Threads of Grace
Updated: Apr 17, 2020
I'm sure that you've heard the expression a time or two. Most of us can recall a point when we've been dubbed "grace" by others who were witness to the fact that we truly were not graceful in that moment. That moment when we allowed our the lack of grace to show, unguarded for the outside would to judge. I know I do all of the time.
Some times this remark seems more warranted than others, like the millionth time my Pop Pop referred to me as an "elephant" stomping up and down the stairs vs the snark remarks that are meant to cut deep by others trying to shield themselves from attention being called to all of the ways that they too lacked grace.
The culmination of all of these moments proved to be more valuable than the emotions that surfaced in reaction to the individual circumstances themselves. If I could place a picture alongside of this word, graceful, it would prove hard to encompass. Realizing that being graceful is more complex than what others view on the outside, only comes with maturity. While recognizing the fact that others see our outside before they will ever see our inside, is needed in order to both develop and survive in our surroundings. Typically this outward judgement is the primary way they decide if they even want to give the "getting to know us" part a shot in the first place.
I have never been particularly graceful . Never enjoying sports or really anything that demanded coordination. Despite how hard I have tried, I still awkwardly fumble along as if I have two left feet. Ever been there? Feeling out of place among a sea of grace?
Really that's what it feels like. The odd ball out. The goofy one. A third wheel, even if there weren't any other wheels involved. Continually comparing ourselves with our surroundings and finding ourselves lacking in that comparison.
Things that we believe hold true. Perception truly is reality. This especially holds fast concerning our feelings about ourselves. Some reasoning's only hold true to ourselves, while others are universal. What if you believed everything you were told about yourself? Even worse what if you believe everything you told you about yourself?
The lack of grace I felt physically grew to define how I felt emotionally and spiritually. I didn't see it at the time. I was blind to the fact that I was lacking in many more ways than the ones that I had convinced myself that I hadn't measured up to. I was lacking in the true understanding of the word grace.
The term grace has three primary meanings. According to Dictionary.com, grace is defined as "elegance or beauty of form, manner, or action" (which is) "a pleasing or attractive quality or endowment". This definition passes judgement on the refinement of our movements, our actions and our outside appearance. The second definition "extends courteous good will, honoring someone or something by one's presence". The third defined in the Bible, is divine grace, the one that imparts us with security and strength.
This grace energizes us, regenerates us, sanctifies us. It inspires us. It helps us endure trials and resist temptations. It is God's gift to us; undeserved favor we will never ever be able to earn. He gives it to us freely just as He gave is son for us because he loves us that much and wants us to be apart of His family also!
Kind of unimaginable for the world to comprehend a love so deep, but for those of us who have experienced it, there is nothing in this world even comparable. An eternal blessing of grace despite not deserving it and not being able to earn it, especially in a society that tells us to work hard and hustle even harder at every given moment. Our worldly surroundings consistently tell us that if we cannot keep up with the pace around us, that we will only be left behind in its dust. Divine favor in spite of who we are in thought, word and deed is an amazing gift from God. Embrace it as this is the pace that we need to set for our lives. Reflect it so that others desire the same grace that you know through observation of you.
It took moving across the country for a second time and 35 years of preconceived notions on my gracelessness to be erased that I truly learned the final part of the definition. That no matter what I had done in the past and no matter how many times I would mess up again in the future, that God loved me so much He mercifully blessed me with His unmerited Grace. A gift that cannot be earned, despite the world telling me I needed to earn everything and doing an amazing job of reminding me that I could never be good enough to do so.
This sacrificial gift creates an undeniable sense of peace within that certainly passes the deepest level understanding and calls for an even deeper faith in His sovereignty and in His love for us. This journey has led me to places I never been before and continues to drive me forward, propelled by the grace that now defines me. I am a child of God and I look up to Him in faith and praise Him for His grace for me and for you.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- Not by works, so that no one can boast. - Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV
Threads of Grace
Ever have to deal with difficult people? We all know them, commute with them, work with them and do life around them. Sometimes we even live with them. Ever reach the cashier at a check out who was in even worse of a mood than you, despite the long line you've just waited through in your exhaustion and impatience, when you just want to go home after an incredibly long day?
When is the last time that someone bumped into you in public or cut you off in traffic and then scowled at you or maybe even cursed at you in their ignorance? How about the person who rear-ended you because looking at their cell phone was more important than the safety of others around them? Ever had the feeling that everyone thinks their time is so much more valuable than yours? Has anyone ever made fun of the way you looked and despite the fact that they have their own flaws, somehow it still stings?
Do you reflect God's grace to others despite your feelings in the moment? This is a very difficult challenge, but one that we are called to. It's very easy to become our surroundings, to reflect all that we are around. The old sayings that "we are what we eat" and "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree" actually mean the same thing! What we consume, whether it is what we food eat or what we input mentally, are reflected by us daily. Where we have come from can define us if we take no action to change our surroundings and circumstances for the better.
We need to make a conscious choice to sew threads of grace wherever we are, no matter the situation that we find ourselves in. No matter our feelings for others around us we are called to love like Jesus. In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus taught us that we need to sow seeds in good soil, with a firm foundation in order for our seeds to produce, not just grow and wither. The seeds that we plant are going to go through difficult seasons, but if our foundation is firm in Christ, we have everything we need to weather those storms and flourish through them.
Planting our seeds with others, even difficult ones, through our treatment of them no matter the situation is like handing them a thread of grace. A lifeline for them to hold fast to. A thread that is different than all of the other things they are holding onto. A thread so strong that even when all of the other threads around them seem to be unraveling, this thread of grace still seeks be a connected to the cloth from which it is weaved.
You don't need to worry about weaving all of the threads yourself. God will do this, we just need to reflect His Grace and share this free gift He has given us with others. Our God is bigger than any of our impermanent problems, always has been and always will be. Let go of the unwinding threads that you are trying to control and freely give these threads of grace to others and you will see how pleasing this is to God through the miracles He weaves in your life and in others lives around you.
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