Finding Grace By Doing Less   4 comments

I have been fighting with fear for a month now, and a sense of being overwhelmed.  It partly comes from my anxiety of having to survive this summer on my lawn-mowing income (along with my inability to pick up sufficient regular clients) and partly from forgetting (as a result) my 2012 commitment to rest.  It has made me think afresh of the Biblical command, not to keep the Sabbath, but to remember to keep the Sabbath.  Apparently I’m not alone in having fear and busyness crowd out the vital place of rest for my soul.   I notice that, remarkably, I accomplish less, not more, when I neglect the rest my soul needs… the fear and drivenness drain away my energy.  This has not always been the case.

Most of my life I lived by overriding my own needs.  I thought I was meeting my soul’s needs by spending hours in prayer, meditation and Bible study, going to church, self-examination and the like.  But in fact these were just more activities to which I drove myself.  They were not “means of grace,” but means of accomplishment, of spiritual advancement.  In those days I measured success by how much I changed the world for the better, not realizing that I was denying with my life the very gospel I preached.  It is hard for the fruits of grace to spring from the drivenness of legalism.  I was getting more tasks done (being successful) because of my unceasing labor, but grace would have had so much more space to work had I learned to do much less while acting from a spirit of unconditional love (in both receiving it and sharing it).

My conception of success has changed so drastically since those days.  The ghost of ‘failures past’ still haunts me at times.  I have not been able to fully shake off those old definitions (mostly because the whole world seems to speak that language), but I realize now that my soul’s health and thereby the health of the hearts around me is my new measure of success.  It has little to do with numbers of tasks completed or people fixed.  I would rather accomplish one thing a day graciously than a dozen without grace, and because of my unhealthy proclivities, the more I try to fit into the day, the more likely I will shortchange grace.  As I grow in grace, I believe I will be able to do more good, but for now I must live within my limits and refuse the shame that shouts at me for doing too little, learning to trust more in God’s grace.

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Posted June 10, 2012 by janathangrace in Personal, thoughts

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4 responses to “Finding Grace By Doing Less

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  1. So, when you feel panicky that you won’t make enough $$ to live on, tell yourself this scenario: If I don’t make enough money to pay the bills, what’s the worst that could happen? We could lose the house and have to live in the woods. If we lose the house and live in the woods, what’s the worst that could happen? We could starve and freeze to death. And if we starve and freeze to death, then we’ll see Jesus. Wow! We’ll get to see Jesus! So the worst that could happen would be the best outcome ever!

    Then tell fear it has no place in your life and no authority to haunt you because perfect love casts out fear, and the Father loves you with a perfect love. Then you pray, “Father, I know that You love me, You are the best leader of all time, and I trust Your plan for me. I know Your ability to lead me is greater than my ability to follow, so no matter what I do, You WILL lead me. I trust Your leadership. I trust Your love.”

    Declaring this every time you feel that fear and panic will lead you into peace and trust.

    • Thanks for your input, Kathi. I’m glad this approach works for you. I am being led down a different path that seems to work healing for me. I am content to be where I am and taking the direction I am taking even though it is often a very difficult way.

  2. ps. You’re approaching this “grace” thing with your usual driveness! Remember, it’s about BEING, not about DOING. It’s about resting in Him, not about striving to get INTO the place of rest…

  3. it seems that as a non-member of wordpress I cannot “like” anything but I can comment!

    I liked where Kathi’s comment started. It sounded just like one of my favorite adson TV “if you don’t have DishTV you miss the ball game; if you miss the ball game you throw things…”

    Except I’d probably see the progression like this: If you don’t get enough lawn-care jobs during the summer you sleep in; if you sleep in you may wake up drowsy and forget to change into your jeans when you go out; if you forget your jeans and walk around in your pajamas you will attract attention; if you attract attention people will talk; if people talk you will get greater name recognition; if you get greater name recognition you can advertise yourself as the “Pajama Mower” and get more business.

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