Real Thoughts on Grace and Gumption

June 11, 2015·

Today’s post is honest, a bit raw (we’re talking a whole lot of writing down my thoughts), and maybe even a bit vulnerable. With that in mind, I wanna talk about the balance between grace and gumption.

I’ve been struggling a lot lately with something. And sometimes I feel like the best way (for me, at least) to work through something is to write about it and just let the word vomit flow.

My whole life I’ve been the comedian. The people pleaser. The middle man. The “life” of the party. The neutral one.

I’m basically Switzerland.

Now, that’s not to say that I am not a strong person or what have you, because I am. It’s just this weird combination of being both extremely opinionated and determined while also feeling like I need everyone in the room to be happy.

I absolutely can’t stand it when someone is mad at me. It crushes me to know someone doesn’t like me. I’m just being totally transparent here… my personality is one where I just genuinely want to be liked. For those that understand the “color” personality test… I’m HIGH “Yellow.”

I’m not fake. I don’t lie or try to be someone I’m not to make friends. I honestly, truly, fully care about other people and just want to be their friend.

It’s my nature.

And there were times in my life where I was much more stubborn than I am now and much less likely to care what other people thought or said about me.

But, as I’ve gotten older, as my friend circle has ebbed and flowed, and as the things that consume my life have changed, I’ve noticed a pattern in myself and it’s something I’m really struggling with.

I see a lot of things that frustrate me. I experience a lot of things that make me sad. I interact with people who aren’t kind or gracious. I get e-mails from people who are just downright rude. I see people who could be successful if they just got out of their own way.

And I realize that this is just how the world is. The world is jacked up. People are mean. People are selfish. Life is hard. Not everyone is going to get along.

But… at what point do we stop saying, “That’s just how the world is” and quit the complacency game and say or do something about it? It’s a fine line and one that I’m just not sure how to walk.

Is it possible to be kind and gracious and “Switzerland” all at the same time… AND ALSO have the tough conversations and tell people what you think? You know, gumption.

If it is possible… how?!

I just don’t want to get to a point in my life where I look back and realize that I should have / could have said something in a particular situation and didn’t.

I am not an angry person – I rarely get mad. The reason being that from a very young age, my mom taught me all about how to deal with hardships and things that can or may upset us. She gave me the “timeline” gauge.

The timeline gauge is basically this…

When something happens to you that makes you upset, angry, hurt, whatever… you look at it on a timeline and you ask yourself the following:

  1. Will you still be upset about this particular situation in 20 minutes?
  2. Will you still be upset about this particular situation tomorrow?
  3. Will you still be upset about this particular situation next month?
  4. Will you still be upset about this particular situation next year?
  5. How about in five years?
  6. Ten years?
  7. Twenty years?

If your answer to question 1 or 2 is, “No.” You drop it and move on. If your answer to question 1 is, “Yes,” then you continue on down the line until you get to a question where you answer, “No.”

You use THAT gauge to determine how long you let whatever the situation is bother you or make you feel upset. Yes, it’s okay to be upset and mad. We shouldn’t ever suppress our feelings or not let natural emotions occur… but festering and letting negativity rule is us just unhealthy.

And so, over the years, I’ve let most things roll off my back because, well, my gauge said I shouldn’t care about it so I should drop it and move on.

But, I think I just got to a point where I started letting EVERYTHING roll off my back to a point where it’s just not good for me anymore. I’ve kept my mouth shut on things and in situations just because I wanted to avoid conflict.

I just didn’t care about being right. It wasn’t worth it to me.

And, it’s still not.

BUT, again, all that to say… at what point do I stop caring about being liked and start caring about really, truly voicing my opinion… with grace, kindness, and mercy.

And, I think that’s it. I think there’s a way to stand up for ourselves and speak our minds without coming off like an arrogant jerk.

It all comes down to grace, kindness, and mercy.

It’s about not acting on emotions. It’s about thoughtfully, carefully, and prayerfully crafting our thoughts and feelings and respectfully voicing them with those that matter or those that have wronged us in some way.

As I think about all of this, I think about how I want my own daughter to be raised and how I want her to look at life. I want her to always treat others with kindness, grace, respect, and love. I want her to be selfless, giving, and compassionate. I also want her to be strong, courageous, brave, and determined. I want her to be filled with righteous anger for the injustice in this world. I want her to stand up for herself and be able to defend herself when she’s under attack. I want her to know that she is beautiful and worthy and capable.

And as much as I want all those things for my own daughter, I realize that in more ways than I realize, I want those things for myself. Yet, I struggle so much to balance them all.

To be quite honest with you, I’m not 100% sure what my goal is in sharing all of this mind dump with you. I think in some ways it’s purely for me to just be able to put thought to paper (or computer screen, so to speak). In other ways I think I’m looking for validation… I’m looking for someone… ANYONE to tell me, “You are NOT alone! I feel the same way!” And in a completely separate way, I’m trying to muster up the courage within myself to work on this.

Because I think there can, and should, be a balance between being full of grace AND full of gumption. When I die I want people to say, “That Molly, she was full of joy, grace, and gumption.”