Humility: The Prerequisite to Grace

God is a master storyteller. He knows exactly how to craft our days and shape our world so that we’re reminded of him and his beautiful truths. I’ll often find that he’s been weaving a theme through my life over a period of days – like a gifted writer, subtly infusing the pages of a book with a powerful and lasting message.

In my devotionals, Sunday sermons, words from friends, advice from my mom, my personal prayer life, and so on, God faithfully repeats the message I need to hear or the lesson I need to learn (or re-learn). And because He does it with such beautiful artistry, I can’t help but stand in awe of the truth He’s unfolding in front of my eyes…even when those truths are hard-hitting,

In the past few weeks, he’s been painting a portrait of humility and grace, showing me how the two work in perfect harmony like light and shadow in masterful oil painting. Now, one of those on its own would have been enough to chew on for a while – I mean, humility? Come on, that’s a tough, and often painful, lesson to learn. But God gave me the one-two punch of a lesson in humility and grace. And I’m so glad he did, because what I’ve found is that the two cannot be separated. Continue reading

Not Paper-Thin or Pain-Free: Embracing Pain in a Healthy Way

Peach Flower

I am thin-skinned. An easily-bruising peach with a low tolerance for pain. As my family would say, I am a “delicate flower” – small things can upset the fragile ecosystem that is me. I wish I could say my paper-thin nature is limited to my literal dermatology, but it goes deeper than that – down into my heart and soul. An unkind word, a bad piece of news, or an unmet expectation has the potential to shake me more than I’d like to admit.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve developed a bit of a thicker skin – figuratively speaking, of course. I no longer cry when I get a wrinkle in my socks; although, if I’m being honest, that still bugs me. Like most people, my M.O. is to avoid pain and seek out comfort whenever possible. As a highly sensitive person, I experience my circumstances acutely. My surroundings, my feelings, and other people’s feelings affect me deeply. This is why I don’t watch the news, why I’m more prone to anxiety, and why you’ll never catch me watching a violent movie. Continue reading