It’s all… Just Enough

I’ve been making a valiant effort in the preceding months to do everything.

And that made blogging easy to drop.

I read novels (!!!)

Galvanized by my disappointing failure in April to read a book in two weeks (I’m still sorry Mary!), I leaned into reading in May.

Image courtesy of Sanja Gjenero via stock.xchng

Then something clicked– a visit to the used book store, the right thing being on my kindle, and a delicious chemistry of calm in the household.

Before the Fourth of July I had read The Healer’s Apprentice, The Fairy Path, Silence of the Lambs, By Darkness Hid, To Darkness Fled, From Darkness Won, The Iron King, The Short Straw Bride and Clockwiser.

Thoroughly enjoyed all of them. Showed me all sorts of storytelling elements I’ve been studying and digging toward. Absolutely delightful blend of work.

It was just beginning to feel like a binge, and life was getting fuller, so I set aside fiction (which demands sustained reading) in favor of a nutritional, non-fiction season.

Trouble was, I felt suddenly guilty that I was no longer a reader. A fiction reader. A reader of what I wanted to write.

Because, look at me, I’m. not. reading! {fiction.}

Ridiculous, right? {please say yes.}

I made me think how I really don’t understand Grace.

No, really, it does.

And don’t give me that ‘None of us understand grace,’ bit. I didn’t understand digestion for years, either. There are some things that kinda just work on their own, but that doesn’t mean your relationship to them is unchanging.

Let’s try a healthy-food analogy (since that’s what I’ve been reading like crazy the last two or three weeks). Turns out Food is like the the code someone writes to create software. Only, the software in this case is the DNA regeneration in your body with normal cell production.

What you eat tells your body which elements (nearly endless, it seems) to activate or hibernate. Very like binary code.

Now, I don’t have to know any of this for my body to do what it does, but if I want my body to end up in the right place (physically/mentally/emotionally sound), I need to feed in the right code.

And that will take some awareness. A remembering.

With Grace, I think we forget our dependency. Especially when we’re good at something, there’s the danger of thinking that this is where we find our value. The more we can do, the more we gravitate into identifying ourselves by what we can do, rather than who we are (or whose we are).

That sort of makes this post the flip side of one earlier this week, so I feel the need to clarify: I think there is a difference between drawing energy from something and finding your identity there.

Think food again.

In the economy of Grace, which is to say, in the Kingdom of God, what one does is irrelevant to his/her value or dignity.

When I’m not good at something, I  see it as a shameful weakness to be shored up. A hole-in-the-dike danger that could bring my whole world crashing down.

Paul wrote, “[God] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me.”

What I want to learn– the mind-shift I’m pursuing– is a way to quit cursing my weaknesses.  I already know there are things I’m not good at, and my tendency is to stare at those and put all my energy there, maybe even ignoring strengths God would want me to cultivate.

But that is a graceless way to treat myself, because, really, it’s my job to be obedient, not to try and fix everything about myself at once. If God is going to remodel the whole place [me], rather than just stick on an addition [prayer, church attendance], He’s going to start somewhere.

And that starting place, always, is Love.

I am under grace. I am accepted and loved.

It was C.S. Lewis who pointed out the audacity of not forgiving ourselves when God already has. Lewis called it setting ourselves up as a higher tribunal [court] than God himself.

Sort of helps my perspective a bit.

I’ve read more than once that based on the size of our globe, the vast variations in mountain and valley, even down to the depths of the ocean, have as little variation as the surface of a billiard ball (here’s somebody who shows the math on that).

When we consider the vastness of God, and his perspective on us as the human race, that is the level of [non]variation he sees in our value. So my ability to remember quotes, or to write, contrasted with my inability to see something that’s not in my way (Oh, hi, dirty laundry.) are not weighed in a balance to see if I come out ahead on positives.

Every time I start reading Kimmel’s book Grace-Based Parenting (haven’t finished it yet), I’m struck by how loosely grace holds, how generous it is.

And while many Chrstians are quick to point out there is Justice to stiffen the soft effects of grace, let me point out that as a Believer, Paul says I’m not under law but under grace. It is the call of love that makes me hunger to give more of that grace to my children, and even to myself.

Both because I want to be more like my heavenly father.

2 thoughts on “It’s all… Just Enough

  1. Oh, thank you for the reminder that I am not “broken,” I am an INFJ: “So my ability to remember quotes, or to write, contrasted with my inability to see something that’s not in my way (Oh, hi, dirty laundry.) are not weighed in a balance to see if I come out ahead on positives.”

  2. I feel very (sometimes foolishly) guru-gooey as I practice (ask God to help me) saying I have value even when I’m not creating “product.”

    It sometimes helps to look at my kids and think, Yeah, it sure is nice when they’re useful, and make my life easier, but it doesn’t make them better people.

    And I’m talking about myself.
    Even as I’m terrified of being useless (but practicing getting past that).
    Jay has basically decided that it makes the most sense to just keep the kids in “Away” (out of the home) school indefinitely (assuming of course nothing tanks in this first semester). Just because (as he tried to say kindly) I just don’t keep up well with Momming, and teaching and household management all at the same time.

    I didn’t take that well, despite agreeing with him, and tearfully asked if he felt gypped in me.

    “I work with the wife I’ve got,” he said seriously.

    And I guess that has to be enough; because isn’t that what we’re all doing?
    I’m working with the *me* I got too.

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