I wrote last week about being the challenged versus being challenged. I rode the Raccoon River Trail on Monday by myself. It’s about a 5-6 hour bike ride, and I thought it would be busy; nice day … holiday – perfect for a bike ride. It was oddly quiet – there were times I didn’t see another rider for miles and miles. About ¾ in I stopped for a Gatorade and a cookie, and I met some other people on the trail. We talked about stuff – the weather, the lack of riders on the trail, and general bike stuff. I left before them and decided to crank out the last ¼ of the ride. Behind me came a guy about my age from the group riding hard. He passed me (competition trigger in my mind … no one passes me …). So I sped up to his speed, and we rode the last part fast. He challenged me, and it was really great.
I thought about this as I drove back home. “No one passes me …” came to mind. I’m the type of guy who advocates change, but in reality, unless I initiate the change (it’s my idea) then I don’t like it. Change challenges me. But when challenged and pushed; it was good – I enjoyed it. When engaging in discussions with people who hold different opinions than mine, I want to win. And if I don’t – I’m disappointed. So when I am presented with the thought “always practice grace … even when you are challenged” … I typically think “ugh”.
I’ve had a lot of success in life. I like to think I’ve been challenged a lot, and I’ve risen to the occasion and succeeded, but really, I find myself participating in only things I can succeed in. I avoid situations where I wouldn’t be a likely winner. However, if I want the next 52 years of my life to be the best possible* then I need to figure out how grace always comes into my decisions and reactions to outcomes. My attitude towards winning, competing, participating … needs to change. My reactions toward all subjects need to start and end from a place of love and acceptance. This will not be easy.
Always practice grace doesn’t (in my opinion) mean that you should change your mind with regards to your long held opinions. What it means to me is to give a bit of pause and reflect on whether the issue really needs you to speak up. There are always two (or more) perspectives to an argument, and if we are able to not personalize a situation to our own long held beliefs, but allow some space before reacting, grace will intervene, and we will have the possibility not to regret our actions or reactions.
*I fully plan on living to 105.