How to Balance Grief and Grace

Maybe you’ve noticed that I’m a girl that loves words. 🙂

An SAT word makes my pulse race. The perfectly turned phrase makes me sigh in bliss. A beautifully written book is my constant friend until I’ve read the last line. I love to read words, write words and speak words.

But it’s my words that come out of my mouth that most often get me in trouble. In fact, I’ve been known to tell my friends that this proverb should be tattooed on my forehead,

“In the multitude of words sin is not lacking…” (Proverbs 10:19a NKJV)

But what I really need is the second part. “But he who restrains his lips is wise.” (Proverbs 10:19b)

This struggle with over-using and abusing my words isn’t new, and maybe that’s what’s made it incredibly painful to me. In the past six months, these questions have run through my mind over and over again.

How could you have said that?

Why wouldn’t you just stop talking?

Why can’t you learn to just listen instead of needing to give your two cents?

Will you ever learn?

You can probably hear the grief in those questions. Grief over my insensitive words. Grief in the number of my words. Grief cause by how my words have affected others.

Grief is good because it leads to repentance, but when we allow grief to take over, like I’ve been doing, it stops being constructive and starts being destructive. When grief takes over it leads to shame. When grief takes precedence, it creates a broken spirit. When we let grief bully, it becomes a bludgeon instead of a tool.

What’s confident grace?

I’ve been studying Job through First 5, and I’ve read as Job defended his own righteousness over and over to his friends. In my reading today Job says, “Let God weigh me in honest scales and he will know that I am blameless.” (Job 31:6 NIV) He is sure that none of his suffering is deserved because he knows that his behavior is spotless.

Part of what we learn in Job is that some of his assumptions about God and His motives were incorrect, yet Job was sure of his own righteousness.

I started thinking that even though I can’t claim blameless behavior (it’s kinda wretched sometimes if truth be told), I can stand in confident righteousness. I’m able to stand in righteousness instead of wallowing in grief over sin because of Christ. In His grace, He bought my righteousness with His blood.

For those of you who have walked with the Lord for a long time, I hope you’re feeling as free as I am from that truth. We should feel shaken by our sin, but we shouldn’t be shocked by our sin. We’re sinners after all. We should use those first moments of grief to turn us away from that sin and toward Christ, but we shouldn’t embrace the grief and hold onto it. We should leverage it to move us forward into grace and then stand in the righteousness that grace gives.

For those of you who are new to being a Christian, some of this might sound like a foreign language to you. Here’s a practical application. Do you wrestle with repetitive guilt over your past? Use that moment of guilt and grief. Feel it, and then pray. Ask God to forgive you and to help you to hand that sin over once and for all. Then, stand in confident grace, the knowledge that you’ve been made right by Jesus.

I’ve been a Christian for almost 40 years now, but I need to go through those simple steps again rather than allowing myself to be mired in grief, shock and shame.

Here’s a final thought that’s helped me as I’ve grappled and struggled to live this lesson in the last week. My friend Cheri Gregory compared our spiritual growth to a video game where the player progresses through levels. Even though one level might look similar to a previous level, it’s more difficult and higher. As we learn the same lessons in new season, let’s stand in confident grace, knowing that God is using this new level to take us to a place of being more like Jesus.

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Our recent Grit ‘n’ Grace interview with Tricia Lott Williford left Cheri and I with some beautiful lessons about confidence. Click on the graphics below to hear our interview with Tricia and then to listen to how Cheri and I processed what she shared with us.

 

 

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Lord, Help My Unbelief!

Thank you for visiting from today’s devotion, Dealing with My Doubt. I’m so glad you’re here!

One of the ways I remind myself to walk in God’s truth is to post His Word all over my house. I’ve made this free download of a verse that hangs on my office wall for you to print and post as you walk with me, wrestling our doubts to the ground. Click on the image below to access it and ENJOY!

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Need more encouragement in your day? Then join Cheri Gregory and I for the Grit ‘n’ Grace podcast!

We mix Scripture, life and a whole lot of giggles into 20 minute episodes that also include great guests like Kathi Lipp, Shaunti Felhahn, Chrystal Evans Hurst (upcoming episode) and a whole lot more. Click on the graphic below to listen. If you subscribe while you’re there, you won’t have to miss a single episode AND you’ll receive 12 Permission slips to break bad rules. 🙂

Grit 'n' Grace

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You Are Loved

This is the last in the series, but don’t miss this one. It’s what I need to hear every day! Watch the video below or click here to watch it on the website.


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I’m taking a blogging break in August, but I want to leave you with some encouragement to get you through on days you need it. If you’ll click here and scroll down a bit, there are recordings of interviews I’ve done. I’m obsessed with things I can listen to while I’m cleaning the kitchen, so I hope you’ll enjoy these too!

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Three Ways to Become Unparalyzed by Perfection

Hi, friends! You’re in for a bonus treat today. My friend Dawna Hetzler is sharing some beautiful thoughts on moving beyond the paralyzation of perfection. Please welcome Dawna!

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I would tell you that I wasn’t staring at him, but I’d be lying. He immediately caught my attention as he wheeled himself down the isle. Stopping beside me, he said, “Hello.” I couldn’t take my eyes off of him.

He lifted himself up in his wheelchair. Unabashed, he balanced on his knees where his lower legs used to be. Unable to move, I watched him stretch, reaching for something on the store’s upper shelf.

What if he fell?

He wobbled as he grabbed his item, and then sat back down in his chair. Before I could offer to help, he’d completed his task. He nodded at me and continued his shopping.

I stood there immobilized by my thoughts. What empowered him to be so, whole? 

His exterior shell broken, but inside—something beautifully different.

