I’ve been thinking about the small grace space a lot in the last 36 hours. I’ve been picturing it in my mind, and it’s not too encouraging. Trying to figure out how to pry open the door for good – maybe throw open a few windows and then take one of those old fashioned basketball pumps to the innards to try to blow it up bigger…bigger…bigger until it at least is obvious. Not a lot of hope, there.
Doug and I took a walk last night. I was talking to him about my view of work. I’ve worked my whole adult life, with the exception of a few pregnant months and their aftermath back in 2000 and 2001. However, I’ve been a “stay at home mom” in my heart that whole time. Oops. Finding out that I am really not a “stay at home mom” (16 years into a working adulthood) has created some soul tremor in me lately. It was the dream I held on to – but it’s really only a dream. Accepting what is and embracing what could be is the order of the day – this day, anyhow.
So, we’re walking last night and talking about small grace spaces and about how to find meaning and purpose in work. I think my dear husband summed it up for me pretty well. He helped define the two buckets that I’m struggling with in work right now. Bucket #1 is just the tedium of a job that sometimes devolves into meticulous, lonely places which fall harshly on a creative, interactive soul. This struggle asks me to actively wait on God to show me how to use who He’s made me to be in the arena that is most suited to His glory and my growth. He will do that. That’s a hopeful path, because it invites me on a journey, even a challenging or obscure one.
But, Bucket #2 is the kicker. Doug says that Bucket #2 is my belief that I am not in God’s Plan A. My belief that I am living in His Plan B for my life and that I’ve disappointed Him or let Him down. My belief that I’ll never be living His best for me – that He’s so disgusted with me to date that He’s relegated me to the bench. I can digress into reasons that I believe this way (divorce, failing to choose a “career path,” parental influence that happened before I could spell “bucket”, and all the rest…I can probably even find a way to blame my red hair for some of it.) The roots of my belief are not important (here, anyway). The fruit is infinitely important. If I believe that God is disappointed in me, or if I think that I’ve blown my shot at impressing Him enough with my awesome choices and wisdom to earn a place in Plan A, then I will never, ever, ever have a bigger grace space. Believing that I’m in His Plan B consigns me to a life living in an earned-love-cavern that echoes with More, Better, Harder, MORE. The grace space will always be small; the cavern will be relentlessly demanding and so loud.
Back to that original question of the Gospel. How does the Gospel fit here? How does it enlarge the grace space so that it is THE place. How does it blow grace into every corner of that earned-love-cavern?
My, but the answer is so painfully obvious. So hard to access for those of us who live in the caverns and can’t hear ourselves think for the echoes (or the Holy Spirit whisper, for that matter!)
What if…what if I just opened the door to the cavern to Jesus? What if I stopped thinking I had to work hard to grow grace and simply asked Jesus to do all the earning, all the more, all the better, all the harder, all the MORE? What if I let Him earn it all. What if I believed that He really did accomplish on the cross the final earning? What if it is TRUE that His love is enough? What if it is TRUE that His love will whoosh out of that tiny grace space and fill up the cavern so that the echoes are silenced and His whisper of love is magnified? What if I don’t have to work harder to expand the grace space, but rather let HIM move into the cavern and fill it up with His love. No earning required.
I do believe that would take care of the Plan A / Plan B problem. I think I’d know He was delighted. I think I’d be able to rest where I am and trust His best. I think the Gospel of grace would be taking root. What if the grace space is really a mustard seed in disguise? The Gospel says that he planted that tiny grace space in me and will release His love into the far reaches of my older-brother, tired, worn out working woman soul when I accept the fact that He’s the earner, not me.
That sounds like a miracle. I think it is.