Unrefined Grace Club

My friend, Ramona and I are the President and CEO of the Unrefined Grace Club. It’s not that we are not graceful people. We have grace. It’s just in its most raw and unrefined state. My unrefined grace often asserts itself as a lack of balance. I could trip over air. Come to think of it, I probably have at one point or another. Don’t believe me? Let me illustrate.

Do you remember Pogo Balls? These demon toys came straight from the pit and, thankfully, have returned there since the 80s. Imagine two sturdy playground balls joined together at the top making a strange rubber eight. Around the center of this monstrosity is a plastic platform, not unlike the rings of Saturn. The whole idea was that you stood on the platform and bounced up and down. It was a portable trampoline of death and destruction, and my cousin had one.

Enamored with the “it” toy of the time, I jumped at the chance to try it out. (See what I did there?) So, on my grandma’s front porch, I climbed on and started jumping. Here’s a hint for the day you run across one of these toys in a vintage toy shop. They are not meant to be used with bare feet. Just as I was getting the hang of it, my foot slipped, and I couldn’t regain my balance. I fell straight into the storm door. My bent right arm went through the glass, elbow first. From his place at Grandma’s table, my brother thought it looked like a scene from an action movie. My cousin’s eyes were wide as she pointed to my upper arm. I saw blood flowing, and I freaked out. An emergency room trip and several stitches later, I determined I wouldn’t be using the Pogo Ball again. I did not have the necessary sense of balance.

I’ve been learning a lot about balance since I embarked on this writing adventure. I’ve experienced what I once only had head knowledge of: writing is about more than just writing.  There is editing on the book I’ve written to get it ready for publication. But I also need to write on my next book. I need to keep reading for my blog and also to grow as a writer. Time has to be set aside for social media from Facebook to Twitter. Learning to market my book requires time as well. Not to mention, each of these tasks has sub-tasks attached to it. Add to that my full-time job as a receptionist, my family that needs to eat, and my work with local ministries, and I have more demands on my time than I have actual time. It is easy to become overwhelmed in the face of this lengthy to-do list. To accomplish it in the best way possible, I need one thing, balance. If I fail to exercise balance in my writing life, I’ll spend too much time on one part without giving the other areas the attention they deserve. I can write the best novel out there, but if I never do anything to market it, no one will ever read it. I can read a hundred books, but if I don’t use what I read, I’ll have nothing to blog and I won’t grow as a writer. It’s all about balance.

There is something to be said for balance in our spiritual lives as well. Becoming a Christian starts with faith. It takes believing that Jesus is God made man, sent to earth to die in our place for our sins. God’s forgiveness and salvation is a gift we cannot earn through anything we do (Romans 6:23, Ephesians 2:8-9). Scripture is clear that our adoption into God’s family is all about Him and not us. But this doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for works. If our faith is true, it changes us. Real faith will produce action.

Think about it. I can study electricity and know how it works. I can have it installed in my home. I can make sure my light fixture has the perfect bulb with the perfect wattage. I can say I believe in the science behind electricity, but if I don’t flip the switch, I will remain in the dark. If I wanted to be in the light, and I had real faith that electricity was the answer, I would turn on the light. Real faith in something, true belief, brings action.

That is the balance we need in our spiritual lives. We understand that salvation comes through faith. But we also understand that true faith will produce change in our lives (James 2:14-26). That’s not to say we’ll be perfect. We’ll fail time and again and have to fall back on the grace that brings forgiveness. But if we believe God is who He says He is and He has done all He has said He would do, it won’t leave us unchanged. Our faith will lead us into living our lives according to what we believe. Faith and action work in harmony with each other, providing perfect balance in our spiritual lives.

By the Book: Is there balance in the activities of your life? How about your spiritual life? When you look at the scales, are faith and action balanced? If not, consider why. Is the works side of your scale too heavy as you try to earn your salvation through your own efforts? Or is the belief side heavy with head knowledge of God and His gift without really accepting it for yourself and letting it change who you are? What is needed to restore balance in areas that are lacking?

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