I was mesmerized by him, and suddenly it was clear; I’ve been living paralyzed by perfection. My perfection cripples me into believing that everything I do has to be impeccable—my worth rides on my success. But this guy taught me otherwise. He elevated his viewpoint, lived outside the lines, and appeared contented—all signs of living imperfectly.

Now I felt like the one with the handicap. Without a word, he taught me three ways to become unparalyzed by perfection.

Straighten Up

Contorting our alignment, perfectionism bends our perspective—revealing untruths—like if we fail, we’re worthless. There’s a story in the Bible about a woman who had an infirmity for eighteen years and was bent at the waist. “When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, ‘Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.’ Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.” (Luke 13:12-13 NIV)

How long have you been bound by perfectionism? It’s time to straighten up! Go to Jesus. He’ll change your perspective. Now looking heavenward, you’ll see there’s only One who is perfect. Then you will be free to walk straight, seeing from the proper viewpoint.

Live Outside the Lines 

Once you’re standing upright, do something out of your comfort zone—live outside the lines.

~Drive with the windows down and let your hair get incredibly messy.

~Get a cake and take a spoonful right from the center. Go ahead, eat from the middle.

~Color outside the lines in a coloring book—make the tree trunk bright orange, the leaves purple, and paint the sky green instead of blue.

Just do something that pushes you outside the lines of perfection that keep you restrained.

Love your life 

On the radio, I interviewed a young man with down syndrome, he looked at me through cheerful eyes and as best he could articulate he said, “I la eye ife!” (I love my life!) I sat there in awe. This differently-abled person proclaimed contentment, even though he had every right to feel otherwise. He made a choice to love his life.  At that moment, I felt a surge of conviction, transformed into gratefulness. And then I joined him in song, “I love my life too!”

Perfection doesn’t validate us, it makes us invalid.

That day, I walked out of the store transformed. Standing upright, challenging myself in a new way, and loving my life—unconfined from the handicap of perfectionism. And I walked out straighter than when I came in.

Your turn. I would love to hear how you’ve overcome perfectionism.

Dawna Hetzler is NOT a morning person and needs lots of coffee to get going, thinking, possibly even breathing. She is a speaker, author of Walls of a Warrior—Conquering the fears of our hearts, and the founder of a growing network of women called, The Jericho Girls.

Connect with her at: www.dawnahetzler.com or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jerichogirls/

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What the World Needs Now

Remember the old Burt Bacharach song? I’m dating myself, but some things never change! Watch the video below (or click here to watch on the website) for some truth that just might get you through the days of summer when you’re hot.

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Did you know there are lots of freebies on the site just for you? Click here to read some of my favorite devotions and top blog posts. I hope they encourage you!

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The Land of the Truly Free

I hope you had a happy Fourth of July! Watch the video below or click here to watch on the website for some truth about true freedom.

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I’m booking speaking events now for 2018 (there are a couple spaces left in late 2017 too), and I’d love to serve the women at your church!

Here’s a message that I’ve lived out and then shared recently:

How to Flip a Flop: Recovering from a Crushing Fail 
As unique as we all are, we all have one thing in common. We’ve all experienced failures and flops. They’re definitely painful, but they don’t have to be fatal to the story of our lives. From the lessons learned in a difficult year of her life and the biblical account of Peter’s denials, Amy teaches you to:

  • Exhale with the relief found in embracing the truth that “you’re only human”.
  • See flops and failures as a chance to grow closer to God and others instead of disqualifiers to relationship.
  • Experience the confidence and joy of knowing two sure ways to flip your flops.

If you think that message or one of my others would meet the needs at your church, you can click on the graphic below for a PDF of my speaker information to download and take to her. It would be wonderful to have face- time with some of our community here!

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Embracing HimPerfect You

Welcome to my blog! If you’re visiting from today’s devotion, Why Your Brand of Unique is Perfect, I’m so glad you’re here. You came at just the right time to join a little series I’m doing. Watch the video below (or click here to watch it on the website), and then I have a free gift to tell you about. 🙂


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The video you just watched explained my word “HimPerfect”, but I’ve written a whole series of devotions about the process called 5 Days to Himperfection. If you’d like to see the rest of the Summer Slice series AND get 5 Days to Himperfection as a  free gift, click on the graphic below, and follow the directions. I’m happy that you’re joining our community of reforming perfectionists!

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An Easy, Beautiful Way to Make a Difference

Hey, gang!

I wanted to let you know that tonight I’ll be co-hosting an online auction with my friend Sarah Carroll to benefit Encouraging Words, Inc. and Agape School in Kolkata. We’ll have beautiful goods from Nepal for sale, so you can buy something beautiful and help build a Christian school in one of the poorest places in Kolkata.

We’re doing it via Facebook Live so join the fun at 7:00 pm Eastern Time by clicking here to go to the auction Facebook page.

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What Makes Sweet Sweeter?

Summer is sweet, isn’t it? But it’s also buuuuuusssssyyyy! I’m going to do a series called Summer Slice : 2 Minute Truths until the end of July that’s a series of 2 minute videos with a big truth from Scripture in each to keep you going.

Know what makes sweet taste even sweeter? Surprisingly, it’s not sugar! Watch the video embedded below or click here to watch on the website and find out what makes sweet sweeter.


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Are you looking for a summer study that you can do at your own pace? You can study Breaking Up with Perfect for FREE right here on the website!

Here’s what one friend who did the study had to say… “I am not alone. Other people think like me. There have been times I’ve been reading with tears rolling down my face. I have wondered how a person I have never met got inside my head and wrote it all down!” ~Desiree

Click here to see all the details and get started.

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