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Sunday, November 8, 2015

Live Gracefully

Pocket Full of Quarters Journey 2015
Live Gracefully


Written In
By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady

Through Jesus Christ our Lord, we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name's sake Romans 1:5

Do you live by grace? I pray you are saved by grace but I'm talking about living beyond being saved for eternity. I'm talking about living gracefully - understanding grace in light of everything that happens in your life. For me, living gracefully has been a process with ups and downs, stops and starts, and like peeling away layers of an onion to get to the flavorful part in the middle. This week peeled away another layer of the living gracefully onion.

I spent a couple of days at the home of my ministry mentors, Pastor Ron and Amanda Fuller. Yes, some of the time was spent evangelizing and 4 people met Jesus while I was there but most of the time was spent in their home chapel with Pastor Fuller literally standing at his black board and me taking notes on scripture and process applications for fulfilling God's call to Pocket Full of Change Ministries. Part of Pastor Fuller's call to ministry is equipping others to do the work of equipping the body of Christ for ministry. I am just one of many that he and his wife pour scriptural knowledge, experience with running ministries, and their unique spiritual gifts into. I always leave better prepared to fulfill my call from God.

This time my lesson was about living more gracefully. Technically, I knew that every good and perfect gift came from God. After all, I'm a Bible student. Having said that, I've always had trouble accepting ministry gifts from others. For example, when people take me into their home, I worry about their inconvenience, particularly because part of the nature of what I do means I can't always know ahead when I'm going to arrive. I joke that God doesn't seem to understand scheduling when I open myself to traveling America and going where He leads. Last minute critical assignments and/or encounters delay me for hours or even days. My hosts have to understand that but even when I've clearly heard and obeyed God and the fruits of the surprise encounters are obvious to all, I was still bothered by the scheduling inconveniences to others.

The same has been true when people donate. I worried about their ability to afford it, worried that their love for me put pressure on them, and felt constant pressure to be worthy of their faith in me. You are probably beginning see the problem.
Add to that how blessed I am by the number of people who follow me and reach out via email, text, phone or social media. No matter how many hours I work, I go to bed nightly without something done that has a person waiting. It has been frustrating that even on the most amazing days where I had many salvations, I could still go to bed feeling badly about something I hadn't done.
Now let's talk about my family and friends. I know how blessed I am. No matter how much a part of their lives I was or how hard I tried, I often felt as if I hadn't done enough or had let someone down.

I realized this week just how much all of this tortured me and hampered my effectiveness. Everything I've just mentioned are gifts from God because of His grace. By feeling unworthy or trying to be more worthy, I've been living as if these gifts were either things I earned, things humans gifted to me, or gifts I had to work for. What I'd thought of as humility, gratefulness, and care for others was actually audacity that I was the one Christian to whom God's plan for graceful living didn't apply. Trying to work to be worthy of this many blessings was exhausting because of the impossibility of it. It worked me to death and stole my joy of the blessings. Thinking I could ever be worthy of so many blessings is not scripturally sound and my feelings of unworthiness and gyrations to try to be worthy actually chases away new gifts God wants to give me.

So what do I do? Well, I start by not being surprised or feeling more unworthy. I'm human and we've all fallen short of the glory of God. I offer grace to myself and accept God's sweet graceful response that He will help me do better in the future. I rebuke the lies from the enemy and trust what the scripture says about the source of gifts. I confess my fears of losing precious gifts, dishonesty in recognizing the source of all gifts, selfishness in trying to hold onto gifts, and the self seeking involved in trying to be worthy of gifts that came to me via grace. I ask for forgiveness, make any necessary amends, and relax and enjoy even more graceful living.

This was a big week for me. I feel like a huge burden was lifted. Gone was the guilt that Pastor Ron and Amanda Fuller stopped all of their other important work and focused just on me. It was replaced with the wonder of the blessing. Imagine how blessed I feel to recognize that those comfortable homes I'd stayed in and all of the people who partnered with me through donations to take Jesus to America were gifts straight from the Creator of the Universe. I went to a birthday party for a grandchild yesterday and was overwhelmed with joy that the God who hung the stars in the sky took the time to craft this family just for me. I turned on my computer for the first time in days this morning and saw the blessings of all the emails without the stabbing pain that people were waiting for a reply. Anything I do for them isn't from me, it is a blessing from God sent when God chooses to send it. Can you imagine the relief of that knowledge? Instead of a voice whispering that I haven't done enough, my voice has shouted to God, "Thank you, thank you, thank you."

Here is my commitment to you. If you choose to bless this ministry through your homes, time, spiritual gifts, prayers, or donations, I am going to praise God and stand in awe of His gift. We are partners in the joy of taking Jesus to America and participating together in this blessing from God. When you offer to be a conduit for God's gift, I won't insult you by asking if you are sure, worrying about your convenience, or trying to be worthy of your generosity. I'll just enjoy and put to use the blessing from God. When I do something for you, I ask you to do the same. Let's all just enjoy the blessings of God together. That is the gift of graceful living.

Are you worrying about what others think of you? Do you have trouble letting people help you? Does your best not seem good enough? Do you feel unworthy of good things coming your way? Perhaps, it is time to find relief in peeling away another layer on graceful living.


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