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Give Yourself Grace When You Fall Down

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Inside: On giving yourself the gift of grace when you stumble and fall.

Sweating and frazzled, I rushed up the stairs and into my eighth-grade Algebra class. I beelined for my seat in hopes of having my butt down before the jarring sound of the tardy bell signaled, “Too late. Game over.”

But my clumsy, 5’ 11” frame got tripped up by my size 10 feet. The rubber toe of my Ked’s caught the carpet.

I lurched, stumbled awkwardly, and fell hard in the aisle just a few feet from my desk. The sound was deafening as I went down like a baby giraffe and lay sprawled out on the floor.

Standing at the front of the room, my teacher calmly looked up from her grade book and peered at me over her glasses.

“When Grace finds her chair, we’ll begin.” She announced to the class.

Red-faced, embarrassed, and giggling nervously, I picked myself and my books up off the floor and scrambled into my seat.


How do you react when you stumble and fall? Do you beat yourself up? Or do you give yourself grace?

I have never been the epitome of grace. I’ve always lived a bit messy. I laugh loudly. Shout when I shouldn’t. Interrupt when I’m excited. Trip over nothing. Bump into furniture.

Sometimes, I spill food on myself.

“You’re like a bull in a china shop,” my great-grandmother used to say.

And sometimes in life, like that day in Algebra, I’m late “getting to my chair.”

Meaning: I miss my mark. I fall short. I get lost. Or I fall before I get there. Do you see what I’m saying?

I’m so messy. Ungraceful.

But I think that when we have those ungraceful moments – the moments when we’re trying to get to our destination, whether it’s hitting a goal or getting a promotion or finding the relationship, and we struggle to get there – that’s when we need to give ourselves the gift of grace.

Example: Even though it was mortifying to fall flat on my face in front of 25 other teens, it was a moment of growth. Yes, I was embarrassed. But also, I laughed. Because it WAS funny.

Laughing was a relief. Because it was a reminder that I am human and that even when I fall, even when I miss my chair, I can just pick up my books and slide safely into my seat.

I gave myself grace.

I find that no matter how old I get, most days I’m still trying, sometimes in a clumsy manner, to just get to my damn chair.

Aren’t we all just trying to get to our next chair before the bell rings?

Sometimes, it’s in our careers. Lurching awkwardly to chair might mean trying to get your career right. Or not get fired from the job you have. Because maybe it’s a bad fit or you’re struggling with the work. Maybe it’s trying to find the job. Or start your own business.

I’ve had so many missteps in my career. Sometimes I struggle to feel worthy as a result. Do you ever feel that way?

Give yourself grace.

It happens in our relationships. I miss the mark in my marriage a lot. Sometimes I’m too picky. Or demanding. There are days I don’t give my husband the attention and focus he deserves. There are times that I am just a terror. These are my worst moments, when I fall hard and flat on my face.

Do you fall short in your relationships?

Give yourself grace.

Parenting is an area where my clumsiness shows. As much as I say I won’t, I still lose my temper occasionally. Or I’m not fully present with my daughter. I think I probably fall every single day when it comes to being a mom.

Do you ever feel like you’re failing as a parent?

Give yourself grace.

Every day, in one way or another, I am my eighth-grade self that falls on the way to my chair.

So when I miss the chair because I lack grace in making decisions, giving effort, being a better communicator, or any other aspect of my life, I try to remember to give myself the gift of grace so I can get up and keep going.

I may not be graceful.

But I can give myself grace. And so can you.

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