Can anyone say 2X4???

It’s been one of those weeks. You know the ones, when the same annoying much needed lesson keeps coming across your mind. All of the sources are completely and totally spontaneous. The first doesn’t know the second, nor does the second know the third, and so on. This weeks topic?

Grace
If any of you know me, or can tell from some of my writings. I can be a very stubborn, hard-headed person. I know, I know, hard to believe right? Not if you ask my husband. 
So I recently picked up a book that I’ve been reading about EVERYWHERE. Most of my blogger friends have been reading it and the more I read what they had to say about it, the more my spirit was telling me that I needed to pick it up. When I saw that one one of the local stores has it on sale right now for $7 (half off!!), I took advantage of the sale.
I started reading it last week, and I am already feeling the growing pains start.  I only covered the prologue and chapter one this time because I am only about halfway through chapter 2. I’ve been taking it only a couple pages at a time so I can get as much out of it as possible. Don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll have many other posts with excerpts from the book. 🙂  Here are a couple big points that have almost literally kicked me in the gut.
In the prologue of the book, titled The Hiding. Even before we jump into chapter one.

“Behind the mask (any mask), you are just a woman who longs to believe that Jesus [really] makes a difference, but you have had difficulty collecting the evidence of it in your own life.”

Diving into chapter one. Are you a good girl in hiding?

“I long to be seen, but I feel safe when I’m invisible.”

“What about the girl in the middle? I fear I fall through the cracks because my story draws no attention.”  (This one hit hard, extremely hard, I’ll share more on this later.)

“You never experienced a period of rebellion, at least not one that is worthy to be told as a life-changing testimony. Maybe you are an optimist, someone who seems to see the good in everything and everyone.” (Yep…that’s me, been hurt beyond belief being that way too…yet I keep chugging along in the same manor.)

“I put all my confidence in the things that were awesome about myself and tried to hide the things that weren’t. If Jesus fit in there somewhere, well then that was nice. But if he didn’t, I was doing okay on my own anyway. That is, until I wasn’t.” (Even if I wasn’t, it’s not like I was  willing to share that part with anyone anyway)

“In the mind of God, in his vision for the world, in his idea for the universe, he made you to go in it. He had in mind a particular you. A true you. An authentic, accurate expression of himself. A woman who is more than just a watered-down version of good.”

All these quotes are taken directly from Grace for the Good Girl by Emily Freeman. Any parenthesis or emphasis is completely mine. I chose to do the quotes in red because that is the color of all my underlining in the book. I chose red initially because red is the color of the blood that Jesus chose to shed on the cross. So, in my mind red, is the color of grace.

So, that was source one of my 2X4 message. The next came via e-mail from a blogger friend I’ve followed for quite some time now. In this post, she is discussing the difference between being right and being well. If you’re a fellow good girl, then you know you want to be both. As Lisa explains, sometimes you simply cannot be both right and well, it’s about which is more important to us.

The third source came once again through e-mail. This time from an entire website dedicated to helping women achieve their best according to God’s plan. In their devotional yesterday the writer was talking about being so committed to serving ourselves others for Christ that we forget to simply rest. Many times, I know I feel like I’m not doing enough for the kingdom to show that I truly am a follower of Christ.

The fourth source came via my pastor in church today. We’re going through a series right now that is titled, “The Movement”. It’s a journey through the book of Acts. The message started out today with the oh so familiar story of the Prodigal son...but focused on the other brother…the good brother. We then jump into Acts 15. Discussing the mindset of the legalistic “followers” of that time and comparing that to Christ’s mindset.

That seamlessly leads us into the topic of grace. *Whack* I sit there wondering if anyone else just got hit in the head with a 2×4 like I did. Some of the statements that felt like the 2×4 knocked the wind out of me:

“If I obey perfectly, then I am in charge. If it comes down to grace, then Jesus is in charge.”

“We’re uncomfortable with the fact that grace is FREE, and we want to be able to earn it.”

 “Grace isn’t like coffee, there’s no need to add things to it to make it bearable, it’s perfect as it is.”

“Grace is NOT opposed to effort. It IS opposed to earning.”

 So, these are just a few of the 2×4 moments I’ve had this week. It’s been a challenging week, but I cling to the fact that in the end, nothing will feel better then being able to move past the legalistic minset (where grace needs to be earned) and fall into the Jesus mindset (that grace is free and all I simply have to do is come.)

Join me in my journey to experiencing true grace-based living? What has God been challenging/revealing to you lately?