Growing into God’s grace – it should be easy right? After all, we are surrounded by many teachings and leaders claiming to understand God’s grace. Yet, so much of the grace teachings champion what I like to call “sloppy grace”. This grace allows you to do whatever you want because Jesus has you covered.
On the flip side of the grace coin is religion. Religion orders us around like a bunch of slaves – “do this to be accepted” or “to be a real Christian you must do ……” The list of do’s and don’ts runs so long you could wrap the whole earth in it several times over and probably have enough to add a pretty bow.
We all swing between these two extremes of “do do do” and “sloppy grace”. Yet, Jesus came to free us from religion and release us into his amazing grace.
What our behavior is really telling us
Our identity is not tied up with our behavior (You can read my post on your worth here.). The way we behave is a symptomatic response to the condition of our heart. When we are content, secure, and at peace, we overflow in kindness, grace, and patience. On the other hand, stress, religion, perfection all work together to tie us in knots causing us to trigger into a performance frenzy.
Often we can tell when we are not living under God’s grace, we experience:
- lack of peace
- emotional turbulence
- fear (including fear of failure)
- heavyweight on our shoulder as we take on responsibilities that don’t belong to us
A good psychologist, life coach or counselor will tell you that behind every behavior is an unmet need. Identify the need and you can ensure that your behavior is healthy. Sometimes this is harder said than done, especially if you’ve not been taught how to voice your needs.
For example, you’ve just had a new baby added to your family. You feel a wreck from sleep deprivation, baby blues (or PPD), and lack of coping skills. Instead of taking time to rest with your baby, you may choose to tidy the house or get working on building an online business. What if the underlying need is one of security and affirmation? You need to know that your family is ok with you (especially your hubby); and, you really need the affirmation that you’re an incredible mom (regardless of how many times your hubby or mom has told you). What if tidying the house or building an online business is your way of meeting your need to give you security and affirmation? These activities become a quick way to measure your worth and success. The cost though is precious sleep and added stress – grace is gone.
What is Grace?
Grace is a person, Jesus. Grace is not something that is given to you momentarily or on a situation basis. Jesus gives his grace to you all the time, no strings attached. His grace is not determined by your behavior or success or anything really. It is the empowering presence of God daily in your life.
When we feel like grace is running out, we’ve stopped trusting God. Instead, we’ve taken matters into our own strength and sufficiency. We struggle to let go and let God. The result: “God, I’ve got no more grace or strength.” Maybe you even get to that point of doubting God hears your prayers or even loves you.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Grace is remaining in Jesus’ rest (you can read this post-God says you can rest). It’s the understanding that in our own sufficiency and strength we cannot do much.
Grace is a spiritual stance we take when we find the new rhythm of life in each season we are in. When you get married, have children, change employment, life changes pace with its own rhythm and boundaries. Grace is asking God to show you what his pace and boundaries are for you in that season.
3 Simple tips to Growing into God’s Grace
So, how do we continue growing into God’s grace? Here are my 3 simple tips for growing into God’s grace:
#1 Take a break and breathe
Grab your cup of coffee or tea, if possible. Stop what you are doing for a few seconds. Breathe in through your nose until your lungs are full. Exhale slowly out your mouth. As you do this, allow your body to relax. It’s ok. You’re going to be ok.
#2 Press into God
This doesn’t need to take long. In the beautiful way you communicate with God, lean into his strength and grace. Remember that you are in Christ and Christ is in you. This means that all of God’s strength, grace, wisdom, peace, rest, capacity is with you. Allow his peace and rest to fill your heart and mind.
#3 Let Go
This tip may take a bit longer but I do encourage you to do it. Prayerfully ask God to show you what he wants you to focus on doing today. This is not saying that all the things you want to do are “bad” or “wrong”. Prioritize your life through prayer. Often we have a lot of good ideas and we need God’s help to find His ideas. God will show you what to let go of (even if temporarily) and what to continue doing.
Here are a few other posts you may find helpful:
- 5 Tips to prioritizing your day effectively
- Whose responsibility is it? God’s or mine?
- God! My Source For All I Need
Jesus, I’m struggling. I need your grace, strength, and peace. Holy Spirit help me to know what it is that I must focus on and what I should surrender to you. I lean into you, Jesus. Thank you that your grace is sufficient for me. Thank you that you don’t withhold any good thing from me. Holy Spirit, please come and steady my heart. Lead me in your ways and give me a spirit of wisdom and revelation. Fill my heart, my mind, my home, and my family with your presence and peace. In Jesus name, Amen.