Grace Received, Week 2 – When You Just Need to Give Yourself a Break

 

Any of you have a friend who can just see through it all?

Several months back I found myself sitting across from one of my mentors.  It had been a difficult season and I was wrapped up in concern.  I was burdened by the weight of life, feeling frustrated that I just couldn’t get a grip.  I was way behind in my responsibilities, really frustrated at my parenting and wondering how I would ever get it all done.  Disappointment, guilt and sadness were right there and I just felt overwhelmed.

My amazing friend listened so well, gave me some words of encouragement, but then she bottom-lined it for me and said these profound words,

“Girl, you need to give yourself a break.”

She pointed out that I was carrying my life in a way it was never meant to be carried, and there were some things that I just needed to flat-out drop.  The expectations I had on myself were never going to be met and rather than striving to reach that unattainable bar, I needed to instead find myself bowed at the feet of the One who said His grace was more than enough, because His power is perfected in my weaknesses.

It was exactly what my weary heart needed to hear.  Really great words, for sure.  But I then had to ask myself this:  Did I really believe it?

We are in Week 2 of our series on The Gift of Grace, and last week we looked at what might happen if we had a Grace Awakening in our lives.  We explored how different our lives would be if we walked in the fullness and reality of His amazing grace.  His powerful and life-giving grace.  Honestly, I spent the week in awe, re-awakening to the Truth of grace.  

However, it’s one thing to be in awe of His grace.  It’s a whole other thing to apply it to my life.

Because here’s the deal, and some of you will get this in spades.  I am SO hard on myself.  I get really disappointed when I don’t do or act or respond the “right” way.  I get frustrated when the sins of my past crouch and hiss and remind me of who I once was, and suggest I’ll never be more.  I lose hope when circumstances turn chaotic and I can’t see beyond the dishes, the paperwork, the people, and the regret.

As the women’s director at my church, I have the opportunity to sit across from a lot of women who are filled with pain.  Women who are filled with discouragement and don’t know how they’ll make it.  And I will counsel them and help them to remember that there is a Savior, who died to take their burdens and their sins, and lives to be their sufficiency and hope.

But when I turn the focus on me, I can get locked up by my problems, and I can forget that His grace is alsofor me.

We do that, don’t we?  We look up at the grace of God, and we see it at this amazing 30,000 foot level, covering the whole world.  God’s amazing plan of salvation, poured out and offered to the whole of humanity.  And it is…it’s that big.

But if we only see grace on the grand scale, we will miss His personal invitation to experience it with Him on the most intimate level.

This week we are only going to look at one chapter in the book of Ephesians, Chapter 3.  Paul addresses this issue of personal grace right here, and I want us to sit and camp in it and allow the truth of it to sink in.

Paul got this.  This man spent years of his life in pride and ego.  He was so full of pride and contempt that not only did he publicly blasphemed the name of Christ, he made real threats against believers, arrested and imprisoned them, and went on to rally and consent to the murder of countless numbers of men and women who followed the teachings of Jesus.  But in Ephesians 3, he encapsulates the gift of grace of God in his life, in verse 8 when he says,

“Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me.”

Given to me.  

If there was anyone who could sit in the guilt of their sin, it was Paul.  If there was anyone who could feel overwhelmed about his life choices, it was him.  If anyone had justification about feeling guilty or living in the weight of past regret, Paul could go there. (see Acts 8:1-3, Acts 9, I Cor. 15:9)

But Paul saw this gift of grace, not just as a free gift for the whole wide world, but for him as well.  He knew what it meant to personally receive grace.  

Paul understood that there was no sin, no pain, no difficulty that was bigger than His God. Paul understood that he did absolutely nothing to deserve this grace…nothing.  In fact, he had done everything NOT to deserve it.  He was, as he put it, the worst.

Ever feel like the worst?  The worst parent.  The worst friend.  The worst wife.  The worst _________.  Oh, even as I type that I can feel the tears trying to form.  I’ve felt it, I’ve said it.  

I may not have consented to someone’s murder, but my actions have slain my children’s trust.  I may not have thrown somebody in jail, but my thoughts have sentenced others to judgement.

