Have you heard the catchy slogan—be the “best version of yourself”?
Author and motivational speaker Mathew Kelly was the one who came up with this motto and message. His upbeat focus has even penetrated the Christian mainstream—being encouraged in church services and between believers in the day-to-day.
I also heard this mantra mentioned in the trailer for the award-winning movie, Lady Bird, with the mother saying to her daughter: “I want you to be the very best version of yourself that you can be.” The daughter replied, “What if this is the best version?” 😦
It probably has been embraced by so many because it has the potential to be positive, encouraging and, even resolution-like in its ability to challenge us to do and be better in life and relationships.
I’m all about doing better, for sure. #recoveringmessy 😉
But to me, this idea has a decidedly unhealthy side with a misguided focus.
Before I explain my reason for saying that, allow me to share my “one word” for this next year, and a little bit about why I chose it. Then I will tie it back to this commonly quoted phrase and my reason for taking issue with it.
Ironically, my one word for 2018 is “grace.” So I’m going to ask you to extend grace to me as I take a not-so-gracious look at this overly-used phrase.
I just think that sometimes the most gracious thing you and I can do is to point out the lie or unhealthy thinking behind a belief—in particular a popular and influential one.
As far as my one word—grace—is concerned, allow me to explain a bit about what grace is, what it isn’t, as well as why I’m choosing grace—or perhaps why grace has chosen me! 😉
1. Grace is . . .
Often defined as getting something we do not deserve, like God’s favor and salvation through Christ.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” —Ephesians 2:8-9
2. But grace is not mercy . . .
Since mercy is not getting what we deserve—our just punishment for sin. But it is similar to mercy since it is often what God uses to fuel our forgiveness and mercy of others.
3. Grace can also be . . .
God-given strength, resolve, and the peace we need to persevere through difficulties in life.
God gave this type of grace to Paul when he requested that some unknown “thorn” be taken from his life . . .
“But he [God] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” ~2 Cor. 12:9
[bctt tweet=”I need both types of grace in HUGE amounts in order to bridge the gap in my heart and life! #1word #2expressions” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
4. My reason for choosing “grace” . . .
Is because the Lord desires for you and I to strike a balance between both truth and grace. Both are monumentally important, but can only be extended in perfect balance through and by God working in us.
By default, I lean toward the truth side of this continuum. I must continually work at being gracious since truth is so important to me. When I don’t strike this tension, I can come across as uncaring, at the very least, and as arrogant and hateful, at my worst. Ouch!
I know without a doubt that this is a weakness for me. Striking a balance between truth and grace is a skill that I need to stretch and grow in more deeply and widely with God’s help.
Circling back to my concern with that catchy phrase—and, quite frankly, my “hook” for getting you to read this post!—I unequivocally believe that I can NEVER grow deeper and wider in God’s grace without Him giving me His grace and power to be gracious.
Bottom Line: I want to be the best
version reflection of Christ . . . and not of myself.
[bctt tweet=”I want my old way of living—my default wiring and sin nature—to die and be buried. #2018resolutionandbeyond” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
I hope you’ll join me next week when I will be continuing to share one difficulty that comes with demonstrating grace in marriage/life, and what you and I can do to deal with this challenge.
What is one word you want to focus on and live out in 2018 and beyond?
Where do you tend to fall on the ‘truth and grace’ continuum?
Here are some lovely linkups I join – Inspire Me Monday, Moments of Hope, Literary Musing Mondays, Dream Together Linkup, Jennifer Dukes Lee, Glimpses Linkup, Tune in Tuesday, Break Through Homeschooling Linkup, Coffee for Your Heart, Sitting Among Friends, Faith and Friends, Fresh Market Friday, and DanceWithJesusFriday