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143 The Gift of Grace

by Claudine Sweeney
August 24th 2022

When we choose grace, we choose to rise above the way others have hurt us and take charge of how we think, feel and behave. 

Grace leads to healthier self-esteem, stronger relationships and ... More

you're listening to the Rise Up and Shine podcast with Claudine and Ashley as an empty nester and a mom with young kids. We have both shared very similar and very real struggles from chaos to coaches. We now help other women live an authentic and meaningful life. So tune in weekly for girl talk and tips on how you too can rise up and let your light shine bright. This is the Rise Up and Shine podcast. Welcome back Friends. I want to start this episode off with a scripture in second Corinthians six verse one and this is the N C. V version. It says do not let the Grace that you received from God be for nothing. I love this verse. So obviously if you picked up on it today, we're talking about Grace now. We are talking about Grace towards others and Grace towards ourselves today and why it's important to extend Grace to both others and ourselves and some of us are good at showing Grace to others, but maybe not so good at yourself or vice versa.

And I as we were preparing to have this conversation, it is much easier for me to show Grace to others than to myself. Yes, I have learned how to show Grace to myself and it's still a little harder for me to show it to others. So we're going to talk about that more and why it's so important because Grace really is an aspect of really loving others and loving ourselves and I don't know that we understand that to the depth that we need to and this was a great topic to prepare for because I feel like I got a lot? I always do. We always do, but I got a lot out of grace. So what is Grace? So Grace is what someone else does to benefit you, that you do not deserve. So there's three elements of grace. It's something that you do not work for. It's something that you don't deserve, but it's something you benefit from. So obviously, as christians, we understand Grace, we understand jesus's sacrifice on the cross that we didn't deserve or earn that, but we benefit from it, right?

We get all the benefits for that. But we're talking today just about Grace in the context of our relationships with people and with the relationship with ourself. Right? Absolutely. And Grace is showing kindness, compassion, forgiveness. You said, even if we don't deserve it, if we don't deserve or others don't deserve it. And I want to make a quick plug in there too. It does not mean that we condone someone else's actions or even our own or behaviors it is a choice. And how does extending grace benefit us. And really, when we ask ourselves that question and dig deep, then we'll see, as Claudine mentioned, the benefit for our relationships and even just for our own well being. And as I mentioned, I have a harder time showing myself Grace when I mess up when I make mistakes, when I snap at my kids or my husband, But it's a choice. What choice do I have to I can be hard on myself, I could not forgive myself, I can say horrible things about myself, how I'm a loser and a failure and a horrible mom, whatever I've been there.

Or I can learn to show myself grace as it comes natural to others, right? I can get that same grace. Yeah, that's so good. And you know, let's define some of the ideas to I think there's some false ideas about graces. So Grace doesn't mean being nice or polite to others because that's just social obligations, right? That's not Grace when we're kind to someone just in our day to day to someone who is kind to us. That is not grace. That is just social wars, right? That's what we do. And Grace um gives without requirement, right? There's nothing required when we speak kind words or do uh kind act for someone that they don't deserve. There's no requirement there. Like it wasn't tip for tat. You know, speaking of Grace, I had such a Um deep thoughts about grace and marriage, you know, we were talking about how grace with others and with ourselves, but even in the context of marriage, if we're not giving grace to each other on a daily basis, it's going to really do damage in our marriage.

We just celebrated our 34th anniversary and I gotta say I think grace is one of the big ones. I think that we've had to learn because again, It's not natural for me as you and I were prepping for this. I'm like, that is not my natural state of being being graceful to my husband, showing him grace. It's not my nature. It's not how I'm built. Really, really had to grow in this to be able to have a more loving relationship with my husband and make it 34 years. Grace does not accept Grace does not expect reciprocation, right? I was talking with a client recently about their marriage and it was such tip for tat Well, I'll do that when this and that's exactly how it was in my early years. But it's almost like, well, I'll do this kind act. I'll say these kind words, but they have to do it back or they owe me or this and that's not Grace, Right? That's when you expect reciprocation. It's not grace. Grace gives without expecting a payment and it's never a response. Grace takes initiative.

