I’m pretty good at math.
No, I’m not talking about basic math skills…which if you ask anyone who knows me, they will tell you that I’m an English and History girl all the way.
I’m good at emotional math, or keeping my personal scales balanced, if you will.
You see, I have two columns running side by side in my head at all times. Negatives and Positives.
I was kind. +5
I overreacted today. -3
I communicated at a reasonable level. +2
I really annoyed people today. -10
You get the idea. On and on it goes. Interaction by interaction. Day by day. A running total of positives and negatives, achievements and failures, small victories and big mistakes.
When the scales are balanced, life feels good and relationships seem manageable to me. But what do you do on weeks like this one, where the scales don’t come close to balancing out? What do you do when negatives have piled up and the positives are puny in comparison?
I guess, in my mind, I can make myself worth it to other people if my scales are balanced.
Sure, I’m a hot mess. Sure, I struggle with anxiety. Sure, I over-communicate and over-feel and over-analyze. BUT did you see all these good things over here? Take those into consideration. Add them to the mix. Am I worth it to you now?
I’m not a girl who likes to come to the table with nothing to offer. I’d rather exile myself to another table, in another room, all alone then show up empty handed for the feast.
And the more I thought about this fact, the more I realized that my attitude is such a waste…a waste of Grace.
Because where is the need for Grace when my scales are perfectly balanced?
The fabulous author Anne Lamott described Grace this way. She said, “I do not understand the mystery of Grace—only that it meets us where we are and doesn’t leave us where it found us.”
Another author similarly described it: “It is His Grace that conquers a multitude of flaws and in that Grace, there is only favor. Favor is not achieved. Favor is received.”
Favor is not achieved. Favor is received. Favor. Grace.
It’s all a false sense of security then, a magician’s sleight of hand– this believing that I can make myself worth it, that I can keep the columns perfectly balanced and accounted for, that I am worthy of an invitation to the table only if I bring a casserole and a plate of cookies and a beverage selection.
Grace means that the scales don’t have to be balanced.
In fact, I will take it one step further. Grace guarantees that the scales will never be balanced. Grace means that the positive side will always hold more (hello, favor!) and that no amount of negatives can touch my worthiness!
So, when I look at the scales this week, let my heart not be overcome with shame or embarrassment or insecurity, but let my heart simply be thankful for Grace. Let me not ever waste that precious gift and let me learn how to better extend that gift to others and myself.