My family and I, along with some friends, got to have lunch with the guest worship leader that came to our church this Sunday. During our conversation, my friend asked how she (our guest) had matured as a worship leader. We were all leaned in intently listening to her response when she said, “You know, when I first started leading worship, I was pretty green. I am sure it was rough, but I’m so grateful for the grace my church family gave me to grow.” After we finished our meal and parted ways, the phrase the grace to grow lingered with me, and has all week long…
When I typically hear the word grace I think about God’s grace — his unmerited favor towards us. Or, I think about God’s powerful grace, that equips us to do what he calls us to do, but so often I let grace stop right there, with God.
Sure, I want grace, I love to receive grace, not only from God but from others… but when I look at my actions and opinions towards my family, friends, church family and community, I don’t believe that the phrase grace to grow, has been consistent in my terminology, or thoughts for that matter.
Sadly, many of my thoughts towards others have been something like this, “What is their problem, don’t they get it!” or, “They are so frustrating! I’m done with them!” or “They do that better than you do!” etc.
Somewhere, I allowed grace to be replaced with judgement, impatience, and a lack of understanding. When I become short sighted with my family or friends and begin to highlight every – little – flaw, grace to grow is not a priority, it’s just a churchy phrase.
But grace is all about God’s love in action. It’s about remembering your not perfect and putting yourself in the other persons shoes, meeting them where they are at.
Psalms 18:35 (The Passion Translation) says, “You empower me for victory with your wrap-around presence. Your power within makes me strong to subdue, and by stooping down in gentleness you strengthened me, and made me great!” — Stooping down in gentleness is grace.
God is perfect and spotless, yet He doesn’t use that as leverage to get us to preform for Him, He gives you and I the grace to grow. In every season of your life God is ready to empower you with victory by coming to you, meeting you where you are at and helping you, not standing at a distance, irritated and short tempered, ready to give up on you or watch you fall flat on your face.
I have been looking at my relationships this week and asking myself, “Am I giving them the grace to grow?” Am I creating an atmosphere of love, encouragement, and a safe teaching space that allows others to make mistakes so that they can be gently guided back to the place where they can be victorious? And, am I creating that atmosphere for myself?
You and I can be the worst ones at giving ourselves grace to grow. When we are not good at allowing ourselves to have grace to grow, chances are, we are going to be stingy with giving grace to others.
Maybe, you and I should go back and first remember how much grace we really have been given. And, if we cannot see that grace, then ask God to open your eyes to see the ocean of grace that is available to you, so that we can begin to see accurately the relationships and situations that we need to give grace to grow.
To be continued…