That's another part of it. Right? So we think someone's kind to us or or they do something nice for us and then we respond gracefully. But that's not true. Grace. That's just again responding politely and kindly so that's what Grace is. And it's really truly giving a blessing to someone who has not earned or deserved it. And that's a lot harder for me to do that really is in my nature. It's a skill I've had to practice. And I do feel like it's a skill like we can we can practice being graceful, we can learn, we can build that grace muscle, right? We can practice it and learn it and grow it so claudine as you were talking, I was thinking about what's the alternative? Or if I don't extend grace to someone, what's kind of the opposite? Well, I'd be holding a grudge, right? I'd be starting to feel resentful or bitter taking things personal. Um and again, I would put myself in the victim and I just thought, wow, that's the alternative.

It's hard to show grace to someone, especially if they've done you wrong or made a mistake that affected you. But if we don't extend grace as we would want that in return, the opposite is just going to be feeling yucky. I mean, for lack of better words, all those things, you know, and it's kind of giving your power over to your circumstances, to other people to your emotions. It's allowing ourselves again to kind of be controlled totally and powerless. I love that you just said that because, you know, we're calling this the gift of grace and I think when we we show grace, when we use our grace muscles, so to speak, we're the ones that now have the control were empowered, were able to rise up and shine from our circumstance. We're no longer victims because we've chosen, right? It's a choice. We have to choose to practice grace.

We have to choose to show grace or to demonstrate grace. It puts us in this power seat again, not like power, I'm over. You are all that, but just self power empowered, right? We're not victims anymore. And I love that's the gift of grace that we can be in charge of how we think and feel and behave. Absolutely. And it really gets me thinking about john 86 through 11. And this is where that woman was caught in adultery, right? And so she's brought before jesus. And it's kind of uses to trick him. And they asked, how are you going to handle this? This woman was caught in adultery and what does he do? He bends down, he writes in the sand, he tells them you who are without sin cast the first stone. And I thought it was really interesting. The older and wiser walk away first because they're more aware. And then pretty soon it's just jesus and this woman left and that is Grace. They were wanting to stone her as was their custom back then.

And according to the old law, jesus was showing grace. And then but he also told her go and leave your life of sin again. It doesn't condone those behaviors. Doesn't say, oh, it's okay. Keep doing what you're doing. But it's grace to make that choice to change your behavior to change your choices. And so really showing that Grace that has impacted me so much that I try to live that way with others, especially my Children if they get worked up, if they're behaving if they're whatever um packing up and moving out happens sometimes. But I want to be that model of grace for my kids. And there have been times where one of my Children is really upset and you know, it's going on for hours and maybe I just randomly say, hey, I'm kind of wanting to go get some food, you know, I'm hungry. Do you want to go get some food and we end up going to get food.

It kind of softens them up. And then I remember this conversation, they felt like mom, why are you doing this? Why are you taking me to get food? I feel like I don't deserve it. And I thought, wow, how powerful something like that is. And I explained, I said, you know what I know when I'm having a tough day sometimes and I thought maybe you just needed a little bit of encouragement. And so we talked about rewarding the behavior, it's just I want you to feel Grace and God has shown us grace and I want you to feel like I show you grace and just when we have a tough day, it's not all about what you did wrong, it's let's give you some encouragement, helped kind of change your day around and I've done that a few times. And it's been really powerful. And we've still had conversations of remembering back in those moments of feeling just feeling not ashamed of the behavior, but seeing mom showing Grace on that and encouragement.

