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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Why I'm Hooked On Grace

If you’re reading this, I am assuming a couple of things about you.  You’re one of those people who is pushing yourself toward something.  Career. Family. Spiritual Growth. Relationships.

And, if you’re like me, you don’t want to settle.  You don’t want to wake up in 20 years and say, “Geez, that was a big waste of time!”

We only get one shot at this life, don’t we?

This intense pressure – to take the best shot at life that we can – may drive us to action.  It just might drive us to step out of our comfort zones, to change, and to grow.

But it can also paralyze us.

After all, who wants to fail?  Isn’t it just easier to settle?  And if you don’t try, maybe you can protect yourself from disappointment.

I was recently reading a thoughtful post by David Rupert titled “Why Do We Stay in Bad Jobs?”  It got me thinking.  Isn’t it fear – and specifically the fear of failure – that holds us back from achieving our true potential?

This is where grace comes in.  You see, I think God already has this whole “fear of failure” thing under control.  Grace means that I don’t have to perform.  I don’t have to have a road map.  And I don’t even have to get it right the first time. 

Someone else got it right for me.  I just have to accept a gift.

I know, this sounds too simplistic.   Some would even argue that grace destroys motivation.  Why try to be the best if you don’t have to?

I don’t know about you, but when someone gives me a gift – especially a gift I don’t deserve – I want to give back.  I want to show that I’m grateful.  I too want to experience the grace of giving.  And when I experience unconditional love – love that isn’t dependant on what I’ve done for you or what you expect from me -- I want to love back. 

Besides, if my identity is secure, I don’t have to worry about proving myself.  I am free to be me – a child of God.  Sure, on the outside, I might look like a mother, a lawyer, a writer.  But all of that could be gone tomorrow.  I’ll be a child of God forever.

Which means I don’t have to worry about whether my writing is good, great or lousy.  Heck, I don’t even need to worry about who is reading this blog (if anyone!) or who is going to post my next Amazon review.  Even typos aren’t the end of the world (ok, they are still really annoying).

Grace has set me free.  And it’s a great feeling.

How about you?


[I’ll be traveling internationally next week and won’t be blogging.  I sure will miss you, but I’m going to give myself some grace, ok?]


Laura said...

There was so much great stuff in this post, Susan, I'm going to come back and ponder it.

It's so freeing to realize that it's all already been done -- for us. All we have to DO is His arms. I have to remind myself of that often.

Grab the grace -- and safe travel to you.

Laura said...

Thank God for grace, I always say. That's why I need to give it more--because of what I have received. Wonderful thoughts here, Susan. Very freeing.

Heidiopia said...

Well said, Susan- fear of failure has often paralyzed me and continues to lurk around. I've been praying for courage, but you're right: I need to accept the gift of grace, too.
Thanks for giving me food for thought and prayer, my friend!

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Oh you so aren't kidding on this one. The freedom that comes from grace is one of my absolute favorite parts about being alive!

Thanks for your thoughtful words to my girl! It meant a lot (to both of us)!

~ Wendy

Esther Feng said...

Susan, I love this! and I love that Jesus gives so much freedom in his grace. Now, just to remember to hang on to it!

Esther Feng said...

Susan, I love this! and I love that Jesus gives so much freedom in his grace. Now, just to remember to hang on to it!

David Rupert said...

Thank you for the link and nice words.

Yes...Grace is an amazingly freeing thing. The best gift we could ever recieve (or give!)

LivewithFlair said...

Wonderful post! I love it! Just this morning I meditated on that verse in 1 John about the "lavish love" of the Father to care for us as children of God. We have nothing to fear.

Brad Harmon said...

Lovely post, Susan.

I've struggled with grace all of my life. On one hand it's such a comfort to know that everything is already taken care of for me. On the other hand, I go through times when I lack the faith to truly trust this and try to do some works as extra credit to ensure my ticket to heaven.

I'd never do that with a meal that's been paid for already, or anything else for which the price has already been paid. It's nice to be reminded about the true nature of grace from time to time.

Thank you for that.

David Rupert said...

I'll be featuring this Post at the Feb 3 Around the network, the best of the High Calling for the month of January.

Keep writing!

Joan Davis said...

I am so thankful for God's free gift of Grace! In a world full of "type-os", it is wonderful to know that God lovingly applies Correction Tape...

Great post!

Living for Him, Jaan

Kim said...

I hope I'm beginning to learn that it's not about perfection. It's about the sincerity of the pursuit of Christlikeness. Congratulations on being chosen as one of the best blog posts in the High Calling network. Blessings and All the Best!

Ann Kroeker said...

Living in either in a place of confident pursuit or potential paralysis is tiring and overwhelming...especially when my identity is wrapped up in it.

Thank the Lord my identity isn't dependent upon my performance, and my failures are forgiven.

Like you, I am grateful to find myself humbly dependent on my Father.

Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus said...

You've sketched a beautiful portrait on grace here ... (and on "works".) We "do" things well, not because it earns us anything, but because it's the natural response to the gift of grace lavished upon us as God's post.

So great to see you featured at The High Calling this week.

Kelly Sauer said...

"Besides, if my identity is secure, I don’t have to worry about proving myself. I am free to be me – a child of God."

This is my favorite part of the whole post. We are constantly striving to find that safe place, and if we just accept - He is there...

Graham Seel said...

Ah, grace! How little we understand it. And how vital that we be constantly receiving it and giving it. That's a challenge to me in the workplace on a daily basis. Thanks for a great post (and to David Rupert for featuring it!).

Sheila said...

It's hard for me to remember that good works are the outcome of His grace, not some magical way to ensure its receipt.

Thanks for helping me focus on what really matters. Congratulations on being featured at The High Calling!

Angela Mackey said...

It is grace that frees us to love and serve others. It is grace that drives me into a deeper love of God and others. It is grace that frees me to step out on faith knowing He will catch me when I fail and get the glory when I succeed. Grace. It is truly amazing!

Thanks for these thoughts! said...

Ah. This slippery, lovely thing called grace.

I, too, struggle with the freedom of just "being." Which says something about me, right? I think it's about just being who we are, and sliding along in the moment.

So much of it is just becoming aware.

And you have helped me with that this morning. Thanks, Susan.