Hello friends! Happy New Year! It is currently a few minutes past midnight on the 1st January 2019. My first few minutes of this year.
These past few months have been an absolute whirlwind. I wrote exams, celebrated my seventeenth, reapplied for a visa, travelled to Australia and ate a few too many Christmas dinners! However, being the first day of a new year, I thought, what better time to jot down a few thoughts on one of the biggest things that have impacted me in 2018. And that is:
Grace. Something so utterly simple, yet so difficult to comprehend.
2018 has been a year (more than others) for grace. Amongst many mistakes and conscious bad decisions I have become highly conscious of my lack of worthiness for forgiveness. At points this year I would extract myself from situations in an attempt to preserve looking like I “had it all together” when, in reality, many aspects of my life were a mess. Friendships were on the rocks, I was not loving as I should, and my constant “busyness” was leading me to become an all-year-round Grinch. On the other hand, in an attempt to “better” myself in God’s eyes, I would read my bible, or pray, or worship- striving for the unattainable- to actually be worth His love and salvation.
At one point this year I read a passage speaking about how Jesus sacrificed himself for me. It read: “They banged on his head with a club, spit on him, and knelt down in mock worship.” (Mark 15:18 MSG)
Horrifying right? Yes. But at this moment, I managed to grasp the beauty in this passage when I realised that this was what my Jesus endured FOR ME, regardless of what I have done. This is grace, the fact that God saw me as a broken and confused daughter whom he loved and forgave DESPITE what I have done instead of BECAUSE.
This changed something and gave me freedom to continue throughout my year. Because when you realise how unworthy you are, paired with a revelation of his endless grace, that is when you find yourself able to live freely and lightly- as you realise the weight of your sin is cancelled out by His blood on the cross.
There is nothing I can do to make God love me more (or less) … therefore now when I read the bible, or pray, or worship, it is not a religious thing, it is not me striving to better myself in His eyes or to act like I have it all together. It has nothing to do with me, nothing to do with becoming closer to Him as I become a more “perfect” person, in fact I am just as broken and totally imperfect as the next person. Rather, I pursue relationship, closeness with my Father, because I cannot be any less imperfect, because I will continue to sin and continue to mess up, because I will continue to be broken and a disappointment. Yet every day, He continues to extend grace toward me. He continues to reach down into my mess and tell me “I love you, I forgive you”. Because, “where sin increased, grace increased all the more”. It doesn’t make sense, but I choose to accept it and live freely and lightly in the grace I have been so beautifully gifted.
Another aspect of this wonderful word, is the grace that I have extended to others.
Now this is a funny thing. Because just as you begin to feel as if you are mastering this, God seems to remind you how very full of ungrace you are- challenging you with someone who is not necessarily easy to extend grace towards. However, throughout this year, God has challenged me to extend grace to all, reminding me of how very unworthy I am, causing me to realise that I have no other option BUT to act in grace.
Anyway, those were my ramblings for today. My prayer for 2019 is that we would continue to discover the overwhelming grace of Jesus, and that He would challenge us to love, and be grace in a world of ungrace to every single person we encounter.