i don’t believe in grace

Not really.

This is a confession. Not a tongue-in-cheek confession with a twist; just something I need to get out of my head.

I don’t believe in grace. I believe in second chances, but not third and fourth ones. I believe in gifts with conditions. I believe in making myself a better person.

I believe in ruthless and relentless responsibility. I believe I “should …” a hundred times a day. I believe in not enjoying the present until the future is sure.

This is how I get things done; this is how I stick to my morals; this is how I achieve and fix and don’t let people down.

Of course I believe in grace for others, the weaklings, but I will not see myself weak.

Then I do anyway, and then I want to believe in grace. But I don’t always feel it, and when God seems far away I am a shivering, stammering wreck trying once again to curry favor.

Sometimes I shout about grace to hide from myself the fact that my heart is still hiding from such an overwhelming love. Such a love could carry me on a wave to the ends of the earth and back. Such a love could turn me light, dancing, and what if I forgot to do my paperwork?

I was thinking about some problem, and knowing my hopes were too high, my solutions not pragmatic enough. I shouldn’t be so idealistic, I thought, and then God said – God just said –

I love you idealistic.

but i don’t think i believe it.

What I should do – what I should do – is try harder to believe it. I should look up some Bible verses or something.

But I think instead I’ll just rest here a while, and dream some more dreams, scary as it feels to love my foolhardy ambitions for this world so much. I think I’ll act like I believe it and trust that that is enough for the God who sees me and calls me whole, calls me his. I will not strive and I will not cower. I will wait confident upon the Lord. I will be myself and no more, as if I believe what I do not see – grace.

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4 Comments

  1. I think the way that evangelicalism has defined grace is very reductionistic because of the heaven/hell obsession. In Greek, grace is charis, which is the same root as charismata, the word used for spiritual gifts. Grace is not just “You’re forgiven” but God’s transforming presence in our lives helping us learn how to trust and helping to make us holy.

    Reply
    • I absolutely agree – I’ve written before about cheap grace and what an unloving God would expect nothing from us. But I don’t think I’ll ever get beyond the first, most basic, “learning how to trust” part. I always revert to thinking I’ll do it myself.

      Reply
  2. Some things I can only understand through experiencing them. Grace is one of those things.

    I think the road to experiencing things is probably just what you said, to act like they are true.

    May you know grace, Amen.

    Reply
  3. Jacqueline in Atlanta

     /  February 1, 2013

    I think it’s the curse of the Perfectionist.

    Luckily Christ told Peter to forgive seven times seven, yea seventy times seven.

    Of course, that means God forgives us, not just seventy times seven but seventy times seven to the 70th power squared over infinity. He isn’t keeping score. We are.

    Reply

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