That is that's what a great teaching opportunity with your Children. You know, if we model it, we have to model it and just showing them that even though they don't deserve it, even though they didn't earn it right. Their behavior didn't earn the reward, quote unquote. That's exactly what grace is. And so we need to do that in all of our relationships. I do find it easier to show Grace and my with my kids. You know, I don't know why not so much. My husband, I had to really work on that one. Yeah. Well that's it. So yeah, that's exactly it. Right? We have x expectations of others of our spouse, of our friends, of people at church, right? They should know better. They should behave this way. And whenever we start shooting others or ourselves, that's when we get in trouble. And it's really hard to extend Grace when we have all these should say, well, they should know better. And really it's like, it's our opinion, right? We think that they should know better. That's our thought, right? And then we feel irritated when they don't show up better.

You know, they're just showing up as themselves with their own free will thoughts, right? And they were like, well they should know better and they should this. And so then it's hard to want to bless them undeservedly right because they should know better and for sure that was what was going on with me that and the reciprocation, I was like, well I'll do that if he does this. But then that's not Grace either, that's tip for tat, that's earned. Like if you do this, I'll do that. So not Grace. But there is that fear, the fear that we're condoning the behavior and they'll keep doing it and they'll never change. And if I keep rewarding this behavior, it's so funny, which is so not true at all. And I listen to you just sharing. I'm thinking what that what a powerful lesson your kids will always remember. And they've they've seen it modeled, they see this is what Grace is. Like I knew in my heart I didn't deserve it and mom still did something so special for me and how much more we need to do that. And all of our relationships, right? And when people least deserve it is when oftentimes if we do some kind gesture, say some kind words, we can have the greatest impact, right?

And that's why it really shows love unconditional form and that's what's so amazing. Like we started off if we were given this Grace shouldn't we extend it to others and it feels like it goes against our humanness, you know, like what they did that wrong and they but really if we don't extend the grace, then we keep ourselves captive. And so we benefit so much from it and we can have stronger relationship and we can have more healthy self esteem and just well being in general and also especially towards ourselves because I know for myself, like I mentioned, I struggled with showing grace towards myself when I make mistakes, have little hiccups and big hiccups, but mom guilt, that's a big. So if were not showing ourselves gray, We will undoubtedly feel that mom guilt and that shame in which we have had an episode episode 139 on ways to combat mom guilt.

So listen to that as well. If this resonates with you so good. Well, let's start with some practical, we've got three great practical that we think can really help us understand and show the gift of grace. So the first one is kind work just that if I had known this, like really practically early in my marriage would have been so helpful. And even so many married couples today that I know I still struggle with the kind words, right? We get upset, We're in an argument and we say such unkind things to each other and like for me, I would think, well he deserves it, right, He did this to me. So he deserves it. But an act of Grace showing Grace would have been to say kind words, even when someone doesn't deserve it, right? Even if they've been cruel or unkind to reciprocate with kind words and I'm not talking about abuse. I want to be real clear here. I'm not talking about if someone's abusive physically or even emotionally. But there are times we're discussing things with our spouse and we don't agree on things and maybe they say something like my husband said something the other day.

It certainly wasn't mean or unkind, but it was a trigger. It just triggered things from my past and like I could feel my insides, every part of me was like, you know, I wanted to almost go now we've been down that road before, you know, and I just smile and I said that sounds great. And and in my heart I was like, you know what? He gets to think that he has free will, He gets to think whatever he thinks, we're not making any decisions right now. He's just thinking, talking out loud his thoughts and it is great. It's great for him now down the road when it's time to make a decision, then we'll have to see if we can agree or maybe get outside input. But in the past, I would have retaliated, I would have just said some really unkind things and maybe cut him down. Like why would you even think something like that, right? You should know better. You shouldn't think things like that. But it was like, yeah, it's great. Sounds good to me and it did because guess what? He gets to have his own thoughts. And it just changed, it just changed the whole dynamic of our relationship. Like we don't need to argue anymore. We really don't like I can say kind words in response to something, even if it triggers me because it sure did.

