The Two-Step Dance Called “Choosing Grace”

100_8650-2Too much work and not enough play–that was my mother’s diagnosis, one day, when I felt tired, crabby, and depressed. As a adolescent and teenager, I tended to take life very seriously. Whether it was doing school work, helping my dad in the grocery store, or helping my mom in the house, I worked hard at everything. I still struggle to understand the rhythm of work and play–responsibility and rest. 

In an amazing way, God designed his relationship with us to include both of these aspects of life. I talk more about this topic in my book , Emotional Freedom: The Choices We Must Make.  It includes a chapter titled “A Dynamic Dance with the Gardener.”

This dance, describing the relationship between our choices and God’s 100_8645grace, I call “Choosing Grace” and explain it in the following way:

The dance of “Choosing Grace” has two basic steps—grace and responsibility. Grace is God’s step of love toward me. Responsibility is my step of love toward God. Jesus said, “If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love” (John 15:10 MSG).[i]

In Emotional Freedom, I focused on the “dance step” of our responsibility—the choices we must make to receive God’s grace. The emphasis of my present book is more on the “dance step” of God’s reliability—what he does—how he works within us so that we can achieve emotional and spiritual maturity. Both are important, and we need a balance.

If our focus is too much on what we are doing or not doing, we can get into living under laws, instead of living in relationship with Jesus. What is the question we usually ask someone in our culture when we meet them?” How are you?”  Or, “what are you doing?”  

One day, when realizing that I might be placing an overemphasis my responsibility, I wrote the following lines:

Doing . . . doing. . .  doing . . .
I am so busy doing.
What is my doing, doing?

Do I think about my doing
Or am I simply doing?
Is my doing a re-doing?

Could my doing be undoing?
If I stopped my doing
What would I be doing?

Could I let my doing rest?
Which sounds best—
Doing more or doing less?

How do I feel about my doing?
Am I doing in my heart
What I’m doing in my head?

Whose doing am I doing?
Is my doing helping
Or getting in the way?

If I stopped my doing, would
God have anything to say?
Do I know what He is doing?

Doing . . . doing . . . doing . . .
I am so busy doing.
What is my doing, doing?

If our focus is more on our relationship with God, and the grace that he is giving to us, we are relaxed, and instead of doing, doing, doing all time, we are resting, resting,  resting— and listening to his voice. When we hear from him that it’s time to do something, we do it, and when we have done it, we know it’s enough.

Although it’s not written in the english I speak, today, I love the way Jean Pigott, writer of the hymn, “Jesus, I am Resting, Resting” expresses the joy of resting in—trusting in the reliability of God’s grace found in Jesus.

Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For by Thy transforming power,
Thou hast made me whole.


Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.

Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless,
Satisfies my heart;
Satisfies its deepest longings,
Meets, supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings:
Thine is love indeed![ii]

I’m learning more about finding my balance in this dance of grace and responsibility. It’s exciting! In my heart, roots of faith, love, and hope are growing deeper. Relevant experiences related to this topic will be included in my present book.

 Thoughts for your reflection:

  • Which do you tend to focus on more—God’s grace or your responsibility?
  • Which do you need to do more of—work or rest?
  • What change can you make so that you will be able to have time for what you most need—(rest or work)?

[i] (Emotional Freedom pp. 48-49)


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