Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Daily Grace

Now let me say that I'm the kind of guy who wants to do it all myself.
Don't want to ask for help, don't like to stop for directions.
But in reality I'm nothing on my own
It's by God's grace alone that I can make this confession.
All that I am and all I'm hoping to be
Is all and only what He's given to me. 

Declaration of Dependence - Steven Curtis Chapman
 
I'm learning that it's ok to learn slowly.

Which is unfortunate. lol.

     Let me explain a few things about me really quick.
  • First: I love life! I like living everything to the fullest extent possible. There is so much beauty/potential beauty everywhere and I like when it is drawn out. 
  • Second: I don't like it when people don't love life or live it to the fullest extent. It is frustrating when instead of investing in what is good, people take things for granted or blatantly disregard what is beautiful and valuable, such as friendship, nature, life, God. Sometimes people don't deliberately shut out beauty, but they are careless, and they miss so much.
  •  Third: I. must. FIX. things! Give me a problem, and it will bug me until it is fixed. Call it whatever. It applies to everything from friendship problems to folding towels so that the edges line up perfectly.

      When I say that I don't like when people don't invest in what is good, I am including myself in that. There are times when it is super easy to get distracted by everything going on in life, (particularly during the school year), and important things are let to slide. These include my relationships with other people and God, my appreciation of God's creation, basic tasks.

Consequence: friendships fall through.
                      I become self-focused.
                      my connection with God seems to slip out of reach.

And poof. There's a problem that needs fixing.
I have tried everything when it comes to fixing problems. Literally. And let me tell you, fixing it yourself ain't gonna work.

     No matter how hard you try, you were not made to work alone against the problems life will throw at you. It is critical that you learn to lean on Jesus every step of the way through every rough path. In the end, you come out stronger in your relationship with Him and, funny thing, problems usually work out better. Funny how that works right? At this particular moment I am learning that the more I focus on Jesus to show me how to act and how to live, the more it becomes less about me and more about others. This is my particular lesson at this particular moment. It is not the point I am trying to make here.

     The point I am trying to make here is that it has taken me ages to get it. See, in the moment, I look at a problem in a friendship and go "red flag! red flag! I'm gonna fix it!", and I botch things up more. Not always, but a good deal of the time anyway. And in the end I end up more frustrated, and it's hard to accept grace for relying on my own strength when I know better.

     But really, that's Jesus' whole message; grace. He says "Listen, you messed up. But you can still trust me. I'm still here, and I always will be. Come on, let's try again." In my human nature, I am going to make mistakes on a regular basis. I am built with the natural inclination to fix things myself, and so sometimes I'll try to. But every time, God is still going to be right there with me, ready to show me His will when I look up to Him. His grace will always return to me daily.

     You'd think I'd have caught on by now. I'd like to learn now and not have to worry about it anymore. But as I've messed up and tried again and messed up and tried again, I can see how much more beautiful and rich my relationship with God has become. It's ok to learn slowly. :)