Someone was asking me the other day about my daughter heading off to college, saying it would be hard. That’s when I said, “I will miss her, and I’m excited for her.”
Lately, I’ve been paying more attention to that one little word—and. We live in a but and or society, but so much of our lives are and based.
After all, we are happy about the new house, and we are going to miss our neighbors. The new job is awesome, and the friends we made at the old office were pretty cool too. We are wistful when our babies grow up, and we are thrilled to sleep through the night. We are terrified when our teens get their driver’s licenses, and we love not having to cart them everywhere.
Those are pretty easy to comprehend, right? And becomes a little harder when it comes to dealing with people. You have strong political views, and you keep your mouth shut for a bit to listen to the other side. You really struggle with a jerk at work, and you see that he volunteers for a reputable charity on the weekend. You have a strong opinion about the vaccine debate, and you acknowledge that other moms also wrestle with their decision. You root for a football team, and you can get along with the rival team’s fans.
Frankly, it’d be so much easier to blindly label people as conservative or liberal, good or evil because categories are nice and clean. It takes thoughtful soul-searching to realize that life is not either/or all the time.
The hardest and to accept? The ones about me. You see, I think I’m pretty great. I can find a great rationale for all the words I say and choices I make. When I’m honest with myself, I know I am thoughtful to other people, and I am selfish. I say nice things about them, and I gossip. I work hard, and sometimes the people who pay me don’t get my very best. I love my family, and I am quick to get snippy.
This is why I need truth and grace. I need to be reminded that my rationalizations about my behavior are not okay and that Jesus has already taken the punishment I deserve for my sins. When guilt eats at me and I feel unworthy, I need to be reminded that I do sin and God sees me as if I don’t.
I’d love to hear what ands you see in your lives. Leave a note in the comments.
Also, to read more about another little word that makes all the difference in the world, check out Pastor Ben Sadler’s post called “You will have trouble . . . BUT.”
Linda Buxa is a writer and editor who cheers for one football team and is okay that her husband and son cheer for a different one.
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