As I was counting gifts the other day... because this is now a habit and I count on, on good days and on bad... I was writing #886, about how I was able to not allow a friends' tendency to fear the worst effect my faith or stop up the flow of grace when the thought came at me fast and furious and caught my breath for a moment:
"Grace should be slippery... running through hands! There is no clutching it tightly."
Grace is not meant for only us... one can't really be stingy with it!
It is so much easier to extend Grace when we are mindful of two things:
#1. That we are desperately in need of it ourselves and
#2. That none of us 'earns' it... no not one.
I have gone through seasons of religion; times in my life and in my walk with God that I forgot how free Grace is meant to be. I felt somehow that once I received grace for salvation, I was working to earn it for any time after... any sin that ensnared. Oh - I wouldn't say that. I knew it was not good theology, but to be honest - the religion taught me to approach sin with a sliding scale and a few under the breath snide thoughts.
MY sins were clearly covered by grace... yours were probably even covered... or at least you were trying to get them covered... but (insert stranger or random person I may have known here)... well... c'mon? psh... really!? Some kind of price MUST be paid. True repentance must be uttered loud enough for us to hear - or at least see that it is heartfelt! There HAS to be consequences...
How quickly we forget that the price has been paid... repentance is not up to us to judge... consequences are between the repentant and the Lord... not for us to decide on! I think the consequences for us not extending grace are harsher than for 'them' (us) falling in to sin.
A few weeks ago, a friend commented that I was 'brave' in my writing... in my sharing of myself across the screen to readers who don't know me. Funny... rarely, in all of my life, have I felt brave! It was a true compliment and one I am leaning in to... this trying to be real... to stay transparent... to let go of my perfectionistic tendencies and be brave... take risks... risk failure (or judgement or fill-in-the-blank). The comment came after I had gone back and forth with how to share a very real struggle without sharing a story that is not all mine to tell. I walked the edges of it carefully and felt a great release in the letting it go; putting it 'out there'... then we experienced another right hook... boy - is it me, or do they just keep on coming?
So... after much prayer... I blogged about that. It was real and raw and honest... it stirs up so much in me just to go back and reread it myself, that I must admit I feel a bit naked... yet I know He covers me. What I really wanted to share in that post that I don't know if it really came across is this:
Grace is best given away, when it comes up from within us... overflowing out of what we've been given.
Grace is free... it is, as Eugene Peterson wrote in The Message 'aggressive forgiveness'... it's what the most broken shattered pieces of you need... and what those around you are not even daring to hope for.
So when the Lord said Grace is slippery and it should run through our hands... I felt that. I felt those words! Flashbacks of kitchen floors and tears and brokenness... of how my emotions went from fighting off fears of failing at this one thing I felt I was gifted at... at this one call I felt sure I was doing well... to pouring out Grace to create a buffer zone.
I wanted Grace to saturate the situation, so the lies of the enemy could not stick. You are more than the mistakes you make! Grace is free... as I smooth your hair, and wipe away mascara and wounds that run deep... it is slipping through my hands and I pray it is seeping into your soul.
There is nothing you can do - nothing you MUST do - to earn back Grace. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. It's already been paid for and if I believe it was paid for and it is free for me... surely it must then also be free for you! He stretches out His nail pierced hands, and let's Grace just slip right through.
We are called to extend Grace... to be Grace! I pray as this truth washes over you, that you will find the Flow of Grace increasing in and around and through you...
Don't clutch it close... but with open hands and grace soaked hearts, let it slip through your fingers, and drip from your words!
Speak Life. Be Love. Shine On.
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