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I’m always on the receiving end of grace—I know this for sure—but lately, I feel it so deeply I’m tempted to wear a sign that reads, “Thank you in advance for your patience.”

In seasons like this, when human limitations suffocate and the ground I’ve gained seems lost, I thank God for the Golden Rule.  Truly.

You’ve heard it, right?

“…Whatever you want others to do for you, do also the same for them…” (Matt. 7:12). 

Of course, for this verse to bring me any comfort whatsoever, I must assume everyone, like me, makes mistakes, needs forgiveness, and craves second, third, and fourth chances.  I must believe they want and need from me what I want and need from them.  Otherwise, what’s the point?

What do I need, exactly?  Many things, but here is this week’s short list.

I need you to overlook raw presentation. It’s been an irregular, emotional time, and I haven’t had the presence of mind to plan my words and actions like I usually do.

I need you to assume best intentions. I haven’t had the time and energy to finish every conversation, respond to every question, or offer my thanks to those who so richly deserve it.

I need you not to fill in gaps. If you really need to know to move forward—sometimes we do—please ask me what I meant, what that look was for, and why I said or did what I said or did.  I may not even be aware that something passed between us or that it affected you.

I need your patience as I reboot parts of my brain that have lain dormant for a while and figure out how to function in this new normal.

I need you to forgive my absence and take up my slack in spots.

In a nutshell, I need you to love me. It’s a vulnerable place to be, for sure, but I’ve discovered the upside to living here in this state of humble need: an increased proclivity to love in return.

Don’t have the strength? Let me help you.

Don’t have the patience? Hang tight with me.

Don’t have the wisdom? I know the One who does. Let’s seek Him together.

I’m here for you.  I mean it, and I’m not sure I always have.

Truth?  I’m a much better person when I’m sucking grace by the gallon from the collective pool than when I’m floating effectively above it all, so I thank God today for this trial and give Him all the glory for any good that comes from it.

Things will get better.  They always do, even if my circumstances don’t really change, even if they get worse.  Sooner or later, I’ll figure out what God’s trying to teach me, and if I respond correctly by letting Him carve away excess and add what I lack, I’ll come away stronger, wiser, more Christ-like.  A sharper tool in the Father’s hand, I’ll be ready to move forward, and when I do, I’ll take this short list with me so I don’t forget what I needed from you in this moment, what you will, no doubt, need from me one day.