A distinction: Grace is different than enjoyment

Photo by Zac Durant on Unsplash

I had a dear friend tell me they experience grace when they’re doing what they love — spending time with family, hiking, etc.

This is all well and good, of course, but I wouldn’t exactly call this grace. Maybe they’re in the flow, which I see as being different than grace.

Grace typically comes in moments of perplexity. When we’re either at the bottom or when love rushes in unexpectedly. And it doesn’t come from us.

Grace sneaks in through the side door.
Grace is a surprise.

Grace isn’t necessarily enjoyable, and it’s never easy. It’s the thing that happens when I pay $20 to take my daughter bowling and she throws a fit on the fifth frame and we have to leave 15 minutes into what I had in mind as the perfect father/daughter afternoon. It’s the thing that wordlessly whispers to me…

Jonas, you’re reeling right now, but thankfully, you’re wrong. All is forgiven. You and her are perfect in the eyes of the divine. Go on with your day in love.

Ugh… No! My ego doesn’t want God to grant me or her this grace. I want a god who tells me that I’m right and I’m the dad and she must respect me or else she’ll be sent to hell with all the other disrespectful 5-year-olds who can’t play nicely.

But no. Grace swoops in and sets things right.

Yes, we can close our hearts to grace. This makes sense most of the time. But eventually, we’ll be cracked open and that’ll be it. We’ll be totally surrendered to grace.

I know it’s happened to you, no matter your religious affiliation (or non-affiliation).

Grace is about resurrection. As wonderful as resurrection sounds, it’s impossible to leave out the truth that before resurrection is the thing the ego hates: death.

Grace doesn’t come on-demand. There is no grace switch. The only thing to do with grace is to have our hearts open for it. To allow ourselves to be vulnerable and accept it with as much dignity as we can.

Like receiving the Eucharist, we can only give thanks.

No paying it back. 
No quid pro quo.

Full acceptance.

Grace be to God.