Giving myself grace {An update on loving myself well – a 2015 intentional (#1)}

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

Friendships are a gift.  I hold them close and try not to take them for granted.  Friendships are also difficult.  I’ve experienced the difficult side as of late.  Within the difficult, I’ve allowed myself to grieve and process for months now.  And the processing continues.

Allow me to pause on that thought and bring in another:  I read Donald Miller’s Scary Close earlier this month.  It’s a fabulous book.  In fact, it’s my favorite read thus far of 2015.  It’s all about intimacy.  And within the book, Don talks about a concept he learned while away at a retreat.  The therapist put three pillows on the floor and asked for Don and another person to stand on two of the pillows.  The pillow Don was standing on was his life, his territory, his soul.  And the pillow the other person was standing on was her life, her territory, her soul.  The third pillow symbolized their relationship.  Each could stand on that third pillow (which symbolized the relationship) but never was it okay to stand on each other’s pillow.  “What goes on in the other person’s soul is none of your business.”  And in this way, we aren’t controlling or managing another needlessly.



















Back to friendship. Although I have felt a ton of pain over words said, I also have desired to be completely gracious and fair.  And in that, I’ve opened up my heart to owning what I need to own.  This has been very much a growth thing for me.  I’ll admit my pride wants to self-protect, strong-arm, and blame.  Humble pie is hard to swallow.

And I think I might be on to something – what if I’ve stepped on someone else’s pillow?  (I know, you can laugh…we are talking about pillows here.)  What if I have tried to control and manage?  What if I have done this in other relationships unknowingly as well?  What if it took these difficulties for me to see my role?

I’d rather not “what if” myself into the ground.  And let me just tell you how hard I’ve had to try to love myself well through this.  To cast out the lies that circle around like a rotisserie grille in my head.

For me, it comes down to a choice.  Will I choose to give myself grace?  To walk in the freedom of imperfection.  To make mistakes. To allow this to be an opportunity for personal growth.  And to hope that others will love me in spite of my ugly.

Or will I choose to hear the lies.  To withdraw and self-protect.  To blame and criticize.  These choices never end well.

Today I choose the former.  And it seems that every few days I find myself at another cross-road.  And I’m faced with the same decision.

Although this post is focused on friendship, the same applies in marriage.  It’s that delicate balance of allowing our selves and those we are close to to make their own decisions and be their own person all the while loving, accepting and forgiving each other through it all.  Is this hard for you?  Or maybe it’s just me.

4 thoughts on “Giving myself grace {An update on loving myself well – a 2015 intentional (#1)}

  1. Kelly

    May 15, 2015  |  06:30 pm

    This is so fitting for my life right at this moment. I will have to look this book up. Thank you Shelley!

    • rlforwomen

      May 15, 2015  |  08:19 pm

      Oh Kelly, I felt especially vulnerable with this post. I think because the feelings are so raw. So thank you for saying that it was fitting for you. It makes me feel a little more confident that the words could help someone else. xoxo-S

  2. Caroline

    May 15, 2015  |  11:11 pm

    Nice Shelly. It sounds like these pillows were a symbol for observing healthy boundaries…?

    I agree it is so hard to get this stuff right. Maybe impossible this side of heaven to have our motives and timing as well as our actions always perfectly in line. But for the grace of God…

    I think I trounced a friend’s pillow during our small group just last week. So excited to be asked to explain emotional “triggers” to him, I used his own slightly over-the-top reaction from the week before as an example 🙁

    I did really desire him to understand, but I am also very sensitive to being accused, so in preparation to vulnerably share my own experience, I tried to disarm him first! It worked, and I was not attacked after sharing, but in my disarming , I think I might have totally destroyed hard earned trust 🙁

    So… is there grace for me to go on living? Absolutely, but also there is grace for active repentance whenever possible. I know I hate to be set up like that, so I hate even more when I do it to others.

    Just like for my addict husband in recovery, repentance is the road back to relationships for me as well. But I don’t care so much for humble pie either.

    • rlforwomen

      May 20, 2015  |  08:19 pm

      Exactly Caroline. The pillows would symbolize healthy boundaries. Sometimes we don’t know we’ve crossed a boundary that we shouldn’t have until we find ourselves sitting inside someone else’s fence. Getting up, excusing ourselves, and walking out the gate is a very humble thing to do indeed. And then working at rebuilding the trust that might have been broken. Oh so hard. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here, you seem to always give me more to think through.

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