Or I just simply haven’t done enough, I haven’t lived up to expectations or met the deadline, or done what I think is the right thing.

And in today’s culture, it’s so easy to go there.  Between our own self-critiquing and ideas of how life should be, there’s the constant onslaught of everyone else’s perceptions, Facebook’s perfect pictures, and Pinterest’s amazingness of all things fabulous.

What if we gave ourselves a break?

In the light of God’s amazing grace, what if we gave ourselves a much needed and holy break and received God’s grace?

So what does that mean?  What does it look like for me to receive God’s grace in the every day realness of life?

Receiving God’s grace means receiving His forgiveness and accepting that it does in fact cleanse me from all unrighteousness.  

Receiving God’s grace means I stop living in the condemnation of past sins and choose His freedom.  

Receiving God’s grace means getting off the comparison train and recognizing that His call on my life is specific and uniquely beautiful.  

Receiving His grace means breathing in the reality that He is always with me, especially in the very weaknesses of my life.

Woman-Kneeling-In-Praise

What if we intentionally received His grace?

This Week {Week 2} ~ Grace Received

This week I want you to camp and stay in Ephesians 3.  Specifically, verses 14-21.  This section of scripture is powerful, and it has become a go-to section for me when I am praying for myself (and others, more on that next week!)

Ephesians 3:14-21 is a prayer by Paul, written specifically for us, for our spiritual growth and understanding.

This week I will encourage you in three ways:  to pray specifically, to read intentionally, and to begin to receive His grace into your daily life.

1.  Pray.  Throughout this week, ask God to not only make you aware of His grace, but that you would then RECEIVE His grace.  Embrace this grand gift of grace as personally yours.  Praise Him that He is always there, that His grace and forgiveness is always available.  There is absolutely no sin or situation that is beyond His reach.  Ask Him to show you ways in which you need to give yourself a break, ways you need to forgive yourself.  Pour out your heart to Him with whatever He has been stirring in you.

2.  Read Ephesians, Chapter 3.  Over the next seven days, absorb these verses through as many avenues as possible:

  • Open up your Bible and read this incredible chapter.
  • Download the YouVersion app on your smart phone, plug in your headphones and listen to it audibly.
  • Go to www.biblegateway.com and read it online in multiple versions.
3.  Receive.  Spend extended time in verses 14-21.  This section of scripture is packed full of life-giving truth.  Here are some specific ways to soak in and receive His grace through these verses:
  • Make it personal:  Read these seven verses and insert yourself into it.  For example, in verse 18 in the NLT, make it personal by praying it this way: ...I pray that I will have the power to understand how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is in my life…  making it personal makes it real.  It’s not just for the masses, it’s for me.
  • Write it out:  As you read through verses 14-21, write the whole passage out.  As we mentioned last week, it’s significant to simply read it, but there’s something very powerful in writing it out.
  • Ask intentional questions:  As you read, there will be words that stand out.  Let’s be women who ask deliberate questions.  Ask the Lord why.  Why that word or verse?  What specifically might He want to speak into your life through those words?
  • Watch.  As you enter into this second week, watch for ways that your thinking is beginning to change.  Watch for ways you are opening your life to His grace.  Notice those times when you are awakened to His grace and how that grace is then impacting the way that you respond.  The way that you move.  The way that you live.  

His grace is indeed for the whole wide world.  But it’s also specifically for you.  Wherever your life may find you, in whatever ways you feel defeated, or hurt, or filled with condemnation.  My prayer for you this week is that you will begin to know and receive His grace.  His grace that is so big.  So enough.  And because of that, we give Him all the glory as He is works in our lives to accomplish immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine. 

_____________

See you back here Friday, as we take a “Weekend Walk” together, an intentional exercise to enter His presence and experience His grace.

For additional encouragement and community throughout the week, find us on Facebook at facebook.com/womenwhobelieve.

Invite your friends to join us, from across the street or across the world.  Let’s live and breathe His grace together!

Tell us how God is stirring in your heart…there is something powerful that happens when we hear the testimony of others.  Tell us how you are waking up to God’s grace in your life!

Share:Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on Pinterest

Leave a Comment





Resources: