Grace. Gratitude. Joy.
These three words have been showing up in my life and my heart over the past few months. I have truly felt like God is calling me to live in these words on a daily basis, so much so, that on a recent photoshoot, these bracelets were selected for me to model before I even arrived!
Life is interesting right now.
In just the past month, I have personally experienced or walked with a friend through the pain of infertility issues, heartbreak, financial troubles, loneliness, loss of a loved one, cancer. Yet I’ve also personally experienced or walked with a friend through the excitement of a promotion, getting engaged, new opportunities, a wedding, starting a business, finding out the gender of their unborn child.
The question becomes … how do you live in and through the ups and downs of this things we call life on a daily basis?
Grace. Gratitude. Joy.
Grace is such an incredibly difficult thing to wrap our minds around. It is perhaps the deepest and most complex attribute of who God is and I’m still wrestling with what grace truly means for myself and for those in my life. Here are a few principles about grace I’ve learned I’m trying to live by each day …
- Embrace Grace … Grace is getting what you don’t deserve … I don’t deserve it, no one does, but that is the point … that is what makes it grace.
In Christ, everybody is welcome because nobody is perfect but anything is possible. -Crosspoint Church
- Accept Grace … I am not perfect and need to learn to accept God’s grace and have grace with myself when I fall short of even my own expectations.
“Grace means there isn’t anything you can do to make God love you any less [and] there isn’t anything you can do to make him love you anymore either.” Hustling God by Craig Barnes
- Extend Grace … We all fall short so we need to extend the same grace to others as we hope they will do for us and God already has done for us.
“If any of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw the stone.” John 8:7
What I’m learning is when I embrace God’s grace, it allows me to extend that grace to myself and to others, and this humbly leads my heart toward gratitude.
Gratitude forces me to live in the moment and moves me toward contentment. Gratitude for small things, gratitude for big things …. just simply being grateful can change your mood, your daily perspective, and your outlook on life. Here are a few principles about gratitude I am trying to live by each day …
- Live in Gratitude … Everything I have been blessed with is a gift and I am a manager not an owner … God owns it all and has entrusted me with it therefore I am grateful, not entitled.
“And when I give thanks for the seemingly microscopic, I make a place for God to grow within me.” ~Ann Voskamp
- Let go of Expectations … My expectations must be laid down to truly be grateful. Nobody owes me anything therefor deserve is not in my vocabulary.
“Trade your expectation for appreciation and the world changes instantly.” – Tony Robbins
- Say Thank You, often … I have achieved only through the help of God and many people in my life who have helped me get where I am today.
“Unexpressed gratitude is felt as ingratitude.” -Andy Stanley
I’m learning there is a direct relationship between my level of gratitude and my day to day contentment which ultimately leads to joy.
Joy is so much more than my current mood. This side heaven, we will all experience the emotions of pain, heartbreak, and loss but choosing joy can elevate us above these circumstances. Here are a few principles about joy I’m trying to live by each day …
- Joy is not an emotion … Happiness is an emotion and is temporary but joy is an attitude of the heart.
“The difference between shallow happiness and deep, sustaining joy is sorrow. Happiness lives where sorrow is not. When sorrow arrives, happiness dies. Joy, on the other hand, rises from sorrow and therefore can withstand all grief. Joy, by the grace of God, is the transfiguration of suffering into endurance, and endurance into character, and of character into a hope that does not disappoint us.” –Reliving the Passion by Walter Wangerin Jr.
- Choose Joy … Joy is possible even in the midst of difficult circumstances when we choose to embrace God’s love and God’s plan, even when we don’t agree with how things turn out, He is God (and we are not) and He is still good.
“We also have joy with our troubles, because we know that these troubles produce patience. And patience produces character, and character produces hope. And this hope will never disappoint us, because God has poured out his love to fill our hearts.” Romans 5:3
- Joy is not a Destination … Joy is an everyday choice to live in grace and gratitude in God’s love
“If you can’t find joy in the path you are on and what you are working toward now, how do you expect to find joy once you get there?” -unknown
These things do not simply happen, they are all a daily choice.
But I’ve found I can better navigate the up and down complexities of life when I live in the simplicity of
And hopefully you can too.