BloPoMo Day 4: “Choosing Grace in the Hard Places”


Grace is not some beatific blessing borne down to us on angel’s wings. No. Grace is and will always be a choice, just as love is a choice. Every. Single. Day. We have to choose grace over bitterness, and sometimes that is hard. Very hard. Some days, grace, forgiveness, love…these are all hard. Sometimes they really are choices: grit-your-teeth, determination-over-motivation, lace-up-your-gloves-and-punch-above-your-weight choices.

When we are hurting, when something has bumped into our happy (or outright shattered it), that choice can be the hardest to make. We want to feel angry, we want to sit and stew in our hurt and bitterness, but choosing to give grace requires us to act outside of our feelings. As Lysa TerKeurst so wisely put it, “Our feelings are indicators not dictators, child.” We can definitely feel a particular way and do no wrong in the feeling of it but that in no way means that we have to act out of those feelings.

I was once in a situation where it would have been ridiculously easy for me to allow myself to be cold, unkind, and resentful towards some people who (had I allowed my view to skew this far) I could have looked at as “furtherers” of my misery. However, I stopped and thought about them, about the reality of those feelings and ideas. Those poor people would have had no idea as to the cause behind my attitude change towards them. They would have been confused and most likely hurt. The truth was that they had not wronged me in any way; they just happened to stumble into a difficult situation that I was experiencing at the time. These people had never been anything but kind to me and I knew, in my heart’s core, that treating them in any other way would have been wrong. They had not wronged me and so I would not treat them though they had. I would not come unglued and let irrational emotions boss me out of grace. I made a choice. In thinking through and choosing my actions, I then found it a little easier to extend grace to the actual people with whom I was in conflict.

Grace can be hard. Grace can go against every tenet of self-preservation that is built into our cells. That’s why it is a choice. And choices are not made for the easy moments. Choices are made for the challenging times. For the times when we ground ourselves in what we believe and act out of that belief, whatever it may be. Choices are made for those times when situations are difficult, people are stubborn or just downright nasty, and when our hearts are breaking and anger swells. That is when choices are the most important. When we determine to look past what we feel and decide how we will act. When we choose to consider the probability of another’s pain out of which they may have acted. So often, pain is inflicted by those who are in the midst of it rather than it really having anything to do with the person on the receiving end. This is where grace comes in. Grace for the hard times. Grace for the hard people. Grace is ever the better choice than bitterness. We can choose loving grace, even when anger makes us want to lash out in cruelty or when fear makes us want to cower. But it will not be done for us. We must make the choice.

Take it from a courageous woman who ran off with a crotchety Scotsman in a blazing blue police box:

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Reflection: Unglued Devotional by Lysa TerKeurst


“My Creative Best” – page 132

“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” – Proverbs 14:30

“We get empty when we park our minds on comparison thoughts and wallow in them. […] No jealous thought is ever life-giving. Wallowing in jealous thoughts actually leads to death. Death of contentment. Death of friendships. Death of peace. And certainly death of joy.” – page 133

I really appreciate Lysa’s take on jealousy. Jealousy can cause emptiness in my soul through wanting “it” – whatever I think will make me happy or satisfied at the time – and when others get “it”, it causes my heart to hurt, which can easily lead me into a trap of jealousy. In response to jealousy, though, Lysa notes Galatians 6:4-5, which admonishes:

“Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load.”

This means that I should focus on reasons to celebrate what I have and what I am doing right (page 134, emphasis added). God has a creative best for my life, a plan for me to accomplish. I don’t want to waste my life and energy wishing for someone’s else’s life or blessings. As Lysa reminds herself when she feels jealous, I am not equipped to handle the good and bad of someone else’s life, and it is always a package deal with both. My life is what I have been equipped to handle. “All the things I have and don’t have are what make up the unique load I have been assigned. (page 135)”