For the past month or so, I’ve had the privilege of being in a stellar small group with some friends from Willow Creek Huntley. Lately, we have been diving into some curriculum from Max Lucado all about grace. One of the big quotes Max uses about grace is this, “Grace is the voice that calls us to change and gives his the power to pull it off.” This has been so key for the season I am in.
One of the hardest things for me is starting something new that turns out to be much larger than I originally anticipated. The easiest choice I could make in this situation is to panic, be anxious, and to feel insufficient. The hard choice is to bestow grace upon myself, ask more questions, and take baby steps forward.
I was chatting with my sister about this topic a few months back and she shed some beautiful light by saying, “Sometimes you have to learn to walk by holding someone else’s hand.” She is experiencing this first hand, as she and Caleb watch my niece, Haddie, transform from a dependent infant to a curious, walking toddler. There is no shame in how Haddie takes her time in learning to walk. She gladly holds on to a firm hand while exploring the intricacies of walking. This season won’t last forever, though. She will gain confidence in her stride and move on to the next challenge, knowing that she has a confident hand behind her.
I find it so difficult to bestow this grace – unmerited favor, a sense that no matter what happens, I am for you, God is for me – upon myself, especially when I know that I messed up and deserve the consequences thereof. It is so much easier to bestow grace upon others…but I am realizing the depth of importance that God places on receiving His grace for ourselves. It is truly a life-changing mindset shift.
In small group two weeks ago, one of the team members blew my mind with a story. He said that his business took a turn about a year ago, when he started volunteering at church in production. Instead of getting chastised every time he made a mistake, he was presented with grace – the assurance that he will get it next time, don’t worry. Seeing that grace towards him in a volunteer role started him thinking about how he could extend grace in his business, and it changed how he operated on a daily basis. This took me by surprise, as I was directly involved with him during this volunteer time. In a period of time where I was struggling to give grace to myself, I somehow bestowed it upon my friend, who received it and passed it along.
This past weekend, I directly received grace while I was working on Sunday. In a situation where time was short, a lot had to get done, and I wasn’t sure what to expect, grace was bestowed upon me in a beautiful manner: I approached a co-worker and apologized for how things had gone down with rehearsals, and instead of being responded to with the negativity I was expecting, I was responded to with grace. I walked away from that moment with a full heart.
The power of grace is so strong. I encourage you to find ways to spread grace – a knowing that no matter what, you are for those around you – wherever you are. You will be surprised at the results. It is by no means easy – spreading grace takes intentionality – but it is so rewarding.
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.