Tuesday, March 1, 2016

on grace expectations...


Have you ever tried to eye-ball a recipe? I am always a little jealous of and perplexed by the men and women on cooking shows (and in life) who can just throw in all the things and out pops this amazing treat with perfectly iced frosting and lavender sprigs. Let me just tell you, measuring cups are a blessing and I use them often because if I did a whole "dash of this" and "a cup or so of that", my treat would end up being a HOT MESS. It's happened before. When I try to use my own measurements, I always fall short. (Except for when I make pancakes, because how could you ruin pancakes with a splash of vanilla and a dash of cinnamon?) I routinely give up on the homemade and take a trip to the local Vons for my favorite Susan Cookies. 
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When I try to use my own measurements, I always fall short...
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Do you ever feel like you just don't measure up? Maybe you feel you don't measure up to a standard that you have created or that the world created. Maybe you feel you don't measure up to a perceived ideal of someone else's expectations. Maybe you feel less-than in all of your ways. There are so many expectations; we live in the tension between too much and not enough. We wonder if we are too loud, quiet, strong, weak, fat, skinny, godly, funny, confident, pretty, and muscle-y. We wonder if we aren't loud, quiet, strong, weak, fat, skinny, godly, funny, confident, pretty, and muscle-y enough. We have these standards that have been imposed on us, expectations that we have cultivated in our own hearts, and we believe the lie that says if we just.

I am always scared that I am not what other people expect me to be; what if I am not funny enough? skinny enough? pretty enough? godly enough? involved enough? I am always scared that I am not what I expect me to be; what if I never get married? have children? write a book? attain my career goals? be a good Christian?

The shackles of expectation and the weight of failure are the heaviest burden, but Jesus says that we should come to Him, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Our standards create fear, His create comfort; there is grace in His standards, so how much more should we extend grace to ourselves? What standard are you measuring yourself by? What do you think you will gain? And what if you actually never gain it?

Now hear me when I say this... I am not saying give up, I am saying give grace. So maybe you can't fit into a size two pants, or lift 300 pounds at Crossfit, or have time to make organic baby food from your own garden. Grace says SO WHAT. Grace looks at your lists and standards and comparison and gives them the stink eye. Grace says the yoke is easy and the burden is light. Grace says give grace.
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Don't give up, give grace...
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Let's cling to grace expectations rather than great expectations. What if we cast away the shackles of standards and self-imposed measurements and exhibited grace not just to friends and family, but to ourselves? Because the yoke is easy and the burden is light... Because grace doesn't need to be deeper, it is deeper.

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