As I’ve learned more about what grace is, and what it looks like, I’ve realized even the tiniest places where mine needs to grow. I’ve been searching for ways to be more graceful, but it was this thought below that started my notes, and my desire to share what I’ve gathered.
“Man, we are tough on one another, starting with ourselves. When Jesus said to “love your neighbor as yourself,” I don’t think He meant judgmentally; but that is exactly how we treat our own souls, so it bleeds out to others. Folks who thrive in God’s grace give grace easily, but the self-critical person becomes others-critical. We “love” people the way we “love” ourselves, and if we are not good enough, then no one is.”
~Jen Hatmaker, For the Love
Did you catch that? I feel like shouting it to ensure my soul hears (and anyone else’s who might need it). “FOLKS WHO THRIVE IN GOD’S GRACE GIVE GRACE EASILY…”
I’m convicted. Not because I haven’t experienced God’s grace, but because I don’t give grace to others easily. And if I’m not dishing it out, I must not be thriving in it. And if I’m not thriving in it, what am I missing in my relationship with God?
I’m very self-critical though. I worry about the sun marks on my face, and how noticeable they are to others. I worry about my weight, and what others may think of me. I worry about whether or not I’m a good mom. And what Joe really thinks of me as a woman, and his wife. I’m overly concerned with the way my house looks when people come over. The list goes on really. And if I’m this self-critical, what am I doing to others?!
I decided to ask myself, what does it mean to thrive, specifically in God’s grace? The word thrive means “to prosper; be fortunate or successful; to grow and develop vigorously; flourish.” I admit, these words sting a bit. Because I’m not thriving in God’s grace. I’m existing, for sure, but I don’t feel I’m prospering or flourishing.
So here I am, laying it out here for you all to see… I’m imperfect and hurting, and sometimes judgmental. But I WANT to be so full of grace that people who meet me walk away feeling rejuvenated and loved. Because I know when I’ve taken the time to sit and think of where and who I am because of grace, I feel stronger, and fortunate, and successful, and most definitely, I feel prosperous.
The day after I read the words above, our pastor at church spoke from Matthew 11:28-30, and using the Message translation, he read,
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.
So now my goal? I’m learning to live in the unforced rhythms of grace. Because I want to give grace easily. Because I was given grace so freely.