Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Room for Grace
Do you ever feel like you don't measure up? I do. Do you feel pressure to keep up pretenses of perfection? Yes. Do you ever feel like a failure when you don't live up to others' expections? Absolutely!
Put all those expectations and pressures in a room, lock the door and denounce the voice of defeat. Box the unrealistic expectations up and close the lid. Seal them in the room labeled "Grace".
What is possible for one to upkeep may be quite difficult for another. God doesn't require us to "do" certain legalities to earn our place with Him.
The woman with no children at home will most likely find it easier to keep her home tidy than a mother with four crumb smashers hanging onto her leg while she struggles to make a meal just to have it left uneaten by picky little mouths.
"Grace" makes up the difference between where we are and where we are going. That doesn't mean we shouldn't want to improve and be all God wants us to be. It does mean that on the way to where we are going, we can walk light and not be burdened down with a load of legalism trying to gain approval. God approves of us with dusty dressers and unorganized sock drawers. He approves of us with frazzled hair and flip flops (or even when we accidentally wear our slippers out in public--which I have done quite frequently!).
Someone pointed out to me today that when we mess up (and we will mess up), the degree to which we condemn ourselves or entertain negative thoughts tells us how much we really understand His grace and the cross. Would Jesus say that to you? Umm...no. He would speak correction encouragingly. What she said really spoke to me.
I realized that this "grace" girl needs a bigger room for grace. I need Jesus. I cannot do this journey or live this life on my own. I won't try to pretend that I have it all together and I pray you still like me even though I don't. However, if you don't, God's grace can cover that too! I need this as much as anyone. Right now as I am writing this, I am looking at an unmade bed with clothes freshly washed piled on top that need to be put away. And I almost deleted that last sentence for fear of what you would think of me! (I do usually make my bed, but to be real, there are mornings it doesn't happen and today was one of those days.)
Along with giving ourselves grace, we need to make room to give others grace as well. There is enough grace for everyone. We don't have to keep it all for ourselves and we shouldn't. When others mess up or disappoint, or even hurt or betray you, the room labeled grace is big enough for that as well. God already paid the price for their forgiveness as well as yours. It isn't right to hoard all the grace space ourselves.
I also need to practice giving others grace. Is there someone in your life constantly disappointing you or hurting you. This person may be someone you have to have in your life, such as a family member. I understand forgiving over and over again can be hard, but it is necessary for your heart health. They need grace too (and maybe a little distance might be beneficial). Maybe you can build them a faraway vacation home in the mountains and label it grace. :)
Who is with me? Who needs to build a room labeled "Grace" and put all the expectations the world and others place on us in there? As we get closer to Jesus, He leads us and guides us as to what we should do and what should take priority. Today, I decided that writing on grace to you beautiful readers was just a tad bit more important than laundry. (Laundry will wait, but I will get the laundry put away--promise!)
"The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly along with faith and love that are in Christ Jesus." 1 Timothy 1:14
"The gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace." Col 1:6
"I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” Galations 2:21
I'd love to hear from you. What is something you beat yourself up about? How can you give yourself grace while working to improve on that area? What do you sense the Lord saying to you about this area?