Friday, January 18, 2013

Published 2:45 PM by with 0 comment

Grace to Change

Grace is here. It seems to sneak itself into the tiniest places of my thoughts and actions and interactions daily. I pick up a book, talk to a stranger, turn on the radio... and Grace comes up, or something that brings me back to Grace.

Truly, I feel like I'm being saturated in what it means to live in Grace.

Not that I'm the one being graceful or gracious all the time. I still struggle with impatience. And all those other nasty faults of mine. But Grace is being SHOWN to me. Perhaps these moments are for learning what Grace means as it is given to me?

I'm currently re-re-re-reading a book called "Ordering Your Private World" by Gordon MacDonald. It's had a huge influence on me for the past few years ever since I found it. Definitely one worth visiting annually. It helps me evaluate how I'm living my life. Right now, I'm in the middle of studying the differences between being a "driven" person and being a "called" person.

A driven person...

... is most often gratified only by accomplishment.

... is preoccupied with the symbols of accomplishment.

... is usually caught in the uncontrolled pursuit of expansion (more success, bigger gains).

... tends to have a limited regard for integrity.

... is not likely to bother themselves with the honing of people skills.

... tend to be highly competitive. 

... often possesses a volcanic force of anger (which often erupts against opposition or perceived disloyalty).

... is usually abnormally busy, is averse to play, and usually avoids spiritual worship/contemplation.

A called person...

... understands stewardship, that the things we have are not 'owned', but merely managed in the name of the One who gave them.

... knows exactly who they are and who they are not, and is able to separate 'role' from 'person'.

... possesses an unwavering sense of purpose because he or she does not seek for outside approval. 

... practices unswerving commitment, while understanding that some day, some things will need to be released and let go.

This is what I've been reading so far in the book. Of course, it's not as simple as these basic outlines here describe. I highly recommend "Ordering Your Private World" for anybody and everybody to read for themselves.

It's frustrating to look back five years, two years, last year, and realize how much time was wasted, and how much I didn't change for the better because I didn't strive hard enough for it.

The older I get the more difficult it is to change my faults into positive character traits. And the more damaging my sinful behaviors become to those around me and my own soul.

Thank goodness I don't have to do it on my own.

Sitting still with Psalm 103 today as the words "the Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love" sink into my heart.

"I want first of all... to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can. I want, in fact - to borrow from the language of the saints - to live 'in grace' as much of the time as possible. I am not using this term in a strictly theological sense. By grace I mean an inner harmony, essentially spiritual, which can be translated into outward harmony. I am seeking perhaps what Socrates asked for in the prayer from the Phaedrus when he said, 'May the outward and inward man be one.' I would like to achieve a state of inner spiritual grace from which I could function and give as I was meant to in the eye of God."

~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh, wife of Charles Lindbergh, in her book The Gift from the Sea