Unforced Rhythms of Grace

by Kristi Cronan

 

Grace. It’s just a simple one syllable, five letter word, but even the meekest of words can have immense depth in their meaning. Some dictionaries define it as unmerited favor while others label it as poise and elegance. But even these standard definitions don’t quite give this powerful word the recognition it deserves because this single word has the potential to change lives in monumental ways when its purpose and truths are unearthed in our hearts.

Most people struggle with some sort of behavior they wish they could better manage in their life. In some cases it can look like everyday tendencies to curse, worry or procrastinate while in other cases it can be life threatening addictions to substances, self-harm or unhealthy relationships with food. The lists go on and on. Whatever the situation may be in your life, though, it is safe to assume that these behaviors and thoughts are robbing you of the fulfillment that your heart is so desperately searching for. After all that is why we turn to these counterfeit pleasures in the first place.

But knowing that these counterfeit pleasures will ultimately lead to greater desperation is not enough to offset the momentary gain that we get from incorporating them into our daily lives. Even with the acute knowledge that we are doing more damage than good, we maintain and at times even increase these behaviors. So how do we escape this negative cycle of behavior and emotions and find genuine fulfillment? 

As a heartfelt believer of the importance of an intimate relationship with Jesus, the first step is to surrender your problem areas to Jesus and invite him into the darkest parts of your struggles.  As you take this step with immense vulnerability, Jesus will honor your trust in him by supplying you a level of unmerited favor (grace!) that our human minds will never fully understand on this side of eternity. Matthew 11:28-30 describes this specifically by identifying that connecting with Jesus and learning his unforced rhythms of grace will lead you to recovering your life. 

This doesn’t mean we become puppets on a string who magically have no problems or pulls towards our routines and habits, but it does mean that we now have the creator of the universe providing precisely the amount of grace we need in each moment to take a single step at a time. And in true godly fashion Jesus will multiply that step in ways that can only be seen when looking in hindsight. You see there is no one more deserving of our trust, and his grace is sufficient for us and his strength becomes evident in our weakness ( 2 Cor 12:9-10).

So surrender your struggles to Jesus, and let his light and love for you overwhelm your heart. Ask him to show you a memory or a thought to reveal his love to you and show you what your next step should be.

 

Scripture references:

Matthew 11:28-30 The Message (MSG)
28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 The Message (MSG)
7-10 Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,

My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.


Kristi lives in Canton, Georgia where she is a professional counselor serving children, adolescents, and adults at Family Counseling Associates of North Georgia. She has a passion for fusing clinical counseling with the truths found in Jesus Christ. Whether it be simply providing her clients unconditional positive regard in a non-threatening, understated tone or working with clients who specifically desire to delve deeper into their God-given identity and heart’s desires, she eagerly partners with her clients to find fulfillment and purpose in their lives. Kristi attends Revolution Church with her husband of 10 years along with their 2 children. She likes good coffee and heartfelt song lyrics, but not nearly as much as she loves Jesus!