Grace is not always beautiful. At least not for me.
God once told me three things He delights in when He sees me. Boldness. Honesty. Passion.
In my mind these traits are not filled with grace. Experience has informed me that boldness is pushy, honesty is cutting, passion is overwhelming. I have learned that these traits invite criticism and judgement and rejection. When forms of my boldness and honesty and passion intruded on those around me ungraciously.
I hear words spoken over me in childhood, remember opinions and actions of people in my early days, and I hang these memories around the interior of my mind, adding to them the things that I hear in these adult years. Sometimes in my cobalt moments I walk the halls of my mind where these words and interactions are hung. I wrap myself in the ache they invoke. I hide in the fear of them, to proud to admit or examine which are true and which are lies.
I hear so much about combatting lies. In church we’re taught to treat the media and the criticism of others with kit gloves and extrapolate the lies, kicking them to hell so that we are left to live in the light of truth. But really, it is not the lies I fear. It is the truth that holds me captive, strangles me, weighs me down suffocatingly defeated.
The truth is, I have been everything I was or am accused of. Isn’t that the very reason Christ died for me?
When my boldness has been pushy, insistant, ugly. When my honesty has been hurtful, cutting, vengeful. When my passion has been overbearing, judgmental, ignorant. When these traits have made myself bigger than life in my own eyes, and when I have clung to my own understanding of right and wrong… that is when words, judgements of others, have hurt the most, been the most debilitating.
As if in quick sand. I struggle and fight against perceptions of myself, and I sink. I panic, I strain, I twist. I sink. I hide, embarrassed. I sink. I give up and wallow in misery. I sink. I fight some more and sink further still.
It is not until I lay my face on the surface of the mud and quietly work my way prostrate over the surface. Until I realize that only in this position do I find leverage. When I am face to face with the truth of my situation, of my choices, of my imperfection… as in prayer, prostrated before God. This is Grace. Face down in mire, precariously leveled and inching my way toward solid ground. Facing all the truth I fear. Inch by inch, prostrated before God, until He places my feet on solid rock. This is the Grace I have found.
By Grace I am bold enough to lay prostrate, exposed, vulnerable. By Grace I can honestly lay before the truth of myself, lay in the muck of my state, lay it all before Him. By Grace, His passion for me fills me with passion to move forward, to inch my way in humility toward Him, passion grows for a glimpse of His face.
By His Grace.
Grace is being drawn near when I am filthy, face first, and unholy.