace
Truth #1 – Grace Removes the Pain of Judgment
In the context of ourselves, grace eliminates the illusion of perfection and illuminates the hopelessness of pursuing it. No one is perfect. We all know that in our deepest selves. Yet, we still allow the empty pursuit of perfection to cause pain in our lives.
Remember this simple relational equation: the degree to which someone fights to achieve perfection or appear perfect is inversely proportional to the amount of personal doubt they struggle with. The more energy and effort invested toward perfection, the more someone has already judged themselves unworthy of the mark. Pain and fear, not hope and peace, generate feverish energy toward perfection.
In the context of others, grace admits we don’t know why people do what they do. It shatters the fantasy that we can read people’s minds. Whew! What a relief to wake up from that nightmare.
We are so self-centered we think everything a person does is because of us. People are not doing things because of us; they are doing things because of who they are.
– Dr. James Richards (How to Stop the Pain)
Dr. Richard’s claim is hard to argue. It’s human nature to assume we know why other people do what they do. It’s also natural to judge them and create pain in our own lives. Grace breaks this vicious cycle of self-induced pain.
Truth #2 – Grace Fuels a Growth Mindset
Grace brings freedom from the hopeless pursuit of ‘perfect’ and the pain-producing habit of continual judgment. Once free we can truly grow and engage life with new set of senses, seeing and hearing everything in a new, forward-looking light.
Disappointment and frustration dissipate as we recognize they occur in the gap between our unrealistic expectations (perfection) and the natural journey of growth and development. Grace allows us to give our ‘best’ day after day and see progress not failure.
Grace fully engages what Dr.Carol Dweck has identified as a ‘growth mindset’ and reveals the life-sucking, pain-producing trap of a ‘fixed mindset’. (If this is a new concept to you, read this short practice-oriented overview from Trevor Regan). With grace, life’s ‘struggles’ are really where joy is mined and refined in our journey.
Truth #3 – Grace Chases Away Fear
Grace is the antidote to fear. Grace removes the fear of not measuring up. ‘Measuring up’ is based in irrational comparisons and painful personal judgments.
Grace frees us from the fear of failure. The only failure becomes ‘giving up’ and the urge to give up comes from a fixed mindset and untrue beliefs about what growth and success are. Successful people try, learn (not fail), and try again. Grace accepts the natural ups and downs inherent with any growth cycle.
Truth #4 – Grace Builds Bridges
Grace creates confident humility within and an undeniable magnetism with others. Being around someone serving as a pipeline of grace generates life and hope. Grace brings positive energy to any room. Grace focuses on learning, not blame.
Grace within a community serves to galvanize and strengthen in ways that defy explanation. Ruby Bridges taught us that. No can achieve their dreams without the help and support of others. Grace is the mortar of rock-solid, life-giving relationships.
Grace is not soft and weak. It does not lower the bar of performance and make excuses for unacceptable behavior. The opposite is true. Grace requires more strength than judgment. Grace propels performance and innovation by removing fear and blame. Grace turns excuses into apologies and deepens respect and love. Grace changes everything.
Which of these truths resonates most with you and what you have experienced in your life?