Friday, December 7, 2012

The simple elegance of grace

Looked up the definition of grace and it is "simple elegance or refinement of movement".  This, of course is the "secular" definition.

But it fits the "unmerited favor" of the spiritual definition as well.

The movements of God in my life have, truthfully, always been movements of simple elegance.  He blasted His way into my life in a way that was elegantly simple.  The difference He made is the difference between unsullied Light and unenlightened darkness. Black and White.  Elegant. Crisp.  Refined.  And, may I add, vivid.

If is as if He took a black and white painting - simple elegance - and added color in delicate hues, now pastel, now gloriously iridescent, now distilled and pristine.  Nuances galore - that refinement of movement coming into play.

And all of it unmerited favor.

I have been meditating a lot on gratitude and being thankful - not just for things, but for people and places and everyday miracles - like eyes that see, lungs that work, a heart that beats.  I've been reading a 21 day gratitude challenge and it's been illuminating as well as spiritually edifying (there's that refinement of movement again).  The author maintains that our emotions follow what we purpose in our hearts to do.  If we maintain that we will be grateful, darkness lifts and self-pity can be conquered.  It's not a snap-your-fingers type of thing, but a spiritual battle - a simple elegance of the soul that rightfully proclaims that each beat of the heart is a gift of grace. Why 21 days?  That's how long it takes to form a habit. She suggests journaling gratitude in 3 areas : physical, spiritual, and relational - and suggests sending a thank you note via snail mail to one person each of the 21 days as ways to fight self-pity, discontent,  and - in my case - complaints about physical pain or aches.  To consciously fight the darkness with the light of His presence; as the Psalmists says, "We enter in with praise and thanksgiving".

Simple elegance.

I'm discovering that God's ways are just that.  Simple to grasp, elegant in their ease of understanding.  But my efforts at actually doing them are far from being refined movement.  More like fits and starts and falling over, getting up and dusting off the feeling of failure, and going at it again.

I was raised in a religion of fear - one mortal sin and the trap door to hell opened.  When Jesus bought me out of the slave market it took me awhile to realize all my future sins as well as past sins were already paid for.  Jesus taught me that He knew before He chose me exactly how much darkness and sinful ways lurked in the recesses of my soul - and still He chose me from before the foundation of the world.  All of my failures  and fits and starts and tripping in the mud, falling hither and yon were nailed to the cross.  What was important to Him was that I continue to get back up, confess it and repent, (washing off all the caked on mud,) and begin again on the narrow way.

Simple elegance.  Unmerited favor.  Refinement of movement.

Now, I cannot claim that "refinement of movement" stuff for my own yet, and  I think "simple elegance" will only be conferred upon me when I reach Home. But all three of those terms certainly fit my King.

So, I'm trying to form that new habit.  I have "thankfulness journaled" in fits and starts for awhile now, but not trying to hit all three categories every day.  I'm trying to be "present" with Him in the Word, in prayer, in gratitude.  To consciously realize that I am truly and actually in the Presence of the King of Kings, the Creator of the universe, the Savior of my soul.  And, for at least the next 21 days, I will journal with intent.

In a simply elegant refinement of movement, I will chronicle the unmerited favor in my life, one day at a time.

Care to join me?