An amazing and sustaining grace

Many of the bloggers I enjoy following are so bold. They take fierce stands on hard topics and ride the criticism like surfers ride waves.

I’ve deleted everything 5 times today.200 words here, 150 words there. The thought of hitting publish made me queasy.

Playing it safe is a hard trap to escape.

How many times have we talked about being bold? Being unafraid? Not hiding?

Your fearless leader was a coward today.

She cried over what to make for dinner. Seriously. This happened. When told to put something together for dinner I freaked out. The need for approval and the fear of rejection collided in the perfect storm.

Over dinner.

Today is not the first time I’ve struggled with words and dinner either. Today is simply the first time I’ve had the courage to talk about it.

Dear Friends,

I have a hard time making choices without a plan and saying things without fearing the opinions of others.

Sincerely,

Tired-of-being-scared Audra

Yesterday I talked about Bold Christians vs. Sissy Christians. (Insert face palm.)

Sorry about that…

I strongly agree with what I said, but you need to read today’s post for a much needed addendum.

It’s hard to be a Bold Christian when you cry over dinner planning. (This is what’s been haunting me all day.)

But remember what I said about grace for the lost?

Grace is for Christians too. There are no double standards with Jesus.

Look at Romans 5:

10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

If grace and love is available while we were sinners, grace and love will sustain us even more when we become Christians.

Learning how to extend grace to yourself can be hard. We see our fallacies and failures so clearly. Remember, though, that grace gives us new vision–for others and for ourselves.

No is an answer too

no!

No!

NO!

I have a hard time with this word–even though I can scream it in my head forever.

Instead I say:

Sure.

I can work that in.

Let me think about it.

Why is it so hard to say no?

For me, it goes back to rejection. The word “no” means that someone might not like you.

But not saying no also means that I often do things I don’t want to do.

Being a Yes Man or a Yes Woman doesn’t make you the most awesome person on the planet. It makes you a pushover, a doormat.

No is an answer too.

In fact, part of setting healthy boundaries is learning the when, where, and how of no.

I say no when:

  • Something doesn’t align with my values.
  • I’m already stretched too thin.
  • I need to disappoint the right people–i.e. my third cousin’s husband’s uncle as opposed to my best friend.

And, in case you’re wondering, saying no does not make you selfish.

This is the biggest lie in the world when it comes to boundaries.

You’re not selfish for saying no!

There are times I’ve had to stick to my guns.

If it’s not moving me forward, the answer is no.

If it goes against my faith, the answer is no.

Some things cannot be negotiated.

The right to say “no” is being challenged in America.

We need to figure this out.

Yes and no applies to everyone. Period.

Just remember that your actions must line up with your answers.

Screaming no and living yes makes you two-faced.

I want to end by quoting my Savior, Jesus Christ (since He’s the one most of us claim to follow):

 But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one” (Matthew 5:37).

Things left unsaid

Many times I’ve felt bad because I needed to shut up and I didn’t.

Why did I say that?

Why can’t I keep my big mouth shut?

If you want to meet a connoisseur of crow, look no further. It goes great with a big slice of humble pie.

But, more often than not, my regret comes from a different place:

Why didn’t I say anything?

When I look back, there’s a lot of things I wanted to say. The words died on my tongue.

I wish now that I still had my childhood journals because I wrote down all of my rebuttals–after the fact.On paper, I was the most self-confident, well spoken person.

My battle with rejection kept me from saying much. It was easier, I believed, to not say anything at all than to lose a relationship–even if the relationship was unhealthy.

This obsession with not being rejected didn’t lead to greater acceptance. It only led to more loneliness.

I honestly believed that being a doormat was my best choice.

Each time a muddy boot plowed over me, I took that pain and buried it deep, but you can only bury things for so long.

Stuffing emotions is a lot like taking trash to a landfill. The hole is deep but it fills up to overflowing fast. No matter how much you pack the trash down, there comes a time when full is full.

I encourage you to not remain silent. I understand that confrontation is not easy. Not standing up for yourself, though, only leads to frustration and regret.

What you have to say is important.

You are important.

It’s time to take off your “Wipe Your Paws” t-shirt.

God’s love is for you

The monster I had to fight with every night was rejection.

I was the poster child for good kids everywhere, but something was still missing. The praise of my family and friends never satisfied me–though I wanted their praise to keep coming.

The two people I wanted acceptance from had ditched me a long time ago. That’s who I was trying please.

See, Mom and Dad, I’m worth something. I’m not a mistake. You were wrong about me.

Rejection would growl:

Stay on the ground, Audra. You can’t win this one. No one will ever accept you.

I believed him too.

For a long time, I even let this monster keep me from experiencing God’s love.

God's loveOh, I knew about God’s love, but it couldn’t be for me. This was my logic: If your parents–who are supposed to model the love of God–reject you, that must mean that God can’t love you.

It wasn’t until my 20s that I truly surrendered all of my heart to God. He came to me in the most tender way, whispering in my ear that His acceptance and love didn’t have anything to do with where I started from.

Today, during a time of prayer, I was overwhelmed with gratitude while remembering where God found me–in a man-made pit of despair–and how He lovingly pulled me out of it.

And God wants to do the same for you, friend.

Don’t listen to the monsters from your past. They are lying to you! I promise.

The love of God is not far from you. It’s as close as your next breath.

What’s holding you back from truly receiving it?

Shoot me an email if you want to talk about this some more.

audragkennedy@gmail.com