It did inside. I was like, I have to self control. I'm sure we've done an episode on that to just scroll through. There's so many good ones in there. I also want to add another scripture that I love and I've shared this with my kids in proverbs 16 24. It says kind words are like honey sweet to the soul and health to the bones. I love that one because it does affect our health, mental health, relationships, emotional health, physical health, all the things. So using kind words, whether to others or to ourselves is so crucial. Well, that's a good point to ourselves. Don't forget to ourselves. You and I were talking earlier and before this when we were prepping and I said I found it easier to be graceful with myself. But I do feel that was a very learned skill. Like, I don't think I was graceful to myself for many, many years. It has become easier because I practice it now. I still have to deepen that skill with others. But yeah, saying kind words, it starts they're just being kind to ourselves and like you shared.

I mean, I would attack myself if I did one thing wrong, I would just criticize and attack in ways that I would never talk to my friend or my Children. I would never talk to anyone that way. But I would talk to myself that way. It feels so okay change. Like I'm beating myself into submission. Like let's use fear and guilt to motivate Yeah, that'll motivate me, right? And it does for like a minute, right? And then you're back to the same pattern. So I feel awful, right? Unkindness and fear and guilt will never make the changes you want to make sustainable, right? It'll make you change in the moment. But beating ourselves up or being unkind to others is never the way to rise up and shine and really live your best life being the highest best version of yourself as God intended. Number two, let it go. This again is all about choice. You can choose to hold on to things you can choose to hold onto a grudge, bitterness.

Being able to let things go and just kind of roll off Claudine has been a wonderful mentor for that in my marriage, teaching me too. There's just some things it's just not worth fighting over and go or taking personal or you know, and I love what you've shared with me is just something just laugh about. I love to laugh. I could do that. I can look fun at things and not take things so personal and gosh how much better I feel and how much better our relationship is when we can do that and just being able to let things go and again this goes for ourselves and a big one is mistakes when we make mistakes, when someone else makes some mistakes just extend that grace and be able to let it go because what benefit will it have to hold on to it, you know, I mean we both claudia and I have lived there which is holding on to things and then we just get to a point like why why am I still holding on? How is it serving me in my life?

And again make that choice direction. Do you want to go? This is so powerful? I think it's such a big part of Grace is letting it go. I also like to think of it as giving the benefit of the doubt. Like if someone says something like recently someone said something to me and it was actually kind of hurtful. It was like, I think that's interesting and I talked to my husband about it, he's like, yeah it is hurtful and they didn't word it right, but clearly they're hurting and I knew that I was like yeah, they're hurting. So let me give them Grace, let me give them the benefit of the doubt. I didn't believe that their intent was to hurt me. I thought their wording and their communication was hurtful, it was kind of like throwing arrows, but I gave them the benefit of the doubt. I'm like, you know, they didn't that wasn't their intention, so let me let it go. Like it's seriously not important at this point, like it just really wasn't. And even with people's actions, like sometimes people say and do silly things, I can't tell you how many times I've heard from people that have hurt feelings because they weren't invited to something and we think, oh my gosh, and they make a big story about it.

And in august in the Courage Club, we're talking about the stories we tell ourselves, right? Um it's just we make it mean something that it didn't mean at all right? We think someone said this. Well, they must mean, yeah, you know, way off on our story that's happened in my marriage all the time when I finally say they took it this way. No, that's not what I meant. Right, okay, so I thought about that for the last week and we create these stories in our heads and they're usually not positive, graceful stories. Write their stories, where were the victim and the other person has done us wrong and maybe they didn't even really their comment came across that way. Or maybe they totally thought you were on that text thread and your number just for some reason didn't know and we create these stories and these stories tend to line up with what we believe about ourselves. So when you become aware of how you really feel about yourself, what you believe about yourself, how kind or unkind you are to yourself, you'll realize that the meaning, you put two situations like that align with your beliefs and again, it's just beliefs that you have that we have been wired in over the years through all of life and experiences and not necessarily true.

