All he does is suffused with grace.
A great deal of my journey into love had to do with learning grace. I just didn’t “get” grace. Why did I need it, really? Oh, yes. I’m a sinner from birth and all of us fall short of the glory of God. We all need it.
That didn’t mean anything to me.
I wasn’t in touch with my “sin nature,” nor was I quite in touch with my actual sins when I committed them. And I most certainly wasn’t in touch with my belovedness.
And so during that dark season when I sat down on the ground of my life and decided I wouldn’t get up until I understood God’s love for me, it had a lot to do with learning grace.
Do you want to know what I learned about grace?
It meant not having to perform. It meant being accepted exactly as I am. It meant not having to watch my every single move to the left or right, constantly gauging whether it was the exact right move. It meant the world wouldn’t fall apart if I didn’t hold it — and myself — together. It meant being allowed to be flawed and still being completely loved.
It was a revelation. God’s grace covered all my “sins” — which, strictly translated, means “missing the mark,” like when you’re shooting an arrow at a bull’s eye target. I didn’t have to hit that perfectly round and narrow mark with every single move. If I “missed,” God’s grace covered the miss.
God freed me from my perfectionism. That’s what God’s grace did for me.
Don’t ever deprive me of your truth. Not ever.
The reason I share this with you is because of something one reader, Katy, shared in response to yesterday’s post. She wrote:
I think that I became more in-tune with my body when I became more in-tune with my emotions … I started paying a lot of attention to how my emotions were affecting my physical health, and how my physical health was affecting my emotions. Now I know that being sad or mad or stressed can give me stomach issues, and that eating low-sugar, high protein meals helps with my anxiety. The better I eat and the more I exercise, the better my mental state.
I read these words and thought, I need to understand that better.
And the reason I need to understand it better is because my experience of increased emotional health led to gaining weight, to the point of being overweight for the first time in my life. Was I not as emotionally healthy as I thought I was? Did I miss a right turn somewhere?
I think, for me, this has something to do with growing into a greater balance of grace and truth.
One of my absolute favorite passages in the Scriptures is John 1:14, which says of Jesus that he was the “fullness of grace and truth.” In his being, he held them both in fullness of measure and perfection.
Grace. Truth. Together.
Sometimes I think the ongoing journey of spiritual formation can be summed up by saying it’s about growing into the fullness of grace and truth together. When I encountered my need to understand grace because the idea of it bounced off me like a ball against a wall, I was way far over on the truth side of things. I know now that I was pretty much like a Pharisee.
And so I started to learn grace. And once I found it, I bathed in it. Soaked in it. Relished its amazing gift. Fell so in love with Jesus. Bowed down in gratitude.
To the point where grace showed up in my treatment of my body. I savored rich foods in ways I never had before. I celebrated a lot. I welcomed the enjoyment of a good meal the way I was learning to welcome myself and those around me in full acceptance in the presence of God.
Just like we can fill up on truth to the exclusion of grace, I think we can do the same with grace: fill ourselves up on grace to the exclusion of truth.
But Jesus is the fullness of both. And that is perfection and glory and beauty and perhaps the real definition of love.
On my body journey right now, I’m in the process of pulling truth back into the mix — while keeping grace alive.
How might you describe your own body journey in the context of grace and truth?