Lenten Meditation I: Making Space for Grace
Going deep has it’s risks. It does not happen in comfortable places of ease and security. Transformation happens in wilderness places — wild, dark, undiscovered places we have not been before. Things come up in these places. The apostle Paul had experienced miracles first hand yet restrained himself from boasting foolishly and was given a reminder to be in that place of pain and humility before The Divine. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12, “Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.”
Sometimes we find ourselves in a place of dis-ease, faltering in our disciplines, struggling with all of the “second bests” we see in ourselves and feeling stuck.
I am not please with the way my body is.
I did not do my devotions today. I just wasn't into it.
I will never do a handstand.
I cannot see how this is going to work out.
This is where we begin to realize that we need to make space for grace. Just as He said to Paul long ago, God says to us right now: ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’
Just how do we make space for grace?
At times we feel so under the weight of our inadequacies that we forget how God knows where we need to be transformed and plants that desire for transformation within us. We forget there are small threads of our personal truth he wants weave together from within the silence because our inadequacies are so loud. Deep listening is one way to make space for grace. As our breath allows us to receive the loud sensations with in our yoga practice, the spiritual practice of silence gives us the space we need experience the observe what is within. We can listen deeply hear how he is moving and transforming us inside.
Uncomfortable places often cause us to react and press the reject button what is going on. We think that things should be better or different or even just plain good because we they do not meet expectations. When we press this reject button, we also press the reject button on the sufficiency of grace. Know that in Him there is no doubt in you. He sees even the failed places in you as part of the transformation in his ultimate desires for your life. We make space for grace within when we accept that just as it says in Philippians 2:13, “It is God who is at work in you, enabling you to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Hold fast to the faith that the Holy Spirit endows you with what you require for transformation even when things become difficult and unbearable.
The spiritual disciplines we commit to are not for self-judgement, comparison, self-rejection, isolation nor perfection. Formative disciplines are for self-learning and creating a deeper impact on the world with love. Yet what disciplines are for is not why we engage in them. The ‘why’ is what the yogi’s call ishvara pranidhana — doing everything as dedication to God. This dedication takes our insufficiency out of the picture and replaces it with God’s abundance. This is the best way we make space for grace.
Paul delighted in his weaknesses because he knew that they were a manifestation of grace happening. He said, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” Just because transformation happens in uncomfortable wilderness places does not mean that grace is any less near. It’s right there. Make space for it’s abundance with deep listening, knowing that His work within is enabling you and doing it all for Him.
(Enjoy Washed Away by Morcheeba)