growing grace

Sometimes, I feel like different portions of my life are very separate and portioned out from one another. On weekdays, between 8 ish and 5 ish, I have my work-professional-be-a-good-employee life, other days, I have my symphony-music life (like during the two hours in which I am at rehearsal and stumbling very badly over one of Strauss’s awesome-but-super-hard compositions), Sundays (and some other days too), I have my church-and-ward-service life, and on weekends, I have my Will-and-me-and-sometimes-social-stuff-too life. Sandwiched somewhere in between all of those too, is my workout-life, my healthy-eating life (trying, anyway), my mundane-run-errands-and-be-a-grown-up life, my reading-good-books life, and my calling-and-spending-time-with-important-people life–none of which there ever seems to be enough time for.

They’re all really great lives. And I honestly don’t feel like, at this point in my overall existence, I am in an exceptionally busy or crazy fast-paced stage. I recognize that, and, having forced myself to live on the edge of my capacity for busyness, schedules, things-to-do, and running every which way for far too many years, I’m truly grateful that I’m learning to not pack it in quite so much. (In terms of life. Not necessarily food. Although that’s a good goal too.)

But I have found that sometimes, I tend to get in the habit of seeing these different things I do as separate from each other, discrete packages with little to no crossover at all. When I first began thinking about this, I thought that perhaps the one exception would be my church life, as I happen to belong to a church that highly encourages practical application of all faith-based matters.

But when you actually try to do that? When you try to un-compartmentalize different portions of your life and recognize that you’re cheery with which the cashier at the store and you’re far-too-easily annoyed at the driver who cuts you off. And worse still, you’re willing to see the good in your best friend, but you continually internally criticize the way that other person who shall remain nameless chooses to handle certain situations…well.

It just goes to show you that you are the lump sum of all of your compartmentalized lives. And then you start to see that your brushes with divinity result when you put aside the barriers between sections of your life and recognize that the integrity you’re trying to have with your eating habits, and your sometimes not-total-honesty with yourself about what you can and can’t take on crosses over between your healthy-eating life and your personal-introspection life. And that your belief in an all-powerful God who loves and cares for you because you’re his child, and your worries about your temporal future are actually integrally intertwined. And then you remember that, of course, because you believe in that, you can then also believe that those worries will be cared for, alleviated, and taken care of. After all, if a=b, and b=c, then c=a too, you remember, like in 5th grade math. (Seems rather obvious, I know, but like I said–uncompartmentalizing really obvious principles across multiple facets of life like that hasn’t exactly been my strong suit of late, which is why I’m writing this post.) 🙂

Uncompartmentalizing like that for me, is a regular process that has to happen over and over again, because I’m mortal like that. And this time around, it has been revolutionary and totally terrifying. It means I can’t any longer just give lip service to this belief that I’ve professed, that the God of all the universe actually knows who little me is and gives more than a passing thought to my circumstances. It’s terrifying to confront your beliefs like that and actually try to live like you believe them, without any other lifelines. Because, now that I’m out of lifelines, there’s nowhere else to turn.

However, there’s a kind of freeing grace in uncompartmentalizing my perceptions of my life(s) like that. It’s like a faith-filled freefall deep into my soul, to discover what’s actually down at the heart of it, and to discover if those beliefs I’ve based my soul’s development upon will catch me once I do. And while it’s terrifying to let go like that, it’s so empowering to discover that that faith in the divine, that lowering of barriers between areas of my life actually enables a richness and beauty to living that I had not previously understood.

There’s a phrase I’ve seen multiple times in multiple contexts (on Pinterest, of all places) that I’ve come to really love. And in this letting go of my own self-made life compartments and barriers, in letting go of my fears to rely totally on faith because there’s nothing left to do, I find that I’m learning to live in the way that that phrase so perfectly encapsulates. I find that I can accept and confront my own sorely lacking self by trusting in that power, that grace that makes me whole.

I find I’m growing grace.