I’m not a shopper. If given the choice between going shopping and hanging out at home, I’ll choose staying home 95% of the time. I don’t like the crowds. I’m a bad decision maker (I’m one of those people who walks around the store with something I think I want only to put it back on the shelf just before I leave). I have to be in a certain mood to shop. That’s why I avoid Black Friday like the plague. The idea of battling crowds of people to get an item that everyone else is willing to fight me for is beyond stressful.
HOWEVER, I do like a good deal. So when Black Friday rolled around a month and a half ago, I compromised. I got a decent night’s sleep and went out in the morning after the insane rush was over. I knew it would still be busy though, so before I even left the house I started drilling a word into my head.
You will treat other people with grace today.
When someone cuts you off in traffic, you will offer grace.
When someone parks their cart in the middle of the aisle and you can’t get around them, you will extend grace.
When you’re in a checkout line a mile long and the person at the register is slower than death, you will take a deep breath, you will practice patience, and you will live with grace.
It worked. My blood pressure stayed low. My mood stayed bright. I enjoyed myself. While shopping. That’s big news.
After reflecting on that experience, I’ve decided to make GRACE my word for 2015.
There are, of course, many variations of the definition of grace and I can’t say that there’s a particular one that I plan to stick to.
I guess what I most want to keep in mind is this: Above all, grace is the free, unearned favor of God. There are many many many times when my actions and attitudes reveal how much I don’t deserve that grace. But if He’s offered it to me, I can certainly release others from my exacting demands and sense of entitlement.
There’s a good chance the person who left her cart in the middle of the aisle to grab a box of cereal didn’t do it just to annoy me.
What if that person who’s acting like a total jerk needs just one person to treat him in a way that doesn’t remind him of what a wretch he is?
Maybe my kids need a mom who can keep her cool and remember what it’s like to be little and unsure.
So this year, to the best of my ability, I will live under grace and I will offer grace, even to the people who don’t know I’m doing it. Because sometimes offering grace to others gives ourselves a little extra dose of it too.
And we can all use as much grace as we can get.
[Tweet “Need an extra dose of grace? Try offering some to others. @Oh_Honestly_LC”]