Thursday, September 27, 2012

Give yourself permission to accept grace

I am an only child and part of Generation Y, the generation who believes they can accomplish anything. Now add that to my Achiever mindset.

It can be difficult for me to give myself grace and not always feel the pressure to have produced something by the end of the day. For me right now, I am starting a company and trying to begin writing a book. A lot of this requires ideation - not actual products you can point to.

Being achievement-oriented and ambitious I believe are some of my strengths. But strengths can sometimes be taken too far, and this week it was refreshing to be reminded about grace.

As my She Reads Truth study said, "We are no longer slaves. We're not slaves to sin, emotions, what may come in our days. We are not slaves to our past, to our future, to our vain imaginings. We are not slaves to who we were or who we were supposed to be."

...Or who we believe we should be.

Instead, we are redeemed by God's grace to be His daughter (Galatians 4:1-20). The key question is not whether I accomplished anything by the end of the day but how am I living? Am I showing the world who I am, or showing the world that I am my Father's daughter, redeemed by grace?

Are you on the road for the grace journey or the destination?

Many people are familiar with the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15, and Tim Keller has written an excellent book on this topic. As a recap, a younger son gets his inheritance early and squanders all of it "in reckless living." After hiring himself out, he finally returns home with a repentant heart.

"But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him." The father didn't even let him finish asking for forgiveness before preparing a huge celebration for his son's return.

The father welcomed back his son as a full heir, just as we are promised that we "are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God" (Gal. 4:7). The word embraced used here literally means "fell on his neck." The father grabbed a hold of him, and the son let himself be embraced, understanding the extent of his grace and forgiveness.

In contrast, the older son (who stayed with his father, served him, and never disobeyed) shows self-righteous resentment toward the celebration of his younger brother. He refuses to participate in the party because he lives by trying to prove himself, rather than accepting everything as a gift.

"His father came out and entreated him," just as he had with the younger son. He says, "Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours."

But the older son refuses to be embraced.

Who are you today? Are you a daughter or son with a full inheritance of grace, or are you wearing yourself out trying to prove yourself?


  1. I have a hard time giving myself grace, too! So often I am beating myself up with my way too high expectations, but God's grace is what I need and I pray that I will seek Him today! Thank you for this!

    1. Thank you for your comment and recognizing our need for grace! Prayer is definitely the key to beginning to understand God's acceptance of us!

  2. I was just teaching about the prodigal son this weekend. I for sure have been both at different times, but I am learning much about how not to be the older son!

    1. This parable teaches me something each time I read it. And, too, am learning not to be the older one- thank goodness for grace!

  3. Definitely the elder brother. I'm leading a small group on Keller's Prodigal God and we start tomorrow. I'm exited to get into it.

    1. It's so awesome! I read it alone but would have loved to have other women to discuss it with me... Hope to read some of your learnings on Truth in the Journey!