On my desk in my office, I have a sign that says “Chase Grace.” I appreciate having this daily reminder because my natural instinct is not to give myself (or others) grace. God gives His grace freely to me; however, I have had to learn to cultivate an attitude of grace in my own life to be in a place actually to receive it!
The Lord has gently taught me that it’s okay to make mistakes, have imperfections, and not have it all together. I can’t expect perfection out of myself, just like I can’t expect perfection from others. As I have been more intentional about pressing into God’s endless grace for me, I have started adopting some habits that have helped me to move from a place of perfectionism to a state of grace.
Here are 5 ways to cultivate grace in your life:
1. Be honest with God
In order for you to give yourself grace, you need to acknowledge that you have made a mistake, your plans have gone awry, or you reacted poorly. When you try to cover up or make excuses instead of just being honest, you take away God’s opportunity to meet you in that moment with grace.
We need grace, especially in the moments when we have failed or can’t control a situation. Even when it’s difficult, be honest with God in those moments and allow Him to speak to you. Trust me- He won’t be surprised at all; He already knows what is going on.
2. Learn to forgive yourself
At Mercy, we talk about forgiveness all the time because it is so important! Sometimes the hardest person to forgive is yourself. Looking at your actions, words, or best intentions and facing that you messed up is NOT fun. But you know what the beautiful thing is? You can forgive yourself because God has already forgiven you completely!
Don’t carry unnecessary guilt and shame in your life when forgiveness has already been extended to you. When you take the brave step to forgive yourself, you invite God’s grace to cover all your sins, mistakes, and shame.
3. Speak gently to yourself
If a toddler accidentally broke something, how would you react? Would you scream and shout and berate them? NO! You would wipe their tears and speak gently to them. So why do we berate and belittle ourselves when we forget a deadline, miss a call from a friend, or have to change plans? The way we talk to ourselves in moments where grace is needed matters.
Like that toddler may be admonished to be more careful or have consequences if they disobeyed, sometimes we have to hear critiques and criticism from other people. But you can still speak gently to yourself, resting securely that even in growth moments, God still has grace for you.
4. Surround yourself with gracious people
You don’t have control over everyone in your life, but you can make a point to surround yourself with gracious people for those relationships you can choose.
Do you have friends who are understanding when something comes up? Are there mentors in your life you can talk to about your mistakes? Is your significant other quick to forgive and give you grace?
It’s hard to cultivate a life of grace if you aren’t being given grace! Be intentional about finding people who are gracious with themselves and others. So often, God’s grace is shown through people in our lives!
5. Extend grace to others
If you want to receive grace, then be prepared to extend that same grace to others. In Matthew 18:21-35, Jesus tells a parable about how a servant begs for their master to forgive his debts, and the master shows him grace. Later, the servant finds someone who owes him money and refuses to give them grace- even though the servant’s much larger debt had just been forgiven!
Giving grace costs you NOTHING. I don’t want to be like the wicked servant in the parable who only wants to receive grace. If God, the ruler of the universe, freely extends grace to you, you can extend grace to others.
God wants to pour out His grace all over your life! Ephesians 1:6 says it this way, “So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.”
Today, if you are struggling to give yourself grace, try practicing these 5 ways to cultivate grace in your life.
Mercy Multiplied is a free-of-charge residential counseling program that helps young women ages 13-32 break free from life-controlling issues and situations. Apply today or learn more by visiting MercyMultiplied.com.