Today, as yesterday, I needed grace. Lots. Of. It. Not just a trickle of patience and favor, but drenching downpours. My human nature has a default setting of irritability, impatience, and self-centered entitlement. I’m often in need of more nourishment and rest, which cranks up my crankiness factor. In my rough-edged norm, thoughts trend to suspicion and despair. I fall short of perfect and blame others for doing the same. In fact, I find criticism an excellent means of diverting my attention from the flaws I share with others. Am I alone in my wretched default state?
I suppose not. The apostle Paul confesses, “I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! ” (Romans 7:23-24).
Overcoming our nature sounds daunting, if not impossible. How can we become more loving and patient when our first response is often the opposite? The idea of living daily as people of grace sounds like spiritual idealism. We love the thought of God’s favor and forgiveness, but receiving it thoroughly enough to dwell and share in the riches of love proves more challenging.
Especially if trying to practice grace like a step-by-step business plan. Shame those gutter-attitudes and lazy habits like a drill sergeant. Invest in a million-dollar smile, whitened to perfection. Give until it hurts, and then give more. Work like a slave at volunteering and pretend you like it. Stifle your complaints about time demands. Rock the veneer of teeth-gritted “patience” until your enamel shatters. When your willpower-driven attempts at living with grace explode, try again from the beginning.
So … not sustainable.
Not even close to the life of grace either, by the way.
But it’s all I can synthesize by willpower. And that’s often my first mistake.
I don’t have the resources to feed my void of grace. On my own, I’d remain grace-starved and hangry. I need regular nourishment to ward off the default attitudes and live abundantly with joy.
So how can we access regular doses of a necessary source we don’t have? Here are a few strategies for receiving grace and living in it:
- Acknowledge the need.
- Identify and release obstacles.
- Submit to the source.
- Receive the love and peace of God’s grace in all parts of your being and life.
- Take time to meditate on the presence and power of grace.
- Share regular meals of gratitude with the Lord to avoid “hangry” symptoms.
- Rise in security. Fear is the opposite of love, and saboteur of grace.
- Imbibe scriptures centered on grace. Don’t allow too long between doses. Re-hydrate regularly.
- Look for opportunities to share grace with others.
- Ask the Lord, “How can we make someone’s day better today?”
- Ask yourself how you can best serve as an ambassador of love and kindness in each ordinary situation.
- Remember to forgive yourself and others when the human nature’s default settings kick in. We all make mistakes, but none of us ARE mistakes. Redemption means we can learn and grow beyond the moments we’ve failed to live our best.
- End each day with gratitude for the ability to receive and share grace.
In today’s video, I share the contrast between a day when I had a tech-triggered tantrum and yesterday’s supernatural flow of grace beyond my own ability. I’m not perfect, of course. But we all depend daily on the ONE who is perfect enough to redeem and transform us. I’d love to hear your strategies for living with grace each day. Please share them in the comments!
P.S. I have two great pieces of news to share with all of you.
First, I’ve launched Flourish-Meant: a podcast for living as you were meant to, so you can flourish. The first episodes are now available, and more are on the way! Tune in by clicking on the page included on my website.
Secondly, but not less importantly, I’ve received the first copies of my new book on women’s Christ-centered significance and power, which releases officially on July 15th! Beautiful Warrior: Finding Victory over the Lies Formed Against You is available for pre-order with New Hope Publishers at https://www.newhopepublishers.com/shop/beautiful-warrior/. If you’d like to see the unboxing of these lovely books and share my excitement, watch the YouTube video.
I have a Facebook page dedicated to Beautiful Warrior, an Instagram collection of quote-graphics, and a Pinterest board for Warrior Women. I LOVE having friends join me for virtual lattes, so feel free to visit anytime.
There’s also still time to enter several contests related to the book’s release! Submit multiple entries to win $300 in the pre-order contest, available until July 14th. For those who would lend their energy to the cause of women’s Christ-centered empowerment and esteem, join the Beautiful Warrior launch team and/or become a blog warrior. Each set of tribe members gain a chance to win big prizes and gifts while contributing to the spread of a much-needed message. But the window for joining the launch team closes soon, as does the opportunity to get a spot on the blog tour. So hurry to enter now, and you could win a Kindle fire or $175.
One more gift could be yours today! If you haven’t yet subscribed to the warrior tribune, enter your email on my website at the prompt “Join the Warrior Tribe.” Everyone who joins my email list will receive a FREE chapter of Beautiful Warrior, along with exclusive content and giveaway opportunities. If you’ve already joined, you’ll get this bonus in your next newsletter edition.
I appreciate each of you so much! I’d love to share more with you at local events, so please invite your group coordinators (women’s ministry leaders, pastors, retreat and conference planners, book club leaders, business organizations, women’s groups, librarians, e.g.) to visit my speaking and contact pages. I’m currently building my calendar, and would love to meet each of you in person. May the Lord bless your journeys with grace, truth, and abundant joy.