Since we just entered a new year and are all making strides to better ourselves in some way, I thought it would be a great time to introduce the story of the infamous grace pants.
Story of the Grace Pants.
My husband showed me an incredible picture of what grace looks like in a relationship after we first got married. We got into a huge fight one night and I was downright mean. It may have been the wine talking, but I said some pretty nasty things, and was just the worst version of myself. The next morning instead of scolding me, holding it over my head or God-forbid loving me less, he didn’t say a word about it. I knew it was there, I knew I felt shameful for what I had said, but he never brought it up, and I knew it was because he was showing me grace in that moment. Daniel chose to love me by keeping no record of wrongs that day when he had every right to do otherwise. After we had our morning coffee, we walked down to our little town square. Daniel went in to look at some tennis shoes for himself and came back out with a pair of Nike shorts for me. He said he thought I would like them and that I would look cute in them. At that moment I said, “Are these my grace pants?” Daniel could have been furious with me or brought it up to his advantage in opportune times, but instead he did something kind for me. That’s a real picture of grace. So, from that point on in our marriage, we both say, “Are you putting on your grace pants?”
I loved this example of how to be in relationship with others, not just spouses because, not to be cheesy, but this is what Jesus would do. This is what Jesus DID.
Putting on grace pants got even more real for me when I was having a conversation with one of my dearest and oldest friends. We have been close friends since the 8th grade. I still have “Ely (heart) Carol, BFF” written on my old bathroom wall at my parent’s house in glow in the dark paint (which my mom is still mad about by the way). We have had MANY ups and downs in our friendship. We have hurt each other and let each other down, but we have also celebrated together and been there for some of life’s biggest achievements! One thing we realized is that relationships have to be all about grace. We are all broken and inevitably we will all let each other down. If we hadn’t worked through those hard times, forgiven one another, we wouldn’t have the long-lasting friendship we do now. Aren’t those the real friendships you really treasure anyway?
Fake Ain’t Great. God made us to be in relationship with one another. Not fake, “How are you doing?” “Oh, great! I’m blessed (insert southern accent).” He wants us to have actual, real, authentic and vulnerable relationships with other humans. But the problem is, we all want to put our best foot forward, only show the Dr. Jekyll side of ourselves in hopes that everyone will like us. But, have you ever had that friend that always tries to be perfect? It’s actually pretty annoying and you actually CRAVE that moment where she acts like a real human. Just tell me something?! You were late one day to get your kids from school, you hate cooking, you accidentally left your kid in the car for a second before realizing, ANYTHING to make her more relatable to the disaster you know you are deep down.
Just be real. What are we so afraid of? Well, I’m guilty of this. I’ve started caring less and less what people think of me as I get older (and become feistier too so my husband says), but it’s still there in the back of my mind: LIKE ME!!!! I’ve noticed when trying to make new friends that it’s always easy at first, until there’s a chance they can start to see my flaws and imperfections. Will you still love me if you see how selfish I actually am? Will you still want to hang out with me if you see XYZ? Well, in light of this new year upon us, I say let’s all start getting real. Let’s be ourselves and venture out to have REAL relationships with people. We can anticipate that we will all be very flawed. We will all let one another down in some way. BUT, if we put our grace pants on and forgive one another we can get past those things and have a real, intimate and deep friendship that lasts a lifetime. I think this is the kind of relationship God wanted us to be in with one another just like the one we have with Him.
At the end of the day, it’s all about GRACE. Real grace is that we did nothing to deserve mercy and forgiveness, we didn’t even want it. But, Jesus paid the price for us anyway. God adopted us into His family and called us sons & daughters. “Grace is like a bridge that can absolutely hold the weight of our sin.” So if we can be forgiven of all of our past, present and future sins and still have an intimate relationship with the God of the Universe, then we can certainly forgive one another.
Relationships without depth don’t give us anything of real value. Pastor Adam Flynt said recently, “Grace means that God doesn’t make us good; He makes us alive.” I think it’s the same for us being in relationship with others. These fake, surface relationships aren’t cutting it. If anything, they drain us of life. So if we can be real, vulnerable with one another, unafraid of making a mistake, then, we can have real, life-giving relationships with other humans like God intended, full of grace for one another. And on the other hand, are we showing grace to our spouses, friends and family? Are we keeping a record of wrongs, or making those in our life afraid to make a mistake or come confidently to us to receive love? We can probably all take stock of some areas we need to work on when it comes to having grace for the people in our lives. So in 2017, let’s all vow to put on our “Grace Pants” and love hard and love real.