Monday, March 17, 2014

A Journey Into Grace

When your whole world revolves around ‘doing it right, regular devotions, bible reading, dealing with sin, trying hard, following the law, judging actions, being good, guilt, pursuing holiness, striving’, Grace has a way of coming in and shattering all you held dear.

When your mindset shifts from works to grace, from ‘if I do this, then I am loved’ to ‘I’m loved no matter what’, it might leave you floundering a bit. Like a fish out of water. Gasping for air. Looking a bit awkward. Wondering if it is okay. If YOU are okay. Surely it can’t be this simply. Something, anything, just give me something to do.

There were times along this journey I thought perhaps I should seek counsel. This Grace felt so right in my spirit, but my mind could not grasp it. I couldn’t bring myself to seeking that counsel, though, it sounded so crazy in my head. I mean, really, I don’t have to read my bible? I don’t have to try to stop sinning? If I get off my own back, who is going to make sure I don’t sin so much? Won’t I be deceived, even lost?

Always, always, countering these thoughts were, ‘you have the Holy Spirit.’ ‘You are loved, it’s not YOU but Christ in you.’ ‘You already are good enough, holy, redeemed.’

Sometimes I would walk in this freedom and love. Sometimes I would get very panicky, what if I am wrong—I should read my bible, I should pray regularly, I should have the exact same ooey-gooey quiet times I have always had. When I did try, it felt so dry, so empty. I didn’t know where to turn.

At the same time, though, I had never more clearly seen the Lord’s hand in my life. I had never felt more secure and grounded, while at the same time feeling lost and alone. The dichotomy was making me crazy. I had never seen such fruit in my life. I was in constant awe of how He would use me to encourage or minister to someone. How could this be when I wasn’t doing everything right? How can I feel so dry yet pour forth fresh and living waters?

This turmoil had gone on for a very long time. Well over a year, I really can’t remember when it started. Nobody really knew, except my poor husband, who was privy to so many late night rants over my confusion. Thankfully he knew all was well, but often times didn’t even trust his take on it. He could be deceived too!

I simply could not wrap my legalistic little mind around grace. I still struggle a little bit, but not nearly as much. I still have a hard time putting words to it, this journey deep into grace. I do seem to be on the ‘other side’ of something, though. Stronger in this place of grace. Sometimes my desire to please my Father trips me up. I love Him so much and want to please Him. I panic a bit and think I should be doing more! But the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, the revealer of all Truth, comes in with a whisper, ‘your Father is already pleased because of what Jesus did. There is nothing you ‘should’ do. He did it all. You are free. You are loved. He is pleased.