• easpenner

Ready to Learn

Updated: Jul 28

Two days, sweet souls.

Two measly days.

That’s all it took to shatter my New Year’s goals.

I slept in. Raised my voice 14 too-many times. Lost my patience with a dog who stole abandoned food left on the table. Didn’t stretch my back. Only drank four glasses of water. Heated up leftovers for dinner again. Read my devotional, but not the pages marked in my Bible. Checked social media more than I’d care to admit. Ran out of time to walk/run my miles.

Failed.

And what made it all feel infinitely worse was the compounded effect of seeing everyone’s rockin-their-New-Year’s-resolutions photos. At the gym at 4:30. The entire house cleaned by 8:00 AM. Weekly menus planned for the next month. Already lost four pounds. Ran a 5K in the snow.

No one posted their failures.

Because that’s not what anyone wants others to see. And rightly so.

Our 20-1 ratio of failures and mishaps to accomplishments is self-depleting. So, we grunt and groan. Swallow our proud. And promise to start again tomorrow.

We vow to get up at 5:00 AM to work out. Instead, we find ourselves sleeping in until 6:30 because of staying up late to finish the dishes, meal-prep, bills and laundry.

You hide the chocolate to keep it out of sight and mind. Yet, 8:00 PM rolls around, and the craving hits harder than expected. Willpower is defeated by desire.

Cold winter mornings push us to stay snuggled in our beds. Soda sounds better than water. The Whole-30 was great for the first three days. Too many people are going to notice our out-of-shape bodies at the gym. We make plans for our new venture. Only to close them inside of our top desk drawer. Fearful of what others might think.

And instead of working harder at self-control, ambition and dreams, our fingertips repeatedly scroll through the blackhole of social media. And its inevitable comparison trap.

Unhealthy. Intentional. Harmful. Brought upon by ourselves.

Judgement. Comparison.

And then…grace. One of the greatest endowments gifted to mankind. The ability to start fresh. Getting what we DON’T deserve. Not getting what we DO deserve.


Grace is most-needed and best understood in the midst of brokenness. Adversity. Hardship. Wrongdoing. We live in a world of driven by achievement. Asset. Deservingness. Excellence. Trophies. Ribbons. Merit. Profit. Value. And worth. All quickly resulting in measuring ourselves against those who are so very different from ourselves.

The very reason each of us desires and craves grace. Judgment and comparison destroy. Only grace keeps us conscious. Living. Breathing. Operating. And existing with purpose.

And sweet friends, it all boils down to something so very simple. As a teacher, and a parent, our girls and my former students all participate(d) in a behavior plan. A clip-chart. Each new day, children start with their clothespins attached to the middle of the chart on a spot marked, “Ready to Learn”. Meaning, they are ready to start fresh and new with their day, responsibilities and behavior. As the school day progresses, students move their clips up for showing great character, making good choices and being responsible. Or, they move down, for poor behavior choices, irresponsibility, etc.

But here is the thing, their clips can move around all day. If a child forgets his homework first thing in the morning, and clips down from “green” to “yellow”, but by lunchtime, he could have helped a friend and moved back up the chart. And by the end of the day? With wonderful behavior and choices, he could even be at the top.

Grace.

The aspect I loved the most about the chart was the ability for kids to turn their day around at any point. And wow, how simple, yet such a powerful lesson as adults. God’s grace can and will be bestowed upon us at any time. Any time we are ready to shift our attitudes and perspectives and show Him that we are really and truly “Ready to Learn” and begin anew once again.

“My grace is sufficient for you.” (2 Corinthians 2:9) “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 2:8)

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