January 8, 2014
Two days ago was the first Monday of the new year, and very little went according to plan. (That’s a euphemistic way of saying I had a really hard time focusing on my studies and allowed myself to get distracted by many things.) One of the gifts I counted in my gratitude journal was “Extra grace on an extra-grace-required Monday.” I was surprised to see those words come from my pen as I’ve never liked that phrase.
“Extra grace required” (EGR) is code in some circles for a person who is difficult to deal with, and/or who doesn’t have a lot of life skills, and/or who tends to not understand boundaries; in other words, someone who is needy in a moment when you or I either shouldn’t, can’t, or don’t want to meet that need. We’ve all been there, on both sides of that coin.
But which side of the coin is in need of the “extra” grace? Seem to me if my feathers are ruffled by someone’s lack of courtesy (or whatever), it is I who need an extra measure of grace to extend love and good will to that person, even while perhaps delivering a hard word. It’s pretty arrogant for anyone to label someone else as EGR, as if on any given moment of any given day we’re not in need of all the grace God has to offer.
Which leads me to a deeper pondering — is there really such a thing as “extra grace?” I mean, doesn’t He say, “My grace is sufficient….”? Sufficient means “enough” which is “as good as a feast” according to Mary Poppins. So if His grace is truly enough then why would I need extra? Of course, God is in the lavishing business, so perhaps it’s one more way He showers us with abundance?
I know I can be a picker of nits sometimes, so maybe none of the above really matters. Except it does to me…because if this is my year of pressing into “always we begin again” then I need to know that I know that I know that there truly is enough grace for me in any given moment on any given day, especially in the moments of beginning AGAIN for the tenth, hundredth, thousandth time. I need to know that God’s not hurriedly stashing away a reserve supply for a “hard case” like me. Nope. There is always enough. ALWAYS. Perhaps in God’s dictionary “sufficient” is defined as “more than enough.”
I’d like to encourage us to stop using EGR as a phrase to describe anyone or anything, including Mondays. How about Sufficient Grace Received instead?