Monday, December 12, 2011

Caution: God At Work

I've been working on several things lately.

Especially now that I have time to think beyond what-does-this-child-want-please-don't-shout-we're-inside-raise-your-hand-don't-call-out-wash-your-hands-they-are-filthy-did-you-remember-to-flush-the-toilet-quiet-in-the-hallways and the other billion and a half things that are constantly running through my head and out my mouth when teaching kindergarten.

Aww, I miss those little buggers. Good thing I'm visiting soon!

One work-in-progress lately has been my deepening understanding of grace.

Yep. A serious post. You can always leave now and come back later when it's more muffins and Lily and whatnot, if that's what you really want.

But do you?!

Grace has always been my mom's thing (yeah, again, go ahead and laugh). I struggled more with the faithfulness part of my faith, where I really clung to God as my only strength and purpose and focus and all those good things. However, recently I've come to realize that I had it all wrong for a long time.

Are you surprised?

See, I'm not really that good at being faithful. I'm weak, I'm fickle, I get distracted eas--ooh, shiny!

You get the point.

So when the focus of my beliefs is on how I can be faithful to God, rather than really understanding how He is faithful to me, things turn pretty sour pretty quickly. I get discouraged, I get angry (mostly at myself) I get frustrated with what I think is God failing me, when in reality I've got the whole thing backwards from the beginning.

Christianity is not about what we, as humans, can do for God. It never has been, it never will be. See: the Pharisees. Rather, Christianity is about what God has done for us, by grace, through Jesus Christ and the redeeming power of the cross.

The whole point of grace is that I. DO NOT. DESERVE IT. 

It's not anything that I can do, it's not my faithfulness, it's not my choice to believe, it's not my goodness as a human that makes me worthwhile to God. And believe me, after spending one year with 2-year-olds and one semester with kindergarteners, it's really easy to believe that humans have no innate goodness whatsoever.

When I really step back and look at grace as God intended it to be, I find something so awesome (in the traditional sense--awe-inspiring, not like "awesome shoes dude"), so humbling, so overwhelming that I have no choice but to just sit back and let it overtake me. God loves me for no reason at all. He just does. He justified me to Himself, is redeeming me from myself, and will sanctify me to His purpose, all just because He can.

Let me say that again. JUST BECAUSE HE CAN.

When I accept this grace as it was meant to be (and I use the term "accept" loosely--who can resist such an overpowering gift of love?!) I find that I am nothing. And rather than being a deprecating realization, it is so peaceful, so right, that I no longer care about my worth. I'm not worrying about my self-worth, I'm not worrying about my rights, I'm not even worrying about working on myself to become the person I'm supposed to be, all because I'm covered by grace. I can bask in this grace, rest in God's faithfulness to me, and allow this grace the penetrate every area of my life.

In that way alone can I truly come to be faithful to God (as a response, rather than by my own initiative) and become who God intends me to be. It's a long way off, but each baby step reassures me that I'll get there eventually.

I know I'm not really saying anything original here. It's all been said, it's all been done, there's nothing new under the sun....but seriously. It's still pretty cool. And if-and-when it clicks for you, I promise. It will feel pretty new and cool to you.