At the beginning of January, I joined the OneWord365 Community and chose “compassion” as my one word for the year.
I knew it was going to cost me something.
What I didn’t really register is that one of the things it will cost is my pride.
The first thing I’ve learned about compassion is how little of it I seem to have for myself. I can have a tough day, or screw something up, or say the wrong thing, and my instant response is to berate myself for it (sometimes for days) – whereas a friend can tell me with tears in her eyes about how tough her day was, or how she made a poor decision, or said the wrong things, and my instant response will be one of grace and compassion, calling out what’s true about her as a person over and against the facts of her day or a situation, and reminding her who and Whose she is.
I can read verses like Psalm 103:8, which says: “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love” – and know that a Christ-like attitude imitates this – but to have this perspective towards myself is challenging. To be compassionate and gracious towards myself, to not be mad at myself when I “get it wrong” (especially if I knew better!) – wow. Not my first response.
Admitting it out loud means acknowledging that this needs to change. It means that on a tough day, when I’m not succeeding in holding it all together or “getting it right,” I need to be able to walk in grace without arguing with it. I know that His grace covers all my sins and shortcomings, and that I am a work-in-progress – but all too often I expect justice when what’s mine is gracious compassion.
One of the things the Lord has been whispering so often to my heart this past month is that He understands me far better than I understand myself. He knows every thought, every motivation – and He knows where they came from. He is in the business of taking the broken and making it whole – and He is doing that with me. And He sees past the flaws to the beauty He’s bringing out of me.
So a little over a month in, I can already say that “compassion” was a good word for the year. I don’t think I realized how much I really need it – especially from myself.
"Often when you think you're at the end of something, you're at the beginning of something else." —Fred Rogers via @momentumdash
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"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." Einstein