Grace Isn’t Reserved Only for the Spiritual

Grace Isn't Reserved Only for the Spiritual by Christine Barnes

Let’s talk grace and self-compassion for a minute. And by grace and self-compassion I mean going easy on ourselves when that isn’t our natural instinct because things have played out differently than expected.

You’ve heard me bang on about really l-i-v-i-n-g life, as in living the life you want for yourself regardless of outside opinions and traditional or societal norms. But, if we’re being honest with one another, then we need to state the obvious. Doing so—living life for yourself—means you will inevitably be met with hardships and crossroads. This is why I also hit on topics such as values, resilience, and embracing your feelings.

So this Campaign for greater recognition of our everyday courageous acts and the requisite celebration cannot exist without (re)introducing grace into our lives. I’ll share a bit of background with you to further drive my point home.


Last night was my first night celebrating Halloween with children dressed in costumes who are trying to set a trick-or-treating world record for the most candy received since I went door-to-door as a kid myself. (A quick aside: I’m so dang thankful to have been welcomed into my man’s family and to be able to celebrate all kinds of holidays and memorable moments with them.) Our trick-or-treating group included my man’s sister, her husband, and their three daughters along with some of their family friends. I was excited to be on the other end of this holiday and to experience it with little and big kids alike.

Meanwhile, I knew I also wanted to get some writing done before the night was over so it was only a matter of time before my anxiety kicked in. Then I remembered: I would be a complete and utter hypocrite if I didn’t nip the worrying and allowing my mind to spiral out of control in the bud so I could enjoy this time I chose to spend with others.

Remembering to honor the moments that life gifts us is important, and it’s equally as important to be compassionate with ourselves when things don’t go the way we originally planned.

I made the decision not to rush Halloween activities and then I chose to eat dinner while catching up with my grandfather. It was just shy of 10pm when I finally arrived at uninterrupted free time at which point I decided to go to bed. And, since I see the value that transparency can add I’ll tell you that I still have a hard time accepting those decisions because I believe I am capable of fitting all the things into my daily schedule and that meals or adequate amounts of sleep are amongst the first things to be sacrificed. That is a ridiculous statement that I’m sharing with you as an insight into my mind as a soulpreneur and human with outlandish expectations, but I’m sharing it with you because I know you may have similar feelings and there is true power in finding likeness amidst our vulnerabilities.

And this is precisely the reason why we need to welcome or reintroduce ourselves to grace, or the act of kindness and forgiveness when things don’t go according to whatever plan we had envisioned. We’re so damn hard on ourselves and we can often find liability in situations that are ultimately out of our control yet we’ll gladly own the blame rather than practicing self-compassion.

We can continue marching down our paths with the courage to overcome whatever might come our way, but we’re also going to need to carry grace with us if we plan on getting any farther than what’s immediately ahead of us.

Life doesn’t need to be perfectly pre-planned in order for it to be lived or enjoyed for that matter. We need to allow for spontaneity and interruptions to our schedules because these sorts of unplanned moments are the moments we’ll wistfully look back on.