“Those who, with temperance, with grace, face the strong winds blowing against their faces, are those who appreciate the sweetness when the breeze finally finds its way to their backs.” – Tyler Knott Gregson
I wanted to be that person, who weathered storms with temperance and with grace.
Until things became a little more challenging and being that person wasn’t my first response. Until I was that person, and I didn’t know how to keep being her because it was never me who was able to be her in the first place.
It was easier to want to be full of grace than to actually live it.
It was easier to love people like Jesus does when people were good, or at least not an active participant in your life.
It was easier to face storms when you could see the clouds breaking.
I wanted to be that person – full of grace, full of second chances, full of love – because I thought it would reflect something beautiful about my own strength and my own heart. It was a pride issue that I didn’t know I had. I wanted people to look at me and think: ‘She is so graceful. So gentle. So loving.’
The reality is, we’re full of grace and kindness and those beautiful things because they point people back to Jesus. Those qualities aren’t things we are naturally able to be on our own. When we do them well, when we do them right, we’re doing them because Jesus is at work in us. The glory goes to Him.
God promises this in Ezekiel 36:26 (MSG):
“I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed. I’ll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands.”
He takes away the things that inhibit us from being the grace filled children He created us to be. He gives us a heart hardwired for Him, a heart capable of loving the way He calls us to. God gently but forcefully molded me into that person – full of His grace, foolish with His love – while at the same time bringing me to my knees in humility as I realized my grace was not my own. My strength was not my own. My heart doesn’t belong to just me. It was a gift from Him.
A new spirit. A new heart. A new disposition to become more Christ like. Which leaves me here…
Now that I wasn’t that grace filled person for my own edification, did I still want to be her?
Now that people see Jesus (I hope) through my weary and often wayward heart, did I still want to share it with them?
Now that my life wasn’t about me at all, did I still want to participate?
The church answer is yes. But the hard reality is that it is easier to say yes than to live it. Daily I fall into the trap of thinking I am doing the things that Jesus asked me to do all by myself. Daily I build up my pride in thinking that I have finally figured this Christianity thing out. Daily He reminds me that He is lovingly at work in me, and He can do more than what I can do on my own.
In every season, in every story, I see the most grace and the most love pouring out of hearts that have been battered and broken. I see strength rising up in places that it doesn’t make sense for it to thrive. I wonder if that’s where God works best – in the places we could never make better on our own?