Every Monday I, the Future Grand World Benevolent Tyrant, post a special beginning of the week message to my Many Merry Minions via my personal Facebook profile. This is what I posted yesterday.
This is my follow up blog post :).The phrase that comes to me as a consistent theme in looking back on the holidays, that will carry into 2014, is “experiential grace.”
Over the past two years, I experienced profound disappointments across a wide spectrum. Early on in the 2013 holiday season, the Lord, again, took me into the healthy place of laying down my expectations of others, and myself. He pointed out that I tend to over-idealize people and situations; that I can often live in the “should be” instead of “what is.” He pointed out, yet again, that idealizing others and “what should be” can be as much a legalistic enemy of grace as anything a hard-nosed bible thumping behaviorist could muster. The Lord keeps telling me to be present to Him regardless of swirling issues demanding to skew context, or screw up healthy priorities and relationships.
When I laid down what I think “should be” or expecting the idealized version of whatever could be happening, and then accept the what is … whatever it is … with the love and joy of Christ; experiential grace manifests. This is also aimed at true acceptance of what is, and the true love and joy of Christ, not clichéd ideas. The fruits of the Spirit are His gifts to be able to accept reality, embrace grace, and extend true love and joy.
I was so relaxed and free-er, healthier, as we have entered the New Year.
Yesterday brought news of another huge disappointment. I lost a supporter of 14 years, via an email form letter. The financial hit is significant, and with no forewarning… ugh. But I was hurt more by the form letter via email, and some of the back story over the past year, than anything else. I shared my hurt with a private group of friends (not betraying the identity of the former supporter) and of course they prayed for and encouraged me. Yesterday afternoon the thought of “experiential grace” came back to mind. The Lord again ministered to me that in this situation I can choose to be mired down with unmet expectations, be disappointed by living in the “should be” instead of reality, or I can embrace Him in what actually “is.” I felt encouraged and peaceful after that meditation and will seek to honor and bless them as we (the supporter and I) go our separate ways. I refuse to be robbed of the joy of the past relationship and will choose to focus on remembering them for all they have done/are doing and not just the parting of ways.
“Experiential Grace,” empowered by His love and joy, manifesting in the fruit of the Spirit… sounds like a good theme for 2014 to me.