A friend of mine picks a word of the year. I’d never considered it until July when I had a work retreat and my boss asked us all what our word for the year would be. It immediately came to my mind how I wanted to sum up my hopes for the year–grace.
I wish I could say I followed through with giving myself even just an inch of grace this year. Grace when I misspelled words in an email, grace when I found that last year’s jeans were just a bit tight, grace when I fell short, sinned tremendously, and felt so much guilt it was crippling.
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9.
The Bible literally tells us to speak of our weaknesses, our shortcomings, our mistakes because that’s when we can truly accept what Jesus offers over and over every day. When we realize we can’t do this without Him, that’s when He is able to take over. That’s when He can rebuild our hearts and send us on the path that was created for us before we were even born.
I know all of this, I know it well. I hear it from my friends, I read it in the Bible, I “like” the Instagram post when someone posts a verse about it. But I haven’t accepted it for myself. I’ll give anyone else grace..I’ll forgive someone over and over but I make one microscopic mistake and I am the worst human on the planet.
And I know it’s not just me..I know it’s so easy to fall prey to the enemy and believe the lies he continually tries to feed us. “Not pretty enough, you’ll never get into that graduate school, you continually embarrass yourself”.The list is infinite and every day we let him win we are just hurting ourselves more and more.
But as this year winds down and I realize I never lived out my word of the year, I’m once again reminded that the most infinite amount of saving grace was born in a manger on Christmas Day and that same baby grew up and died on a cross so I could go to heaven one day. My ugly and rough stuff literally put Jesus on a cross to suffer and He still wants me. If that is not the perfect depiction of grace then I don’t know what is.
Friends, He doesn’t want us carrying our shame or guilt. He wants us to lay it all at His feet and walk lightly knowing He’s got it.
The beauty of grace is that all we have to do is accept it. It’s there, it always has been. Accept it even though we don’t deserve it and praise Jesus that He still wants us to receive it. Accept it and live like He loves us more than anything in the world—because He does.
In an interview on grace Max Lucado said,
God’s grace invites you—no, requires you—to change your attitude about yourself and take sides with God against your feelings of rejection. To live as God’s child is to know, at this very instant, that you are loved by your Maker not because you try to please him and succeed, or fail to please him and apologize, but because he wants to be your Father.
If He can offer us undeserving grace over and over, then we are completely dishonoring Him by refusing to do the same for ourselves. Of course we’re going to mess up..we are broken, imperfect and sinful creatures. But by knowing our sinful nature and taking all of it to the foot of the cross we’re saying ” Okay God I continually mess up and I need your help.” From there, it’s not ours anymore. He wants all of our doubts, shame, guilt, and sins. All of it.
So I think it’s safe to say grace shouldn’t be my word of the year. That’s not big enough. Grace has got to be my word for life. Grace has to be our word for life.
Giving, receiving and accepting it continually.