I didn’t realize how much it slipped from my mouth, audibly, till I heard my daughter’s words. This regurgitation of moments lived, at first in the realm of service and then rehashed in the scope of criticism. It is a virus, that seems to attach itself to the good in order to steal it away and cloak it with doubt.
This inability to give ourselves grace will defeat everything good in our life, if we let it.
As I was standing in my kitchen, apparently talking to myself, my youngest spoke some wisdom slow and strong; discernment seeping past her age. Truth stops you when it is glaring at you through the eyes of your own. When they recognize what you are tripping over easily, it can be a large pill of humility that you may need to swallow with a revealing glass of reality.
“Mom, why you are so hard on yourself?”
The pause was palpable, friends.
When did this woman child get so wise?
She’s a stronger soul than her momma, some days. She knows who she is and she is not afraid to be that person. Sure, there are weaknesses in her armor, but praise God she has a solid understanding of her value and worth in the eyes of the Father.
She KNOWS she is loved and accepted and it gives her a freedom to just be.
I covet the strength that she wears well, sometimes. I see how effortlessly she steps into it, like a comfortable pair of pants that slip on and hug her well. And I love that she can do that.
This disease of comparison and inadequacy can eat at our souls. It is sly and deceitful and it takes all that is good coloring it a shade of dark. Like the paradigm of the well-intentioned life, so much hoped for good …but riddled with loss, lack and indecision…eventual calamity becomes the pattern that the less than good paints over our path. We bend to the way of the world rather than the will of the Father, completely missing the power of discovering His grace along the way.
Helen Keller said, ” The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.”
When we choose to look at ourselves, and others, through the lens of a critical spirit, we will be short-sighted and blinded to the beauty that grace provides.
Comparison is at enmity with grace, because the freedom we find in the garment of grace lets us rejoice in the beauty of all we see before us. Especially the beauty in others. Rather than coveting the strengths we see, we become sharpening agents that refine and prepare one another so that our skills are working together to create a tapestry that glorifies God.
What if the garment we wear isn’t just a garment but a collective banner we wave?
What if instead of choosing to look lightly at the circumstances of others and make hasty judgments about what we don’t know, we choose to think the good, lovely, and beautiful as we cast our sights outward?
As light projected ahead illuminates, let’s start embracing the beautiful we see with words of affirmation for the people in our sphere of influence, including ourselves. Let’s start weaving a banner of grace to wave with a thankful heart. Let’s be careful to choose praise rather than comparison, peace rather pessimism, and all those things that are true and good rather than defeating and degrading.
Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of a good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. – Philippians 4:6-8
Choosing selfless service versus self preservation is unnatural to our generation, but it is the paradigm of gospel living and a beautiful way we can wave grace over one another.
I watch my girls as they choose which path they take. Similar to Eve’s discontent, they are not always looking to the true source of joy. Looking, instead, at the mirror of measuring and missing His fingerprints upon our image. I see the example I have set for them, giving in to the same fears and frustrations that the women before me were molded into. I want to break the cycle. I want to see them shout with joy to the Lord because they are made in His beautiful image. As they are filled by His spirit He radiates and changes them for His glory. I want them to look at their friends ready to offer encouragement and uplifting words, instead of the false security in finding someone else’s flaws.
We can add a banner to our grace closets, not to clothe ourselves, but to wave over others in an effort to rebuke the monster of comparison and lack. This is an adorning that reflects hearts of grace in splendor and righteousness which will bring healing to our own hearts in the process.
Learning to wear these garments of grace will radically change us. Not only do we need His Spirit living within, but we need to willfully clothe ourselves in the righteousness and the beauty that living in Him allows us to do.
What if we choose to be like Christ to the people right in front of us?
What if we choose to see ourselves through His eyes?
Isaiah, one of my favorite books in the Old Testament, talks about this a bit. We can learn a lot about living out grace from the lessons presented in this tome pointing to the Messiah. In chapter 58 Isaiah says that being clothed in righteousness is like building foundation walls that eventually bring healing to those who do the building.
Think about it… if we spend time building one another up, including ourselves, in His Word and through prayer, then we are not tearing one another down, including our ourselves, with words and thoughts of destruction.
Then shall your light break forth as the morning, and your healing shall spring forth speedily: and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up foundations of many generations; and you shall be called repairer of the breach and the restorer of paths to dwell in. -Isaiah 58:8,12
Friends, one of the most significant realities of our lives being changed by grace is the ability to be a wall builder, a repairer of breaches, and a restorer of dwelling places because we have the love of God within us by His Holy Spirit to do His good pleasure.
Let’s weave some grace banners to wave today! Will you join me?
Participate in the Conversation:
The next challenge in Learning to Wear a Garment of Grace is to tackle that comparison monster that is keeping you from seeing yourself and others in the light of grace. Start making your own banner of grace to wave over others and see how His love multiplies exponentially in not only their heart but your own.
>>>>Step 7: Begin looking for ways to see the beautiful in other people, the gifts God has given them, and acknowledge it. Maybe that means writing it down in a note, a quick phone call, or taking time to pray for them. Actively pursuing grace takes work, but the result is always multiplied back to us.
Questions to Ponder:
This week I am going to ask you to read through Acts 9:36-43 and the story of Tabitha (Dorcas).
I have often thought her story in the new testament and how her selflessness deeply touched all who knew her. Their grie upon her death was so great that they sent for Peter in their mourning. I want to be like Dorcas, weaving clothes of grace to drape over others in the name of the Lord, serving and loving so that all I see when I look at them is the beauty they can become when their lives are touched by His grace. I love how she loved sacrificially, willingly, selflessly. Not so her name was known, but so that Christ was seen through her actions.
- Do you have a ‘Dorcas’ in your life?
- What do you need to do in order to start seeing others, and yourself, through the true and noble eyes of grace?
- How can you start weaving banners to wave over others?
- What can you take to the cross today, that keeps you back from waving that banner over yourself?
If I can pray for you, please know I consider it a huge privilege. May He fill you up with all those noble and beautiful desires of truth, goodness, beauty, hope, virtue and grace.
Linking up with grace waving hearts this week:
SDG Gathering, MADM, #RaRaLinkUp, Three Word Wednesday, Wednesday Prayer Girls, #TellHisStory, CoffeeForYourHeart, My Lens and Pen, Grace and Truth Link Up, Thought Provoking Thursday, Missional Women, Counting My Blessings, My Freshly Brewed Life, Faith and Fellowship Blog, Fellowship Fridays, Saturday Soiree, Still Saturday, Give Me Grace