It’s past 1 AM and I have an unfinished Research Synthesis paper due tomorrow at 11 AM. I’m sipping on half of a cup of cold coffee and have a Patagonia sweatshirt tied around my neck like a cape.
I’m sitting in the sunroom of my cottage, which can hardly be called a sunroom at 1 AM, because the only light shining in the window is that of a streetlight on 13th Street.
But all of that information is pretty much irrelevant to what I have to say next.
I can’t stop thinking about it. The concept of grace has been overwhelming me lately. I remember sitting by the lake in late April or early May of last year, not understanding what the dictionary definition of “unmerited favor” looks like as it plays out in real life. It was a concept I didn’t consciously understand, but I was living in it every day.
I understand now.
Grace looks like the lake. Grace looks like the sand. And it looks like every snowflake, every blade of grass, as many stars there are in the sky. We could never count its presence. There’s too much of it everywhere. We just live by it every day.
Grace feels like forgiving for forever, not just for today. It feels like anticipating the weird numb pain that comes from hitting your funny bone on the arm of a chair, but the pain never comes. We become too good at expecting to feel something – pain, anger, bitterness, suffering – but with grace, these emotions never come. Because grace enters every space with the capacity not to conceal it, but instead to heal it.
And that’s what’s crazy to me.
You know that kid in your group project who won’t do anything? Give him grace. Not because he “might be dealing with something drastically difficult in his life,” but instead because we’re given grace that we don’t deserve by a God who is more than willing and more than able. Grace doesn’t have a reason, it has a cause – and that cause is to heal brokenness in a way that our human minds cannot fathom.
Remember that ex-relationship you had in 10th grade? Give it grace. Break-ups are never easy. But, if you’re a college student, it’s probably over – way over – and there’s someone out there who’s waiting for you to fall in love with them. Maybe it’s a person, and maybe it’s Jesus (you have to decide that one).
Here’s the real deal. I’ve probably said this before, but even if I have, I’ll say it again: Grace is given, not earned. There is nothing we do and nothing that we don’t do that diminishes the grace that has been bestowed upon us. That’s why I’m so overwhelmed. Because every time I get mad at the way things turn out or if I become indifferent when things turn out for the best, God sees me in that. When I stop and say, “I’m sorry,” He sees me through that.
I want to promise you something. Nothing that you have done or haven’t done changes the amount of grace available to you. It finds you exactly where you’re at. You don’t have to “get your act together” or “change your ways” prior to walking into its fullness. All you need is honesty in the places where you messed up and a willingness to let it go.
There is immeasurably more available than we could ever consume. That’s the beauty of it to me – all we have to do is be honest and say we messed up in return for a healing that changes us from the inside out.
Even with this Patagonia tied around my neck, I’m reminding myself I can’t be my own superhero. I can’t save myself from falling into the depths of being angry and bitter. That’s the power of grace. It comes from God’s love, which surpasses all understanding. We don’t have to understand it to live in it. And that’s a pretty awesome thing to think about.
Keep up with me @hopesophie17. Questions? Comments? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. P.S. try to go to sleep earlier than me.