Severed Grace…

Severed_GraceI strive to be vulnerable enough with my audience so we might connect on our journeys together. Not only are we striving individually to live a life of faith, but in community, we gather together for the endurance to be victorious to live a life of faith. This is one of those times where the subject is not always easy to discuss or even recognize, but truthfully it can be life-saving. When we desire growth in understanding of where we are in our faith, we have to step back and identify the things which could be stalling us from reaching the next level or even maintaining where we are currently; ”severed grace” is one of those inhibitors. After all it is His grace that allows us to not only be happy with where we  are in life, but to also emit the light of Christ for the rest of the world to see Him through us.

During a recent time of renewal on silent retreat, I was given a very deep reflection by one of the monks during spiritual direction. While discussing my own humanness, hurts and every day perseverance to live a faith filled life by spreading a message of hope through Christ, he offered me a challenge: “How have you severed the line God uses to pour His grace into you?” His implication was that my view of others was wrongly being influenced by my own doing. My initial human thought immediately took me to a place where I draw a conclusion that everyone else has the problem and not me. What I came to realize during my three days at the Abbey of the Genesee was that indeed, my own pride and fears were the actual cause of the struggles I was facing. I was severing the grace line which spiritually fills, inspires and invigorates me into the man God has called me to be.

The phrase “severed grace” refers to the manner which we stop God’s grace from being poured into us, with or without request. Once we open up our hearts to Him and surrender a desire for communion through His love, grace is always streaming in our direction. In moments of mistrust and sin, it is by our own actions we sever the steady stream only to leave us feeling empty. Personally for me in ministry, it can be especially humbling because a once fruitful and Spirit inspired relationship becomes a well which is dry. For others it is a grace filled joy where our faith journey is at new heights and then we feel alone at the bottom of a cavern with a longing for Jesus. Lastly, there are people who never have allowed themselves to receive the grace, we see their pain as they struggle to find joy and peace in the world. Without fully praying on why this happens, we tend to blame other things, including a thought that Jesus has left our side. In the end, it’s in our discernment we must focus on, “How can we repair the pipeline of God’s grace?”

Quite often, we all do it to ourselves: God presents Himself, answers our prayers and offers signs of hope to us, and what do we do? Take it and run. Not only do we run, we run from what is truth. How can this happen? How can we take an intimate relationship where Christ offers us exactly what we want and then cut the tie which binds us together? To answer these questions we must first recognize God’s grace and then identify why it fails to reach us when we feel alone or insecure.

All of us are going to have different examples and different causes for when we have not allowed ourselves to be filled with grace. Certain instances involve outside influence from other individuals who cause us to be consumed by outside gossip or improper actions. In some cases, the grace was evident despite our actions, but it is guilt much later which continually erodes the means of our worthiness to accept this grace. I can assure you, God is not turning His back on you and He is not stopping the favor on which He sends grace to you; you must re-center your love with reconciliation to Him, personal forgiveness and change in habit.

Each moment we must remember God’s grace steam continues to flow, no matter what. Our role when it is severed is to put the pipe line back together and let it fill us once again. If we work to restore this grace, it’s a sign to God that you are running to Him when it is most important. It’s vital to identify the scenarios in which our relationship within faith is broken or we ultimately become like those who walk away from it when life gets hard. When we are lost, our focus must be turned inward and concentrate on the cause and not the symptom. For me, I had to look past my own attitude, envy, jealousy and my timing vs God’s timing, to once again feel refreshed in a shower of the only thing which makes me truly alive: God’s grace. Now, it is your turn to identify what has severed your “grace line” along with the best way to repair it starting today.