grace. grace. and more grace.

Image credit: j-w-Ju-ITc1Cc0w-unsplash

This word keeps coming back to me. G R A C E.

If you look up the word in a dictionary, grace has a number of varied definitions. These are not the idea I have in mind.

  • Simple elegance or refinement of movement – “She moves with grace.”

  • The extended time given for a payment – “You have a one week grace period.”

  • A short prayer before or after a meal – “He said the grace.”

  • A formal title for a duke, duchess, or archbishop – “May I introduce Your Grace, the Archbishop.”

However, another definition of grace is “courteous goodwill” or “an attractively polite manner of behaving”. Followers of Jesus know grace as the free and undeserved favor we receive from God. We are encouraged to offer that favor to others also. 

This idea of goodwill and favor is what keeps showing up in my conversations.

I am continually aware of the desperate need
for grace, for myself and others.

FOR MYSELF

Despite my deep desire to forget that we are in the middle of a global pandemic, we are still there. It is still affecting many of our daily choices, opportunities, interactions, and thoughts, yet I often forget that I cannot hope to feel, act, and perform in the ways I did pre-COVID. I get upset with myself for any lack of energy, pervading discouragement, or items that I have not crossed off my to-do list.

That kind of negative self-view and even self-judgment or self-condemnation does nothing positive to help me. It only robs me of the little energy I have, increases my discouragement, and causes my to-do list to appear more unmanageable than before.

I want to treat myself with goodwill and favor.
Deserved or not, I need GRACE.

FOR OTHERS

Generally, we’ve become quite the certain-we-are-right, quick-to-judge-others, critical-of-anyone-different, angry, downright-cruel people these days. These negative attitudes and views of others are all too evident in every media platform available. I’ve experienced it in-person at stores and restaurants and from drivers on the streets.

I’ve also noticed it in my own heart. 

Before I take time to ask questions or get to know someone’s story, I judge their intentions and their actions. Before I know their background, their present or past struggles, their personality, values, or feelings, I offer my opinion, my excuses, my fury, and my criticism.

Those reactions are not helpful to others. They rarely need my ideas; they already know the right things to do. They do not want my excuses; they’d prefer my humble apology and willingness to listen. They certainly do not desire my anger or my critique. They need compassion and love.

I want to treat others with goodwill and favor.
Deserved or not, they need GRACE.

What will help me behave politely and kindly to myself? Grace.

What encourages me to treat others in a way that is attractive to them? Grace.

When do you most need to give yourself favor? What helps you offer goodwill to others?

only the best


One day, a man walked into an antique shop and asked permission to look around. It was a rather exclusive shop frequented only by those who could afford to purchase articles made rare by their scarcity and age. The visitor seemed strangely out of place because he was poorly dressed though clean; indeed it was clear from his appearance that he was a laborer whose face and been etched by sun and rain and whose hands were rough and worn. After more than a half hour, he left. In about ten days he returned. This time he found a very beautiful piece of glass and asked if he could make a deposit on it. Each week he made a payment, until at last the article was his. With much curiosity, the owner of the shop engaged him in conversation to determine, if he could, the use to which such a man would put his new purchase. “I bought it for my little room.   It isn’t much, but I bring to it, from time to time, through the years, only the very best and beautiful things. You see, that is where I live.” 
                                             Howard Thurman, Deep is the Hunger                                                                                                       

To bring to where you live only the very best and most beautiful…

I read this story this morning and began to consider my life…

Of all the thoughts that pass through during the day, which will I keep for my room? Will I choose to keep only the positive, encouraging, believe-the-best, excellent ideas about myself, others and my world?

What will I bring into my home through my music, media, activity and reading choices? Are they only the very best and beautiful things? Worth their price? Valuable?

There is a lot of cheap, ugly junk quickly and conveniently available in our world today. On the other hand, it takes time, effort, care, attentiveness, and diligent searching to find a priceless treasure.

It is said that where your treasures are, that is where your heart is also.

What treasures are you collecting for your home?