I need an extension … of grace



I’ve been in a mini funk for a few days now.   The Brits would say I’ve been a right stroppy cow.  It’s funny how you think you’ve mastered certain “graces,” but when the you-know-what hits the fan, you really see the areas in which the Potter needs to mold that clay a lot more than you had imagined.

For the second time this year, I bought tickets to see one of my favorite artists and the show was canceled.  I know; I’ve been thinking it too:  “First time:  shame on you; second time:  shame on me!”  (In the interest of time, I’ve only given you the Cliff Notes of the situation.)

Anyway, as my friends and I sat in a nearby restaurant that evening diving into some seriously delicious grub, one of them asked:  “So if the show were rescheduled, would you go?”

My immediate answer, steeped in disappointment, was a resounding “no!”

Now, bear in mind that I am getting a full refund for the tickets; my outfit can certainly be worn elsewhere; and my partner in crime kindly paid for my meal (muah, star!) and drove, so I did not pay for gas. 

So, you may ask, what’s my beef?

I need to learn to extend grace to others.

By extending grace, I mean showing others the goodwill I would want others to offer me. In a spiritual nutshell, it’s operating in the fruit of the Spirit:  love, joy, peace, patience  (Uh oh! Gotta pause there because that one stretches most of us out on a cross of affliction; be right back!), kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.

My dear friend Rose often uses the phrase “extending grace” when it comes to others who, in our minds, are not reaching the mark, or, more correctly, reaching our mark.  She epitomizes the “grace extender.”  In the face of familial and work-related challenges that would make most us slap the spit out of some people’s mouths, she  not only extends grace but encourages others to do likewise.  *bows with deep respect*  I’m not worthy!

I remember another friend (hey Sophia!) getting borderline upset with me once while we were driving to an event and I was letting other drivers cut in front of us.

Her, in exasperation:  “How many cars are you going to let in?”

Me:  “Well, other people let me cut in, so I let at least one person in when I can.”

Her:  *Side eye*   

Hey, I always believe that someone will let me cut in, so why not pay the favor forward?

But back to the patience thing.  Joyce Meyer says that patience is not just about waiting; it’s also about our attitude as we wait.  That really got to me because I like to think that I’m patient, but my approach to many things proves that I’m not.

Case in point #1:  At work, I’ve been waiting for two months for someone to respond to a request. Despite e-mail and phone attempts to get a response, I’m still at ground zero.  I felt a stroppy cow attitude coming on me yesterday and had to sternly talk myself out of it.  They aren’t reacting as I would, in the timeframe that I would.  What’s my correct response?  To extend grace and wait in a patient manner.  Am I doing it?  Reluctantly.  I confess and repent.

Case in point #2:  I always seem to be on time for bathroom-cleaning duties at work.  Some people, it appears, cannot “aim” effectively when they use the throne.  I’m like … girls, this is a big structure in a small space; how hard is it to keep from making a mess?  And Lord, why am I the one to clean up behind them?  Custodial work is not in my job description!

But this, like all of life, is a test.  And the test reveals a core problem:  pride.  Grace can’t really thrive where pride is reigning.  (*crickets*  I’m clearly preaching to myself.  Not a problem!)  I can choose to do the right thing with a humble attitude, grace extended, or grumble and complain all the way through.  I can struggle or surrender.


Is there a plumb line that separates extending grace and being patient, on the one hand, and being a plum fool and letting people walk all over you?  Sometimes I’m absolutely sure of it; other times, it’s up in the air.  I truly depend on the Holy Spirit to clearly point it out for me. Sometimes, gotta admit: 

I.  Just.  Don’t.  Know.  

What about you?   Have you surrendered and are extending grace with humility, or are you still struggling with it daily?














Comments

  1. Wonderful post. I just returned from a retreat this past weekend and this was a discussion in our group sessions. I can completely relate to you when it comes to "balancing" out favors in traffic. 🙂

    As for grace I am still on my journey to get better at it, but just as you, I make sure I catch myself repent and thank the lord for letting me see it…..and pray to give me the grace next time!!! 🙂

  2. By the way….visiting from SITS 🙂

  3. @Heavenly Blossoms Thanks for following! Isn't it great how God shows up and meets us right where we need grace? Great to have another SITS sister on board! I'm just about to take a look at your page and follow you as well.

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