Yes, So good to be open and communicates telling you hope you want to limit those stories that you want to give Grace Yes, extend the benefit of the doubt. Let go, right. Don't make it mean something, it didn't the benefit of the doubt. And the third practical is look for needs or opportunities to bless someone and I really like this one because I like the idea of having eyes open and heart open to look for ways to bless others that they don't deserve, that they're not expecting they didn't earn it right, but they'll benefit from it. And I really like that. I was like, this is a really great practical that I can implement more is I'm trying to grow my grace muscle, I'm going to look for needs and opportunities in ways I can bless others that don't deserve it necessary because I love to bless others that deserve it. Like, when I see someone I really do, like, I see someone my heart, I'm like, oh my gosh, I want to do so much for them because I feel they deserve it.

They earned it like their sacrifice or their behavior and I'm like, I want to do so much for you. My heart doesn't go out to those that don't deserve it in my nature, right? So it's a practical that I'm going to have to practice to grow in. That's so true. I love that because what an influence we can have on others when we do that. And I think about just like what I do with my kids, you know that extending that little bit of grace and going to get something to eat something special to eat and what influence it has on them. How like I didn't deserve it. I acted crazy and like a fool and I made a mistake but my mom is not shaming me. My mom is extending grace and encouraging me and having a conversation about it and what can we do next time? How can you handle your anger next time? You know, things like that. Those are real teachable moments and really influential, much more so than when we extend kindness. That is going to be much more influential on a person than either saying unkind words, stonewalling, ignoring them, cutting them out of our lives even though that's the easy and feels like justifiable thing to do.

You know? But if we can extend that grace and that kindness, Gosh, those are planting seeds and when we receive it, then it does make us feel. Or even just think a little bit more when we're dealt with a situation that maybe we can extend a little bit of grace. Hey, I liked how that felt, right. Perhaps I can give that to someone else. A gift, the gift of Grace. And we are wired for connection. Our brain are wired for connection. That's how we were built. And I do believe that Grace is a factor that will help us feel more connected in all of our relationships. And I love this quote. It says God's Grace is more than a second chance. It's a 3rd, 4th and 5th. It's a love that keeps on giving regardless of our past and when we take that and share that with others and become that and give to others. I mean just think about the depth of love and connection we can build in our relationships. That was awesome. I really liked this episode.

It was a good reminder for me situation sometimes we forget but friends, if this really blessed you. If this helped you encouraged you. If it made you even think, hey, maybe I can grow in this area but I don't really know how then please reach out to us. We would love to schedule a free Discovery call with you where we can talk with you know where you're at what you're struggling with what things are keeping you. You stuck perhaps in this area, in your relationships and what you can do. We can offer some practical input and guidance to help you be able to learn and build that skill of giving the gift of grace, whether to others or yourself. So please check us out on our websites. Claudine over at Claudine Sweeney dot com and Ashley at mind over chaos dot com. Again, we have free resources there as well. And please, if this really encouraged you, if this podcast is encouraging you or this episode, please, we beg you we plead with you share with others.

There have been so many women that we have talked to who have been listening loyally and so encouraged by the episodes and um we would love to spread the word to more women and bless more women out there who need to hear these things and get that encouragement. So please do that And subscribe as well if you haven't already leave a review, that's always friendly gesture. So we appreciate you guys always being a loyal listener and we will catch you next week. Take care. Alright, everyone, thank you for joining in on our conversation today here on the rise up and shine podcast. If you haven't already, please take a second to hit that subscribe button. So you never miss an episode. And while you're at it, share this episode with a friend who, you know, it can bless today if you want to visit us as well on our websites, you can catch Claudine over at Claudine Sweeney dot com and Ashley at mind over chaos dot com. Our links are in the description. We also have some free resources there for you as well.

So remember, ladies, no matter what you are facing in life, it is never too late to rise up and shine and live your best life.

143 The Gift of Grace
143 The Gift of Grace
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