Who feels at capacity right now? Who feels guilty that the house isn’t clean enough? Laundry not done? Kids not fed well? Need to volunteer more? Oh my – and need to be in the Word more? More time with God, less time on Facebook… Anyone with me here? More time in the gym, less time hitting snooze in the morning. Shoot – that reminds me… Anyone else’s kiddos overdue for the dentist, well-checks, and orthodontist? (I’m pretty sure we’re at least at 1 out of 3 there). But that’s okay, we have a few vacation days coming up for Thanksgiving… Anyone doing the Thanksgiving race? Serving at the local food kitchen and then heading to dinner with family? Or better YET , doing all of those things and then hosting dinner? Since it’s a “break”, maybe I’ll start tackling that stack of books filled with tips on what I should be doing, not doing, doing better… What books are on your list? Oh – and then planning for the holidays… who has been looking at new recipes, new traditions, all while making sure we honor our old traditions? Who wants more quality time with family? Friends? Who has made a list? Shopping lists, Christmas lists, people to call, things to do lists… Who has found the perfect Advent devotion? Anyone want to spend more family time around the dinner table? Whose kids need help with homework? But after their practices, games, scouts, rehearsals, etc…
I mean, come on. Just writing this has me exhausted. And this is just the tip of the iceberg for many. Could we not go on and on? Any of this sound familiar? I’m quite confident I’m not alone here. (Tell me I’m not alone here…)
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. … Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9
I know what I need more of this holiday season. And it’s not more lists, books, events, recipes, appointments, etc. I need more GRACE. PEACE. LOVE. And friends, I need these things in abundance!
“Give yourself some grace”
How many times have you heard this, or rather even shared with a friend or in your own head as you attempt to feel better about over-commitments or letting someone down? The thing is, we’re limited in our grace. Our thread of grace only goes so far—especially the thread we have for ourselves. It’s limited by the next disappointment, or the next thing that ‘sets us off’. But thankfully, as believers, we don’t need to depend on ourselves for grace. We don’t have to worry about “giving” ourselves grace; we need to RECEIVE grace.
How blessed we are that we have a loving Father who models this perfectly for us—and a Father whose grace is 100% sufficient for us.
What would it look like to replace all of the self-talk ‘to-dos’ and the worries about how things will get done with a simple prayer, “God, please break through this clutter and give me your Grace.”
Ahh… that’s a breath of fresh air.
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. – Hebrews 4:16
If you’re anything like me, you probably find it very hard to receive at times. However, one day, you find yourself sick or in crisis, barely able to care for your family, let alone your own needs, and you have no choice other than to receive. Think of these overwhelming times with that same desperation. We have no choice other than to turn to God for His Grace and provision. After all, just as we desperately need a lifeline, He desperately wants to be there for us. You see, His Grace is enough. His Grace cancels out all of the would haves, could haves, should haves, will dos, and should dos. It is simply enough. Be humble. Let grace fill the holes. Otherwise, we may find ourselves chasing after meaningless things to fill those holes.
How might we approach this season with less on the plate that serves up “to-dos” and more on the plate of receiving grace?
Recognize it as a Gift
Grace is God’s unmerited favor – His goodness toward those who have no claim on, nor reason to expect, divine favor. The manifestation of God’s grace is in the form of a gift.
- For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. – Ephesians 2:8-9
- And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. – John 1:16
- And are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus – Romans 3:24
Less Doing, More Being
I’m going to start by examining what God might have to say about my full plate. And seek to replace all of the “stuff” with His peace, one by one.
- Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28
- Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! – Psalm 37:7
- Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. – Proverbs 3:5-6
- Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. – Psalm 143:8
Seek God vs To Do Lists
I don’t know about you but the grace plate seems much more appetizing to me. If anything, spending time with God in His Word and in prayer should be at the top of my list!
- Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12:2
- But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. – Matthew 6:33-34
- And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. – 1 John 2:17
- For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. – 1 John 2:16
- Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. – Philippians 4:6
- Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. – Ephesians 5:15-17
- Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – Matthew 6:19-21
Receive His Grace
I’m simply going to ask God for His Grace and then I am going to posture myself to receive it.
- For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. –Ephesians 2:8-9
- But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. –Romans 5:8
- For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. –Titus 2:11-14
- And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. –2 Corinthians 9:8
- But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. –Ephesians 4:7
- But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved –Ephesians 2:4-5
Let’s go to God in the spirit of serving up some Grace this Thanksgiving! May we each be more satisfied with that than with how many events fill our calendars or items we check off of our lists. May we seek Him and His Grace and all the more be blessed.
Lord, I am so grateful for your gift of Grace. Please help me to keep my eyes more fixed on you than my calendar and to do lists. You remind us that Your Grace is sufficient enough, and I pray that I can keep that at the forefront of all that lies ahead in this busy season. In your Son’s precious name I pray, Amen.