Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Grace in Your Face

Grace in Your Face

     What I'm about to say might rub some people the wrong way, but just bear with me for a minute before you get mad and me and leave the page. Just hear me out, okay? I want to say something about those lists we see all the time on social media. You know the ones I'm talking about. Those lists of things not to say. 
    10 Things NOT to Say to Chess Players.
    6 Things NOT to Say to Soccer Moms. 
    35 Things People Who Like Bananas Are Tired of Hearing. 
    I'm not saying all of them are wrong, because I get it. I do. See, for those of you who've never met me in person, I'll tell you something about myself: I'm not very tall. At all.  I don't mind the way I am. I can curl up comfortably in any chair. I have very small feet and sometimes can wear really cute shoes because girls' size 3 will fit me. I always have leg room in a car, even in the backseat. I can nap on the love seat in my living room, no problem. So there are some perks. What's more, God made me this way on purpose. I like myself the way I am.  Except for not being able to reach things and sometimes having a hard time finding clothes that fit properly, it's not a big deal,
     But here's the thing I really don't like about it at all. I don't like being laughed at. Though I am fully aware of my height, people feel the need to remind me of it constantly. Ironically, my friends are sometimes the worst ones for it. They mean well. They're my friends so they mean it in a "nice" way. They don't mean to hurt me. But they're saying the same stuff as the people who do mean to hurt me. The underlying message is the same: The way you are is not okay. If it were okay we wouldn't be laughing at you. 
    So it still hurts a little. Even if they don't mean it to.
    I'm not saying this to rant. This isn't a whine-fest, I promise. These are my credentials for what I'm about to say next. So you know that I meant what I said before. I get it. I get where they're coming from.

    The problem with those "what not to say" lists isn't that they don't have a point (okay, some of them are a little extreme) but that they're going about it the wrong way. They just don't work. No one will ever educate the whole word and never have to hear those things again. 
     I promise you that short people know they're short. They don't need you to tell them. They don't like it when you ask how tall they are. They don't like being compared to children or told that they're even shorter than your short cousin. But I could post those statements on social media every day of my life and still people will make cracks about my height. "Amie! Can you even see over your steering wheel? How do you drive? HAHAHA!" I know that people will always say those things to me.
    So here's what I'm getting at: What are those lists really asking for? Grace. Even the dumb ones that expect us to be mind readers and know just by looking at someone what their preferences are. They just want grace. What they're really asking is for everyone to be mindful of their feelings. The problem is, it just doesn't work that way. We can't rearrange the world according to our own comfort. People are careless and sometimes cruel. 
     There's no point in expecting the world to be gracious. It will never happen as long as we live under the Curse. Grace can still protect us from unexpected, painful barbs, but instead of wishing that people would filter what they say through grace, we have to filter what we hear.We can choose to pull grace even closer. We can stuff our ears with it. It won't be easy. But when a good friend laughs because I stand on something and now we're the same height, I'll remember that my pain is not their goal. Come to think of it, if it is their goal to hurt me, grace can protect my heart even then if I simply forgive them.
      You can't put grace into the mouths of others. You can put grace into your own ears. See what I'm saying?  Grace in your face. And yes, I get that it's a little ironic because I'm saying what we should and shouldn't do. So take my advice or leave it. Either way, it's okay, because that's my whole point. The only person I can be truly responsible for is me. Another person's comments don't define me. Not their insults and not their complements. So I will choose not to let it go to my head. Not to let it hurt my heart. At least I'll try. I can be impervious, with the help of Jesus, because of grace. If not the grace in someone else's heart, then the grace in mine. 

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