I’ve been resting my too-busy fingers for a few days while I mulled over some recent life lessons. My schedule became a little too frenetic, and the busyness encroached on my calm. I had to take time to beat it back into submission. I’m sure that’s not uncommon.
I read something today, and it started me thinking. I came across it at Cara Strickland’s blog here, but the idea originated at Addie’s blog here. Can we just talk about grace for a second in a real way?
Simply put, grace is necessary!
But, I don’t always want to admit I need grace. I try to find ways to manage life so I don’t need it. I catch myself trying to make things fit some kind of “just so” portrait. There’s an image in my mind that is close enough…good enough…at the edge of perfection enough. I just don’t want to go to the place where I need grace. That says I missed the mark somehow. I might have (gasp!) failed. I burn a lot of energy—and probably calories—trying to avoid grace.
I think about how hard I work to avoid needing grace.
I know it is the truest thing. The most beautiful thing. But I keep working myself to exhaustion, trying to somehow deserve it.
She worded it so well! I don’t know about you, but it made me feel both thankful to read something that spoke to my heart…and sad that it was my heart.
Grace is not earned, or else it is not grace!
Now if by grace, then it is not by works; otherwise grace ceases to be grace. Romans 11:6
This truth absolutely has to settle deeply in my heart and mind. My little mustard seed needs extra TLC to grow, but it has got to grow. I want to trust, believe, and act in faith on this one, and there are two very important reasons why.
First, it’s impossible. What I am trying to accomplish is flat-out impossible. I am flawed. The minute I have some idea of perfection in my mind, I don’t have to look far to find someone who could raise the bar on my standard without any effort on their part. Honestly though, the best human effort still leaves room for improvement! I try to remind myself of that.
The other reason comes out of a question you ask when you’re getting honest about this kind of thing:
When I’m hoping to avoid needing grace—when I’m expending tremendous amounts of energy to escape grace—what does that say to or about the Giver of grace?
Maybe that’s the kind of question that will make you swallow hard or feel a big, hot tear roll down your cheek.
If any one of us doesn’t need grace….
The real question isn’t whether we need grace. The real question is if we recognize that we do—and whether we are humble enough to admit that and receive it.
We all have very real, difficult challenges, moments that fall in the category of “too difficult to stand.” That’s how I ponder grace and think about Psalm 121:1-2 at the same time. By grace, I am helped!
*Check out the links to the blogs above. They inspire me, and maybe they’ll inspire you, too.
*Photo credit: jjmelberg (text was added).