Grace Amongst Dysfuntion

“Dream your dreams. Ask God to help you. God will pour overflowing grace and divine power upon your life to accomplish your dreams.”
― Lailah Gifty Akita

God’s grace really is a wondrous thing, isn’t it? I’d be lying if I claimed to fully understand it’s depths and complexities because I only know the sheer top layer of it’s beauty. I can stand firm in one truth more than any other I have come across before and it is this:

God is there.

God is there. And even more than that – he hears us. He hears me when I cry out to him, when I whisper his name, when I can’t even form words, when all I can do is beg for him silently – he is there. He has always been there. Although this, I have not always known.

I’m a very visual person which naturally makes believing in something that is unseen a little bit difficult. But it also makes it unique. I have my own visions of God – of who he is, what he looks like, how he behaves face to face. My favorite image that I have conjured up recently is the image of God holding my hand. I go back to that frequently – like multiple times a day. Whenever I feel scared, fearful, anxious, alone, etc – He is holding my hand. He’s also there when I have good moments too – a good hour of practicing violin, a good test grade, a good meal.

Is this grace? I don’t know exactly how to define grace. I had a violin teacher at a camp once who called me her ballerina. She said I was always so “willowy and graceful”. Clearly, she hadn’t seen me in action enough to know how things really were – I’m lucky I can put one foot in front of the other and not land flat on my face. I’ve also been told that I “accept compliments with humility and grace.” And maybe that’s true, maybe it isn’t – but God’s grace is different.

Aside from the grace that God provides us, I believe that a core aspect of grace is simply being full. By being full, I mean – being full of a Christian life. Living by your values and acting on God’s behalf is a key part of having grace. By being truthful, honest, respectful, setting healthy boundaries, not gossiping, etc I am living a life of grace. Maybe you feel differently, like I said – I don’t really have a set definition of grace because I believe it’s a complicated concept.

I DO know that God wants to release us from the prison of our past. So many of us live our lives in fear of “what was” or of “what is.” BUT FRIENDS, I have great news – neither our past nor our present determine our future.

Think about that.

Neither our past nor our present determine our future.

I have always struggled with the idea that I cant be normal. After all, how can someone who comes from a family such as mine ever lead a normal life with normal, healthy relationships, and healthy boundaries? There’s a pattern of dysfunction in my family that dates back for decades. Who am I to think that I can be “the normal one” or “the one who breaks the chain.”?

But I can be that one. By the grace that God has given me, and the grace I use to survive every day life, I can break the chain that has bound this family for years and years.

This brings me hope:
Hebrews 10:35-36
“Keep on being brave! It will bring you great rewards. Learn to be patient, so you will please God and be given what he has promised.”

God has promised us grace!!! We have great things awaiting us – that is our future!!

The past is the past.

The present is the now. The most difficult place to live – the present moment. Why? Because in order to live our lives in the present, we must feel. We must feel the dysfunction in our lives, sit in it and with it, and then….move on? But how?

Everyone is different.
But here’s how I did it/am still working on doing it:

1. recognizing things for what they are. We have to quit assuming. We don’t know what others are thinking or what they mean, unless we ask. Don’t assume the worst – you’re only hurting yourself.
2. Breaking co-dependency. It’s complicated – a whole other post entirely.
3. Mourning. Grieve. It hurts, it hurts so SO much. I can’t put into words just how much it truly hurts. But you have to grieve whatever it is that holding you back – whether it be a relationship, an addiction, an actual death, a dream, etc. Grieve it and let it go. It isn’t serving you.
4. Identity. This is where I’m at.
You must identify yourself and love yourself. I’m not talking about your physical self, although if you can love that – props to you. I don’t think I’ll ever love my reflection, but I’ve learned to quit destroying it and to live within it’s limits, respectfully. I’m not talking about what you do – job, occupation, volunteer, extracurricular, talents, etc etc. I’m talking about one thing: peace.

Peace is one word. One word with many meanings. One extremely powerful word. It means something different to everyone. To me, peace is Jesus. Peace means relying on the FACT that there is a higher being and he is almighty and we are FINE. FINE. I tell myself that all the time…

“It’s just a test – I’m fine.”
“I’m just pasta, I’m going to be fine.”
“Take slow deep breaths, this isn’t the end of the world – you’re fine.”

We were created in an image of GRACE my friends. Despite all the abundance of dysfunction in your life, you can still find GOD’S GRACE. You can act in ways that follow your values, and hence form your own identity. You are who you are for a reason and I’m not trying to be some inspirational “everything happens for a reason” type of writer. But I can’t help it because I just REALLY LOVE JESUS CHRIST. By the grace of God alone, I am still alive today. I am where I am to be a light – to be an example of God’s grace and mercy. The world needs me and you and if you can’t tell, I’m slamming my fingers on the key board typing this because I feel so passionately about this subject. I want you to know that:

“You are not what’s been done TO you, but what JESUS has done FOR you. You aren’t what you do, but what JESUS has done. What you do doesn’t determine who you are. Rather, who you are in CHRIST determines what you do.”
-Mark Driscoll, “Who Do You Think You Are.”

This is the message of God’s grace. You are NOT the dysfunction in your life. You have a future that is great and magnificent. You are not where or what you are in this present moment and you are DEFINITELY not what you were yesterday or last year or any time in the past.

You are made in am image of Grace. Grace that only God can provide for us, but it is our duty to see that grace shines through the dysfunction of our lives. What will win?

I’ve chosen grace. Whether that is displayed in my actions, my words, my thoughts, whatever it is – It’s a gift from God and I am choosing to rise above the dysfunction and live a life in his image and in his grace.

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