A New Lifestyle of Grace

A New Lifestyle of Grace

by Cathee Poulsen

A few years back I created a folder in my documents titled A New Lifestyle of Grace. I dumped all kind of things in there. Mostly pertaining to how to live life without stress, prayer instructions, devotional thoughts and such.

But on the cusp of 2018, after listening to Michael Hyatt’s usual goal-setting talks for the new year, I’ve made a decision to do things differently. Yesterday when I mentioned setting goals to Texas, we got into a discussion in which she said, “I’ve lived my life for too many years under pressure. I don’t want to set goals. I want to just do what the Holy Spirit directs me to do each day.”

Not Drivenness or Drifting but Design

Not a new thought, that’s for sure. But this time is struck a nerve deep within. I’ve been driven for so long. But I don’t want to live a driven life. I want to life a life by design. I agree with Michael that neither drifting nor drivenness are helpful. But design is what I’m after. I am tired of writing endless ToDo Lists and then procrastinating on completing what’s most important on the list. At the end of the day when I review, I’ve always completed all the nagging little tasks but the important and not urgent ones are left behind in a cloud of dust.

It is my conviction that we are to move in the River of God – not drifting, but not paddling upstream with a fury that wears us out. We move with Him. He carries us like a river carries whatever is floating on it.. It’s effortless and peaceful. Making a list is okay as long as it doesn’t drive me. It’s more a list of Reminders than ToDos. He gives strength, motivation, and joy in the journey. It’s how I picture Jesus as he walked the streets of Nazareth or Jerusalem. Never in a hurry, stopping to speak with those who asked for something, eating in the homes of people he was building relationship with, heading up to the mountains to pray through the night. We never see him anxious, hurried, overly busy, or stressed.

That’s why I believe he said to us, “Come here to Me, all you people who are worn out and working at life so hard. Come and follow what I’m doing and I’ll make sure you find real rest. Deep rest. I’ll never lay a heavy burden on your back or put an impossible yoke on your shoulders. Watch and learn from me. This is what living in rest looks like. Easy and light” (Matthew 11:28-30). The Message translation of this passage says “Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” And that’s what I’m after.

This isn’t to say I won’t have anxious moments in a day. But I won’t live an anxious life. I’ll live in this moment, with grace for today. Tomorrow’s a different story, another supply. There’s only enough manna for today so don’t try to borrow from tomorrow’s stockpile. It doesn’t work that way.

Sacred Space

These last few days of 2017 represent the “time between times” for me. It’s liminal space – a threshold of sorts. A thin place. For years now it’s a time where I withdraw from the commotion and parties of the Christmas season and spend some time in quiet reflection. I want to hear from the One who directs my life. To give him time to show me the path of life for this new year.

While most of the world is looking back on 2017, maybe God is inviting us to not only reflect on these past 12 months, but to make some changes that will change everything. As you stand between the already and the not yet, what do you see? Write some things down and ask if there are things he’s calling you to in the coming year.

They can be things as simple as “Drink more water,” “Wear clothes that make you happy,” “Build new relationships that nurture.”

Everything in Scripture points to our living in the present moment as people who have entered his rest. When we live with peace standing guard over our hearts, we display an unforced rhythm of grace to those who watch us. That’s the life I want to live in 2018. How about you?

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Comments

  1. G. Polly Jordan :

    I too am reflecting and working on my year end reflections and anticipations. You have given me such food for thought. You write with grace and beauty and it is relaxing and rejuvenating. You have inspired me today and I thank you.

  2. I want that also. The last few years I have slowed down, not only mentally but for physical reasons I had no control over. I have learned to look past the things I wrote down to do or even the obvious things such as dusting furniture. In doing so, I found myself being more relaxed and able to absorb other pleasures such as reading, having a conversation with a neighbor or just waiting to finish something till tomorrow to enjoy a few more minutes of being with my husband.
    I feel like I gained more than just marking things off as done. I allowed my soul to find peace and rest and let my heart set the pace of my day. In those moments the Holy Spirit whispers to me “well done”. Love is my purpose and doing all things in love not only in 2018 but for all my days.

    • I love what you’ve written here Erma. It’s a beautiful thing to learn his rest and it’s so good to have friends going in the same direction so that we can encourage one another. Thanks so much for sharing here.

    • Lovely, Erma. Hey, Cat, this is such a comforting and inspiring piece. I have been hearing the Lord directing me to seek beauty, peace and….playfulness. How fun is that!

  3. linda baviello :

    Cathee, you have been an inspiration to me from a very long time ago.
    You probably didn’t even know but I always felt your love in a gentle and
    quiet way with words not even spoken. They arn’t always necessary are they?
    Having said that, it seems I have been seeking love out there somewhere.. and
    especially in the form of a male figure only to end up with another broken heart
    and rebuilding my self back to where I know where God wants me to be…In
    His will..I shall be trying my best in 2018 to BE STILL AND LISTEN..with love! LindaB

  4. You never cease to amaze me. I love to read your words from your heart. You always inspire me to try and walk closer to God. I miss you everyday.

  5. Thank you for sharing calm words and gentle reminders of what is really important. The only reason for me to write a to do list is so I don’t forget things. There are no deadlines or pressure to finish the list today. I’ve always been a prodded and that keeps me calm and steady. I want to be in the flow of the river but not feel like I’m running the rapids. Living in God’s timing is wonderful and exciting. I’m not on the worlds time clock! Yes, you continue to inspire me to keep calm and carry on. Love you Cathee.

  6. Good for you!!!

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