Often hidden within our desire to make others proud is a secret fear that we will bring disgrace to them—and to ourselves. In our desire for things to go well, we can view anything that doesn’t go smoothly, progress quickly, or move forward easily as a direct reflection on our worth and value. In this article, Ronne Rock beautifully unpacks why you should not only give yourself grace, but embrace it as a treasured gift from God as you seek to live your life fully for Him and steward it well.
Grace needs to be the air we breathe, the atmosphere we live in, whether in church or in the home.” ~Allen Snapp
A Changed Life
Wilmer was working at a city dump in Chimaltenango, Guatemala, when leaders from a local community outreach program asked him if he might consider attending school. They saw this boy, created in God’s image, picking up plastic and aluminum to make even the smallest amount of money for food. They understood the fear that lived within the 12-year-old as he considered stepping away from the only life he and his family had ever known. Wilmer’s father didn’t approve. But his mother said, “This is an opportunity for you to have what we never could.” And so, the boy walked out of the dump and into a classroom.
It wasn’t an easy road. And there were many times he wanted to walk away in frustration. But the staff of the community program provided him with nutritious meals, tutoring, mentoring, and counseling. They made sure his family received care during difficult seasons. They prayed with Wilmer and talked to him about the love of Jesus Christ that was at the center of all the love being offered. “I didn’t know if I could do it,” Wilmer recently shared as he talked about his future plans to a group of people visiting from the United States. “But I wanted to make my mom smile. I wanted my dad to see that his boy could make a difference.”
Lacking a Certain Gift
I remember those feelings so well. I had worked to support myself in college. And a television internship in my final semester added an additional 20 hours a week to my schedule. But I didn’t care. What mattered was that I had done something no one else in the family had done. I had a degree with honors from a large university. And I wanted more than anything to make my parents proud of what I had done. I jumped headlong into a career in broadcasting. And in less than five years I was launching a sales marketing division at a major market television station.
There is nothing wrong with working hard. There is nothing wrong with wanting to honor those who have helped you by stewarding the time, talent, and treasure you have been given. And there is nothing wrong with wanting your loved ones to smile and say, “I’m very proud of you.”
But early on, I was lacking something essential in that stewardship. It wasn’t anything I could purchase. But it was a gift I needed to receive. It’s a gift you need to receive too—no matter what your journey looks like or who is on the list of people that you hope will smile as they bear witness.
If I could go back and tell my younger self anything, it would be to receive the gift of grace.
That’s right. Grace.
GIVE YOURSELF GRACE
“Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God’s grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God’s grace.” ~Max Lucado
Often hidden within our desire to make others proud is a secret fear that we will bring DISgrace to them—and to ourselves. In our desire for things to go well, we can view anything that doesn’t go smoothly, progress quickly, or move forward easily as a direct reflection on our worth and value.
It’s easy to forget that even the best journeys will include times of long waiting and moments that twirl us uncontrollably with their speed. Even the best career paths include less-than-dream jobs. And even dream jobs can have nightmarish days.
You and I need to receive grace in our day-to-day lives. Now, I’m not talking about the popular “give yourself some grace” adage. This is more often than not a colloquialism for, “lighten up and stop caring about what others think—just do what makes YOU happy.” I’m talking about receiving the life-transforming grace God offers—the grace explained in Ephesians 2:7.
God’s Gift in Ephesians 2
“Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus” (The Message Translation).
We are taught to look at grace as God’s gift of salvation—reminding us that we don’t have to work our way to being loved by Him. But that same grace is a gift for our here-and-now. Read these words from Ephesians 2:10: “For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above —spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us]” (AMP).
Consider what it means to be autographed by God Himself—His creative glory etched into the very stories of our lives, His grace poured into our days, making them grace-full.
EMBRACING THE GIFT OF GRACE
The origins of the word grace come from the same word that means ‘thankful’. Allowing the fear of disgrace to grow keeps us from growing in stature and in faith, because it stifles that thanksgiving. Embracing the gift of grace allows us to see favor in all things. Even those things the world around us says don’t merit that favor.
Receiving grace is inviting God to reveal His purpose and His power in and through every step of our journey.
It’s taking Him at His Word when He promises this. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. (Romans 8:28, the Message Translation).
This gift of grace reveals itself in different ways over the years.
First, embracing the gift of grace helps us learn to celebrate accomplishments—large and small—even if they are unnoticed by those around us. God’s ‘here-and-now’ grace also helps us to embrace disappointments and failures. And it to allow those things to be just as positive to our growth as the big wins.
Embracing grace—seeing God’s favor in the day-to-day of our lives—also opens the door to see opportunity in the days ahead. In my own life, what began as a career in broadcasting moved to successful seasons in corporate marketing for a global airline, partnership marketing and product placement for a global retailer, and brand marketing for a major charity. Included in those opportunities have been campaigns that flopped, a layoff that shattered my confidence, and a good try (and failed attempt) at launching my own business. And all of the opportunities came in the midst of matrimony, motherhood, moves to new places, the grief of losing parents, the joy of welcoming grandkids, and a lot of wondering what the future might hold.
The fear of disgrace has threatened often. But embracing the gift of God’s ‘here-and-now’ grace has never failed to provide the strength needed to stay focused—and remember His favor.
REACH OUT AND RECEIVE
Wilmer is now preparing for university after graduating with honors from high school. He plans to get his degree in business administration. And he wants to continue his education so that one day he might be a diplomat in his country. “I want to start an organization to help children receive the care they need to achieve their potential. I want to help kids like me change the world. And with God’s grace, I know I can.”
Wilmer may only be in his teens. But he has discovered the secret of embracing grace. Take his lead. Right now, reach out and receive the best gift—receive grace.
“I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am” (Philippians 4:12b-13, The Message Translation).
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