Sunday, March 30, 2014

A delicate balance


A sweet friend gave me this beautiful bulb garden just as "Balance" week began at Photo 52.  I had started looking for balance as I was out and about--for something that showed a scale that could tip this way or that, or for a balance beam of sorts.


Photo 52, Week 11:  Balance


Then, as the flowers began to open, I found myself with camera in hand, balancing on my elbows as a tripod, and holding very still to capture the fine lines in focus.  That was when I realized "Balance" had found me.


It isn't the first time balance has found me.  It's something I crave and constantly seek, but most of the time it meets me in the form of grace, often unexpectedly.


Lee and I have both said since the time we started dating that we are, to some extent,  "recovering legalists".  There had to be transformations of grace in each of us in order for us to accept our relationship for the gift that it was. At a turning point in our relationship Lee revisited a conversation we had had months earlier.

Lee:  Remember when you told me you thought I was about to receive grace?
Me:  No.  I told you I thought you were about to have an ENCOUNTER with grace.  Whether you receive it or not is entirely up to you.


And that is when a lightbulb went on for both of us.  Grace is an invitation that has to be accepted if it's to do us any good.


So what on earth does that have to do with balance?


I have noticed a pattern in my thinking that shows up frequently in my writing.  I am constantly reacting to extremes.  There is something of legalism that still appeals to me.  Living by the rules, doing the right thing, crossing Ts, dotting Is, checking off boxes. Success within my grasp.


I'm not quite sure what to call the other extreme--maybe the path of least resistance--but it appeals to me too.  Whatever works, it's all good, acceptance at any cost.  Because I am lazy, and also a peacemaker.  I want people to like me.


Some might think grace is the flip side to legalism, but in my life, grace is the high ground in the middle.


Living in grace is more complicated than living under the law.  I have written about that in the realm of parenting.  Sometimes it's maddening.  You want things to be black and white, but there is all this gray.  Each situation presents you with choices, and instead of absentmindedly applying a rule, you also have to think through the implications for this moment.


Living in grace is also more complicated than the path of least resistance.  Even though we are no longer bound the the law, we are bound by love--love for Jesus, and love for people whom he treasures.  His love is unconditional, but it is also transformational--he loves us the way we are, but loves us too much to leave us that way.  Our love for people, for the world we live in, should also be both unconditional and transformational.


Photo 52, Week 12:  Details

Every time I pull up a seat at the keyboard, it seems I am pulling myself back up to that place in the middle, praying I don't give way to legalism or laziness.  Where I am prone to legalism, praying my life would reflect freedom.  Where I am prone to laziness, praying my life would reflect willingness to follow the Savior who freely poured out his life.


Most of all?  May I not over think it.  May I simply live the kind of love that makes everything else fall to the wayside.  The kind of love that makes things bloom even when all evidence suggests it is still winter.



Melissa Mae said...

The pictures are beautiful and the words more so. Thank you.

Tracy P. said...

Aw thanks, Melissa! This one's been a long time coming. :-)

HJ said...

I ditto Melissa! :-)

Dea said...

Thank you for the comment you left on my last post. It was something I so desperately needed to hear. I am going to read those posts now. So glad we have reconnected over blogging, your words are very encouraging and helpful and it is so nice to have support on my road to the Lord!

Skeller said...

beautiful, thoughtful words, beautiful, thoughtful pictures. (the first two yellow ones are my FAVS!) May your outdoor garden bloom soon!

Deanna said...

Ahh such sweet photos of springtime and such beautiful words of grace.