Ready. Set. Grace.


December 31, 2013 by Beth Hess

ImageIt’s a normal drive to work. Until the police car slips in behind me.

I do a quick review. Speed is Ok. Seatbelt on. Cell phone out of reach. Registration sticker up-to-date. Blinker on for changing lanes.

Panic turns to pride. Well, just look at me, the model driver. That officer must be so very impressed with me. Not a gosh-darn thing to concern him here. I bet I just made his day to be so near a wonderful law-abiding citizen. Yes, I did just let that merging car in EXACTLY as I learned in driver’s education. What a banner day for both of us to behold!

Put me anywhere near a police officer, and it won’t take me long to make two mental lists: Things I’m Doing Right and Things I’m NOT Doing Wrong. (Sometimes a 3rd: Things Just a Little Bit Wrong That I Stopped Doing as Soon as I Saw You and Promise not to Do Again When You’re Gone.)

For a long, long time, I reacted the very same way when I felt God slip in behind me.

Panic or Pride.

I loved to feel His presence in church. How glad He must be I came to visit Him.
I welcomed His warmth when I picked Christian radio over Country. Score one for sinless songs.
I knew He was near when I wrote out my offering check. And didn’t laugh at dirty jokes. And skipped questionable parties.

And because I’d had enough Sunday School to know God is always with me, even when I forget He might be there, I was usually pretty careful not to get myself into a situation that might prove embarrassing if I spotted Him eyeing me from the corner. (Oops, officer, I didn’t see you there, but I’m always keeping my nose clean, just in case.)

If God is spying on me, goodness knows I will be, well, GOOD.

Then one day a series of lessons that came over many, many days finally clicked.

God never asked me to be good. Because His standard isn’t good — it’s sinless. And despite all my perfectionistic efforts, I couldn’t do it. But he already knew that. So He made another way.


So I stopped sucking in my spiritual gut and checking my sins when God slipped in behind me. And I learned to welcome Him simply being there. To hang out. To hold “church.” To let Him lead the conversation.

Panic or pride gave way to His presence.

Grace has captured my heart, turned everything on its head, set me free, and let me breath again.

In 2014, God has invited me to welcome “Grace” as my One Little Word.
To come and see. To show and tell. To give and take.

Ready. Set. Grace.

This is the 4th Year I’ve adopted One Word for the year. You can link to others below:
2013: Empty & Full
2012: Float
2011: Courage

10 thoughts on “Ready. Set. Grace.

  1. Your word came up as dwell on oneword365. I also love the word grace. beautiful post.


  2. […] Both are the gifts of grace. […]


  3. […] is Word of the Week?… GRACE is my word for the year. But the WORD is my fuel for a […]


  4. […] matter how I feel, there is no wasted in the Redeemer’s vocabulary. Wasted is the opposite of Grace. Because Grace can reach into every situation. Because Grace HAS REACHED into every situation and […]


  5. […] GRACE is my word for the year. But the WORD is my fuel for a life. […]


  6. Simply Beth says:

    “Grace has captured my heart, turned everything on its head, set me free, and let me breath again.” Amen! Visiting from the beautiful new place… Outside The City Gate. And well I just love your blog name. :))) Grateful to find you today. I look forward to exploring here.
    Many blessings,


  7. awastell says:

    I look forward to traveling the Grace journey alongside you in 2014. It’s my OneWord, too!


  8. rickd3352013 says:

    Hehehe…Why it is we keep insisting on seeing God as part cop, part Jillian Michaels I know goes back to childhood teachings of bad theology that were never corrected by later teachers. Years of wandering away, followed by years of weed-pulling, and I think I get a better understanding about how amazing grace really is.

    Thanks for this!


  9. Grace. Awww…..yes. And my favorite part was: “So I stopped sucking in my spiritual gut…To let Him lead the conversation.”


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