The Pace of Grace

I have three friends named Cindy.  Cindy One I’ve known for 28 years and is one of my dearest friends.  She probably has the most dirt on me.  Our kids were more like cousins,  grew up together and were in each others weddings.  Cindy Two I’ve known for 8 years and we’re family now since our kids recently got married.  She’s become way more than just an “in law”….more like a sister.  Cindy Three I met about 5 years ago in Bible Study and we just clicked.  You know the type.  There’s something familiar in them and you just enjoy one another.  We love to hang out together in Youth Group, birthday lunch groups, and we generally support and encourage one another.

Cindy Three is a dynamo – a true “go getter”.  She is always pushing herself, always gathering knowledge, sometimes too hard on herself, always pursuing being better, hard working, talented, always asking questions, and always inquisitive about everything.  She is amazing!  We once went to Disneyland together on a girls weekend and we would often misplace her.  “Where’s Cindy?” was a common phrase used that weekend but we’d usually find her off ahead of us looking at the flowers, or the architecture…walking at marathon speed at least 20 paces in front of us….on a mission to take it all in, never all that interested in idle chit-chat or what ride we were heading to next, but rather enjoying the beauty around her and not satisfied to meander at our snails pace.  Fully engaged and actively pursuing new ideas.  Her husband Nick says she has two speeds…full speed and off.

I can be like that when it comes to living life.   Out in front, paddling like crazy, making things happen, bringing people together, asking questions, pursuing grace….but truth be told it can wear me out.  So why am I always functioning at warp speed? I think it’s because so much of my life was spent living for ME and now that grace is beginning to dawn and make sense to me I want to make up for lost time.  I find myself way too busy sometimes – filling my days with ministry and relationship building and community and loving on those around me.  My friends think I’m crazy – always organizing something or going someplace or caring for someone.  But I’m at that place in life where there are probably a lot more days behind me than there are ahead of me, and I think what motivates that pace is that I don’t want to waste one more day on myself.  Throw my love languages in there too (acts of service and gift giving) and you’ve got a perfect recipe for a burnt-out penniless Sista!  But there’s been this still-small-voice in my head of late that is whispering that I need to slow down and learn how to find balance.

So after ducking the subject and trying to ignore the dove’s voice, God got creative and spoke to me at Cheesecake Factory last week when I had dinner with two dear friends that I taught school with a few years back.  My friend Mags used a phrase that I haven’t been able to shake.  “Going at the pace of grace“.  It’s stuck with me more than the 5 lbs. from the Mocha Chocolate Cheesecake.  It’s been digging under my skin and peeling open scabs that I’ve known are there but have ignored, all pertaining to why I push myself, my schedule, my life at the pace I do.  I understand that nothing I do (works) earns me anything, so how do I manage grace and my pace in this tangible way?  Not that all these other things I do don’t hold value, but if I’m running at break-neck speed I’ll most certainly miss the scenery.  Or have a heart attack.  Well, I think it starts with taking off your track shoes and taking time to be still.

In my search for more going at the pace of grace input, I found that Scotty Smith tweets on the subject of what grace looks like (He’s a Pastor, author, blogger and tweeter, but his credentials on his Facebook say “Husband, dad, friend, big sinner enjoying an even bigger grace, unlikely pastor, wanna-be-musician, writer-at-times, a guy with an odd sense of humor”).  I like him already.  He blogs daily prayers that are so real, and just like the old phrase “You might be a redneck if….”his tweets often start with “A sign you’re growing in grace:…..”.   I just love it.  Simple.  Easy.  Grace.

Here’s the tweet that hit me between the eyes:

 “A sign you’re growing in grace: 
People don’t experience you being as busy, hurried or restless. 
You’re learning the pace of grace.”

Ouch.  That’s the opposite of me.  I’m always busy – I’m always hurrying to accomplish something – put on another event – bring more people together – write one more blog (this is actually very therapeutic and a form of worship for me, as God and I work through some things together) – and the stress that I put myself through causes me to be restless.  Yikes.  I think if I were living less busy and more in collaboration with God I would probably accomplish more and it wouldn’t be just about checking boxes off my TO DO list.  I’d be letting God walk those 20 paces ahead of me, leading, and watching to see what He wants me to pursue.  I have so much to learn still about this grace thing.

Hmmm….this is something I’m going to have to look into further.  For now I know I need to slow the pace down a bit. For now I’m going to be a better student of learning to go at the pace of grace.  And I give my three Cindy’s and my Youth Group (see my post dated 5/30/2014) permission to hold me accountable.  Uh oh….I’m in trouble!

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