Right now the semicolon project is getting a lot of attention in the media, which is fantastic!
However, throughout my journey over the past year, there is another symbol that has had a profound impact on me. The ampersand. &. The word “and”. Very often in everyday conversation, we find ourselves using the word “but”. Example: “I’m tired, but I got plenty of sleep last night.” (yes, that’s the first example I could think of). By saying “but”, we completely discredit the first part of the sentence. The whole meaning sounds totally different if we say “I’m tired, AND I got plenty of sleep last night.” It shows that the 2 things can coexist. I know it sounds silly, but if you think about it in everyday life, it actually makes a lot of sense.
“And” is actually a really tricky concept for me because I have a hard time with black and white thinking. I tend to think in extremes; that things either have to be good or bad, right or wrong, big or small. So the idea that there is a grey area and that things can be good AND bad at the same time has been a big learning process for me. But because of AND, you can be brave and afraid; exhausted and motivated; scared and excited. You don't have to live with "or". You are free to feel whatever you feel, sometimes even all at once!
So where does the concept of grace come in? I once heard someone say, “there is grace in the “and”’. I am now learning what that means and what that looks like in my life. Travis Stewart said, “there are many ANDs in life. You can be terrified of peanut butter AND eat it anyway. You can be in your eating disorder AND still be loved by the Father.”
That is the definition of grace, played out in a real life scenario.
The actual definition of grace is this:
Grace: undeserved, unmerited, unearned, favor.
So when there is a voice inside me that says, “do better, try harder, fix yourself,” grace says, “God loves you, no matter what.” When the black and white thinking says, “I know God loves me, but I make so many mistakes,” grace says, “You do make mistakes AND God still loves you.”
Grace tells me that my past doesn’t matter. Grace tells me that I am loved for who I am, not what I have done. Grace shows me that I can be flawed AND loved.