My laundry list would easily be a mile long if I pointed out everything I don't like about myself. Don't get me wrong, I love myself but I'm also my toughest critic. I dislike my handwriting, my feet are too big, my stomach could be much flatter, and blah, blah, blah. I've become very qualified at calling out my own flaws before someone else has the opportunity to do so. I don't know if it is a defense mechanism or another form of self-deprecation but I do it.
Heading into a bar on Friday, I was talking to my colleague, Amber, about my writing and she mentioned a new book she was reading titled Radical Acceptance. I've never read the book and don't know if I ever will but the name intrigued me. The mention of anything being radical as of late has been paired with negative connotations. In this moment, it dawned on me that some things can be radical and good. Some things can be radical and brave. Some things can be radical and freeing.
The concept of radical acceptance isn't one I had ever heard of but I realized how important it truly is. Too often, we have conditions on what we accept from others and even more so, what we accept from ourselves. We play a cruel game of balance and trying to stay within the lines of what society sees as right or what we believe will please with others. What if, within reason, we accepted ourselves just the way we are? What would happen if we accepted those around us for exactly who they were made to be?
After a bit of reflection, I realized the acceptance God has for me is just this: radical.
I'm about as flawed as they come and still somehow manage to find His grace. I haven't been to church in a while, my prayers have been slacking, still cursing like a sailor yet I'm here. I'm still here and blessed far beyond measure. That's radical. Radical is the idea that with all my many flaws and continued shortcomings that God could still find the time to look out for me. The beautiful thing about Him is that He doesn't just extend this grace to me but to us all. It reminds me that no matter how hard I am on myself that in His eyes, I couldn't be more perfectly made in His image.
The question is, how did I miss this radical acceptance for myself and the acceptance I have of others? I've been too busy being hard on myself to realize that in a lot of ways my flaws are just the things that make me more interesting. I also failed to have radical acceptance for God's will. So many times God has thrown me a curveball and when I say I missed the shot...I mean just that. Many a night has been spent asking God why instead of saying, I don't know why but I accept your will.
Had I fully accepted God's will years ago, I would have saved myself countless nights shedding tears for situations out of my control. Had I accepted God's will years ago, I may have spent more time creating solutions rather than wondering how the problems came to be. Transformation happens when we begin to accept what is in order to get to what will be. Transformation takes radical acceptance of the good and bad.
If we developed an overall radical acceptance in all aspects of our life than the issues we struggle with would be greatly reduced from mountains to the molehills they are. I dare you to radically accept what life is throwing you. I dare you to radically accept every bit of you, the good and bad. I dare you to radically accept the people in your life who've done you wrong. The moment we begin to let go of these things we can't accept or decide to accept that it will be what it is meant to be, we begin to free ourselves. The one thing that may beat radical acceptance is the idea that you can help lead yourself to radical freedom.