listening to grace

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To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side I learn who I am and what God’s grace means. Brennan Manning Every book of the Bible from Romans to Philemon starts with something to the effect of “May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.” And then all of those same books end with another blessing of God’s grace. That’s thirteen books, for those of you who use the table of contents as much as I do. Maybe that’s just Paul’s style. Grace and peace, like a Biblical hippie. That, or he was really trying to get a point across. I had always skipped over those parts before because I have heard the words grace and peace a lot. Like, a lot. So much so that they had become buzz words that told me it was time to tune out. (Makes me think about what else I might be tuning out, right?) But now, grace is changing me. Martin Luther said that most Christians have enough religion to feel guilty about their sins but not enough to enjoy life in the Spirit. That’s so true for me. I’ve lived heavy in the guilt. I remember one night in junior high, I was supposed to be watching my younger siblings while my parents went out, but instead I spent hours on the phone with my “boyfriend.” My brother and sister didn’t care- … Read More

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love yourself

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I’m processing through what I’ve assumed to be true about following Jesus and I’m finding that there might be more than I thought to some things. I’ve heard/read/listened to so many lessons about humility and self-sacrifice and putting others first.  I think these are great things! Jesus lived a life of service for sure.  But the way I’ve interpreted this before is that I should focus on other people.  Love them and do things for them until I can’t give any more.  That. is. exhausting. And then this week I read Matthew 22:37-39.  Jesus was talking to his disciples and told them, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (ESV emphasis mine) As yourself.  Love others the way that I love myself. I don’t need to only focus on other people.  God knows that I need attention too.  Not in an arrogant, narcissistic, me me me way, but in an intentional, refreshing, making me better way.   I’ve focused on loving myself by journaling and taking care of my body and taking pride in who I am.  There are some times in the past where I would have looked at this week and called myself self-centered because of how much I’ve thought about this.  Whatever. After investing in myself, I feel better equipped to love others. … Read More

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