On Grace and Hustle

redwoodsThis morning I was watching one of my favorite pastors, John Ortberg, talk about the cycles of grace. 

And just what living in grace looks like day to day.

But then 20 minutes later something annoying happened, and all that resolve to live in grace slipped off me like soap in the shower.

Maybe that’s a good thing, because knuckling down and trying harder to catch and harness up the unmerited favor of God is frankly, kind of dumb.

Are you smiling with recognition? Yah, we do this.

I’m always trying to find the right balance between grace and hustle, because I’ve got goals and I don’t believe in lying down waiting for them to fall on me. But at the same time, I was the 10 year old kid who wanted to be 16. I’m rarely content just enjoying were I’m at, soaking up the grace of God.

Here’s the only thing that makes sense to me in this situation.

john-chapter-15-verse-5-arlene-nanoukNothing! Jesus says.

I have years of practice hustling without Jesus, and frankly I’ve got a few funny stories from it, so it’s tempting to think he’s wrong.

But what I didn’t have then, and obviously don’t have now, is peace – plain and simple, the kind of soul peace, that Ortberg said, “makes people want to be around you.”

And if I examine the goal of most my hustle, it’s usually to encourage people around me to keep growing into whatever God has planned for them. To do that, I’ve got to have something good cooking in my own kitchen.

I’ve felt the soul peace Jesus describes a number times, and it is amazing. It’s a not unlike slipping into a warm bubble bath or sitting down to talk with your favorite friend after a long separation. It feels good like that.

And the only time I ever find it is when I abide for a good long while, somewhere quiet; dwelling in stillness and expectancy.

One other thing Ortberg said this morning that stuck:

You are going to go through your day no matter what. You can knuckle-down and hustle it, getting aggravated in traffic, annoyed and snappy with your colleagues, or you can invite Jesus into it first thing, saying “Can you help me with this day because I want peace – your peace.”

It’s a choice.

I blew it in a thousand small ways today because I’m hustling like a freak. But happily his mercy is new every day, and I’m going to get up tomorrow and try again.

Abiding first thing.

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