Favor I don’t deserve.
Favor I did nothing to merit receiving.
This is grace. My mind, which is wrapped around performance and what people think of me, finds the idea of receiving something that I don’t deserve profound. You mean I don’t have to do anything? I don’t have to measure up for a trial period before I get to keep it? You mean all the good things I have done, all the ‘points’ I received for being kind and sweet and patient don’t matter and the only one who is keeping track of ‘points’ is me? I can simply receive?
Think about it. Does that make you uncomfortable?
I have a friend who embodies generosity. Generosity with no strings attached, it simply flows from her heart and she pours that generosity out on me. I will think I don’t deserve it, but what a disservice I give to her and her generosity. If I attempt to justify her generosity to me, I am, in effect, minimizing her gift. Isn’t that what we do with God’s grace?
I minimize the gift of grace when I declare whether I can receive it or not. It is the giver who determines who receives the gift. Wouldn’t it be silly if I received an amazing Christmas gift and told the giver I couldn’t keep it? Would I even consider that? Yet, how often do I do that with the grace the Lord longs to pour out on me. Who am I to say to the Lord that he can’t give me his grace? Why would I ever consider that? Yet, that is exactly what I am saying when I strive for goodness in my own strength.
I am a midwestern girl and I grew up with the mindset that ‘if there’s a will, there’s a way’. This mindset, coupled with the Lord, has seen me through difficult and crushing situations, but when I try and do this life on my own, I quickly move from dependence to independence. I move from reliance on a God greater than I, to self-reliance. And the last I checked, I mess things up quite a bit.
It’s an interesting and mind-bedding concept. Acceptance of a gift I didn’t earn. Acceptance of a gift that I can in no way shape or form ever consider reciprocating. But that’s the thing. Reciprocating in God’s economy doesn’t mean giving back to him exactly what he gave to me. Reciprocating in God’s economy means surrender and living this life for Him.
And if I want to continue to welcome grace into my life, then I need to be ‘uncomfortable’ and freely receive the grace my Lord pours out in me.