Grace. (Hopefully.)

Anne Lamott FB quote

This afternoon I posted a quote from Anne Lammot’s Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith on my Facebook page. Of course, I’ve read Anne’s work before, and I’ve let her writing settle things in my heart because it helps to know that someone else is out there is imperfectly following Jesus, and writing about it with honesty and vulnerability, and helping me take a breath in the “okayness” of who God is.  Things are messy, but it’s okay. God is God, God is here, God is helping, and it’s going to be okay.

What strikes me about what I posted today isn’t so much the quote itself, but the title of the book I pulled it from. Grace (Eventually).

I’ve been craving grace lately.  Craving it in tangible ways, like I have to read about it, have to talk about it, have to write about it, and have to think about it, be aware of it every day.  And it doesn’t take a psychology degree to figure out why –

Because it’s been the thing that’s been missing for the last year.

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I haven’t written much in the last few months.  And I think I’ve finally figure out why; it’s because everything’s felt false. Everything that I think about community and friendship, about dating and partnership, about God manifesting in our relationships with each other – it’s all felt false.

Too many people who’ve claimed to be rooted in Love Himself have responded with hate and anger. Too many people have been treated unkindly.  Too much gossip has been spread.  Too many insults have been hurled.  And for me, the truth of the Gospel, and the Love and Grace that set it apart, has been buried behind the insults, gossip, lack of empathy, and inability to give each other the benefit of the doubt.

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These days I’m thinking that really maybe that’s what grace looks like on this side of heaven – giving each other the benefit of the doubt.

That’s all I really want, anyway.  I want to be given the benefit of the doubt when people look at my years youth leading at the small church – that I was trying my very best every week to model something good for my students, to point them to Jesus and how He’s moving in their own lives.  I want to be given the benefit of the doubt as a friend – that I’m not going to get it right all the time because I’m human and I get tired and discouraged, but I’m trying every day to love well and show up where you need me.  I want to be given the benefit of the doubt as a single person – that I may not be partnered with anyone right now, but my life has value and meaning and God is somehow using my singleness to make Himself known.

And you know what else I really want? To be conscious of the ways that I can show a little bit more grace too.  I want to give you the benefit of the doubt. Because I do think there’s truth in the Anne Lamott quote I posted on my Facebook page – that we’re all really just trying to make sense of things, find love, and be less afraid – and if this is true, then I understand your struggle because it is my own, and what other choice do I have but to offer what we’re both looking for?

Grace. (Hopefully.)

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2 thoughts on “Grace. (Hopefully.)

  1. My wife and I keep reminding ourselves to “assume the best”. And even after 20 years of practice, that assumption is still difficult at times. Why do we seem to gravitate toward gathering evidence for picking a fight rather than forgiveness-before-the-fact? Assume the best possible interpretation of our words. Assume that we may have chosen the wrong words. Assume that we do not want to hurt you on purpose. Assume love, not hate. Assume that as I am filling with empathy, as I am becoming transparent and vulnerable, that as I am opening myself up as a target and handing you the darts … that I trust that you would never even think of throwing them.

  2. wow. thank you Jim…. and Amber I was confused about grace for years, unknowingly, and my concept of god was way out of whack with the Truth. I thought that I had to be nice all the time for good things to happen in my life , and that if I was kind enough to other people, that nothing bad would EVER happen to me.
    Then I read a book on Grace….actually, I have only ever read the 1st chapter because it was so mind altering that I just didn’t need to read any more of it. It’s called the Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Mannning. Since reading that chapter, I have decided that Grace is a state of mind. That Grace is available to each of us within every breath and at every moment. It is as available to me as to the person in prison who has committed murder. If I am open to receiving Grace, there is always an abundance. Yesterday I said to my friend ” When I really trust god, doors open.” She replied ” I think the doors are always open, but when we trust god, we can see them “.

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