We are a family that likes to sing in the car. Loudly, if the setting and the people riding along permit. And this morning was no different than any other. I was headed to work singing loudly making a “joyful noise unto the Lord.” It was a very familiar song but as I got to the chorus, I stopped short of singing the words. It was as though I suddenly realized the power in them and the moment felt holy to me. I didn’t understand why it hit me the way it did at the time, I just felt so thankful for the love I was singing about.
The song went…“Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me…”
His love is so complete and so unconditional. So unlike mine.
It was later in the week, when I remembered this encounter in the car, that I realized the Lord was asking me to live out what He had revealed to me. His love really is unconditional and mine should be too. That is so easy to say but so much harder to live out each day.
Let me try to explain.
The Lord has been dealing with me about words. The words I say, to be exact. He’s not encouraging me to use more words. Oh no, more like less is more. I’ve had to deal with some disappointments lately, the kind that leave you wanting to “speak your mind” if you know what I mean. And in the not too distant past I would have. But, these days I am more and more convicted about what comes out of my mouth. I’ve ignored that small voice inside telling me to “hush” enough to know that when I don’t listen to it I am left feeling guilty and sometimes needing to apologize.
All of it completely avoidable, if I would just speak less.
Even as I am writing this, I am wrestling with so many emotions. It feels as though I am being tested to see if I will actually follow through and really pray about the hurtful situations instead of talking about them incessantly. These are tough days for me.
Learning to give grace to someone who is asking for it and desperately needs it without receiving anything in return. That’s the goal. Not saying “I told you so,” or “if you had only listened.” Not scratching that itch way down inside that wants to speak a thousand words. But choosing to be a listening ear because I have made my own share of mistakes. I want to remember how soothing it felt when someone heard me, really listened and understood a deeper place in my heart, without ever having to remind me that “I should’ve known better.”
What a beautiful word. The undeserved kindness or forgiveness of God. Devine love or pardon. What better feeling than to be forgiven, even when we don’t deserve it? It’s so easy when we are on the receiving end, but to GIVE grace, well, that’s a little bit tougher. Or a lot tougher. Sometimes it even feels impossible. We all want to be forgiven and pardoned and shown kindness, but, at times, we struggle to offer that same grace to others.
That’s where I’ve been this week. Knowing I need to give grace, and technically doing it. But, inwardly in the private places of my heart, fighting it. I want to speak my opinion and maybe even dish out some chastisement, but that would only please the fleshly side of me. I know the Lord is asking me for a different response and I am asking Him for help moment by moment. I know He will help me to do the right thing here if I will only let Him.
Easier said than done.
I know, and I am reminding myself right now, that there is a reason for ALL things. Nothing is without purpose and He desires to use these things to develop me into the person He knows I can be. Knowing all of this, why do I hesitate? Why do I struggle to obey?
Because I love my own way.
Can anybody else out there relate to this? Can you understand the feeling of knowing the right thing to do and struggling to do it? I am thankful for Paul. He had some of the same struggles. (Romans 7:15, see below) I love his honesty and willingness to be transparent so that a needy person like me could read his words all these years later and be touched deeply by them. It encourages me to press on.
And I love that Paul was “wordy,” I can relate.
So, has my situation changed? Not really. Am I still struggling with disappointment? Yes. But thankfully, I am at this moment offering grace and not expecting anything in return. Well, that’s not entirely true. I do expect the Lord to work this all out and bring good from it like He promises in scripture.
And I am thanking Him all day long for all the grace He’s extended to me. Undeserved kindness and love. Forgiven and pardoned.
And now, I think I’ll just be quiet for a while.
Prayer: Father, Help me to keep quiet so you can do the work you need to do. I know there are times to speak and times to remain quiet, help me to know the difference. Give me wisdom and discipline to do whatever it is you ask of me. I am so thankful for your grace, help me to rejoice in it and to freely offer it to others. It is because of your unconditional love and undeserved grace that I am able to survive in this difficult world I live in. You are my safe place. Help me to example this great gift to those in my life.
Scripture: Romans 7:15 NLT “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.”