Memory is such a funny thing. We remember some of the silliest things for some of the craziest reasons. And sometimes, we forget some of the absolutely most important things.
Example: I was in line at the Japanese restaurant the other day and I had to call my mother three times in order to find out what she wanted… Y’all. I was literally distraught that I could not recall what this woman wanted to eat. Her food order was not pertinent to me. Now, mind you, I don’t want my mother to starve but remember her order was not life or death. It was not going to change my life or anything spectacular.
Now, honestly, sometimes we remember things that are absolutely worthless. Another pointless example. If you came up to me right this very instant and said “Leslie, sing the whale song that you learned in third grade.” I would sing that thing like it was my National Anthem. Or “Leslie, sing the song you learned in fifth grade about the state and their capitals.” And I can even add you a beat to it. Some things are engrained in our memory as essential to our being or as completely worthless enjoyment.
I love my memories that I can utilize in my daily walk in life. I love remember inspiring things that I have learned or heard from others. I love being able to implement something that someone once told me.
If you have been around me lately then you know that for a while now I have been working on my #grace. The concept of grace is not new to me. I have spent my entire life in the church and I was well aware of God’s grace in the lives of his children. But for some reason or another, after years and years of Sunday sermons, I had never even for one second thought “Wow, Leslie, how do you practice grace?“. Sunshine’s, not once. I mean, I was nice to people… sometimes, on occasion… ever so often. Okay, I can be a little rough around the edges. I expected others to treat me as I treated them. I held people to a standard that was, honestly, impossible. I expected 125% at all times and when my expectations were not met that was it. I forever saw that person in a deficit light. Their previous failures plagued my mind in a way that disconnected me with people in my life.
Now, lookahere. I don’t know who gave me a crown and made me some kind of queen [well, besides Alpha Pi Omega], but I, myself was/ still am farrrrrrr from the perfect little daisy.
But, lawd y’all, I had a total of zero percent grace for others and their faults. It was a foreign concept for me to give unmerited favor to those that had not earned it.. better yet to those that blatantly not deserved it. And my lack of grace was eating me up inside. I was constantly upset with the status of various relationships in my life. I was running out of memory to keep up with those I was angry at, those I disliked, those that had wronged me. Y’all. I was mentally and emotionally drained by this.
Now, back to my original purpose. Memory. I am not sure how me and Candice, my dear, loving Ace and sorority sister, stumbled upon this question/ conversation but I will never forget the words she said to be on that day.. Never. I am literally in tears right now thinking about how God gave her the words that I needed to hear for years. In one sentence Candice destroyed my conception of relationships and grace and completely changed the way I view others in my life. Completely.
“Grace, Leslie, grace. Unmerited favor. It’s not because they deserve it. Its because we are supposed to give it. No matter what. That’s what grace is.”
Leslie.. D U H. Hello!? Knock-Knock! Where ya been? And just like that I realized that my perception of others was not only wrong but was destroying every relationship that I ever hoped to have.
Imagine if God treated me the way I treated others at that time? One mistake and that’s it.. Done. Note taken..
That is a devastating thought. Devastating.
As I reflect, I realize that I did give some sort of grace… let’s call it selective grace, yeah, my grace was ‘selective’ and by ‘selective’ I mean that you may get one more chance. But I NEVER forgot…
As I revise my perspective on my relationships and actively pursue grace in my life and in my relationships, I find more joy and happiness in others. Now, hold up, I am not saying that I just let people run over me and do whatever they want, I am saying that I first understand that grace is unmerited and cannot be earned and that though we constantly fail others and God, grace should still be offered, not anger and revenge. Now, I can offer you grace by also walking away from those that I know are toxic in my life.
Like I said, memory is a silly thing. I have heard hundreds of sermons, thousands of Bible verses. Some I remember. Some I don’t. I read tons of quotes and have thousands of conversations. Some I remember, most I don’t.
But this conversation. The one that shattered my perspective and flipped my world upside down is one that I won’t easily forget.
Today, choose grace.