Noticing Grace

Being your “best self” is something we often read about in the self-help aisle of the local bookstores. I used to think that if I was resourceful enough and had correct information, I could be successful and happy. I have not found that to be true. It is a lie to believe that we can manufacture meaning in this life on our own.

Being your "best self" by receiving God’s gift of grace is perhaps a matter of trusting God more than yourself. The truth about living a life of faith and trust in God is that despite difficulties, God’s goodness, love and forgiveness are enough. It is enough to know God created you and loves you just as you are. This message of grace comes to us in the person of Jesus. The gifts of this grace also come through the Holy Spirit. Do you notice grace in your life? Would you know if you saw it? 

 Ordained 25 years ago, Pastor Jóna Hrönn Bolladóttir of Iceland  lit up when asked about God's grace.

It is hard to perceive grace in the midst of political rhetoric, negative campaign ads and 24-hour news channels.  Personally, I’m limiting my own media exposure lest the messages of fear, scarcity, and mean-spiritedness carry me away.

Despite being afflicted with some type of physical  malady, the apostle Paul prayed to God for relief. He asked God three times to remove his affliction. God responded, “My grace is enough; it’s all you need.”

We live in a culture of consumerism where people have no real notion of  “what is enough.” Does having extra cash onhand send you out looking for the temporary “high” the next purchase will give you? Whether you have the discretionary income or not is irrelevant.

People may think: If I just find the right “thing”, my life will be better. If my teeth are a little whiter, I’ll be happier. The myth of consumerism, as one of my Luther Seminary preaching professors, David Lose, would say, is a just that—a myth. The newness of the next purchase will wear off. The product will underperform. You’ll be disappointed. Then, you’ll be off to replace it with “what will surely be a better product.” And it goes on and on. Many of us have more stuff than we know what to do with—yet are always looking for more. What are you looking for? More? More what?

Where will you find God’s gifts today? You will likely not find it in a 24-hour news channel or a new purchase.

Will you notice the small and big ways God comes to us through God’s creation, other people, and the Holy Spirit? God’s grace really is enough. As Pastor Jóna Hrönn Bolladóttir of Iceland said, " May we have eyes to see it and ears to hear it."