Sometimes grace looks amazing on us in the least glamorous places—like when we’re holding back our child’s hair in the dead of night, keeping it from falling into their sickness. But grace has never been about glam. In fact, grace is all about the grime. Grace finds our weakest, most humbling spots and steps in to strengthen us, just like when we help our child by holding back her hair.
As the apostle Paul planted churches and wrote letters, we read how he shared with others how grace looked in his own life. He asked God not once or twice, but three times to take away a particular weakness. He asked God to fix something that hindered his life. Haven’t we all been there—begging God to remove a rough spot, to change something about our character, to fix a situation?
But God didn’t fix Paul’s weakness.
He didn’t leave him unequipped, either. God gave him two gifts to navigate the issue: grace and power. God replied to Paul, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Think about that. God’s grace is enough. It’s all we need. And God’s power works best in our weakness. It doesn’t say God’s power works best in our strength.
With grace, it looks amazing on us in the most unexpected ways. Here are 5 unexpected ways grace looks amazing on you.
1. Being Vulnerable
Dr. Brené Brown’s work as a shame researcher tells us that vulnerability is courage. We see courage so keenly displayed in the Bible when the woman who had been bleeding for twelve years decided to be vulnerable. She had spent all her money on other treatments that didn’t bring healing. So she made one last ditch effort. Reaching out with just a thread of faith, she found the hem of Jesus’ robe, and in that moment her outstretched arm became the conduit for grace.
She was healed because of her faith and received grace because she was brave. How often do we think playing it safe will look amazing on us? How often do we keep our problems to ourselves—refusing to reach out to others—because we are afraid to share what we really need? How often do we think hiding is the key and refuse to let others into our lives?
When we step out in vulnerability toward God and toward safe people, we step into God’s grace. Being vulnerable is scary, but it’s also the path to healing grace.
2. Sharing Your Toilet Paper Supply
As we have been living through a global pandemic, we are watching a scarcity mind-set happen with basic supplies. A friend had her groceries in the car when she stopped into the hardware store. As she overheard an older couple, say they could not find toilet paper anywhere in town, she promptly went to her car, grabbed a few rolls, and shared them with the couple. A simple act of generosity can be the most amazing grace we reflect from such a generous God.
3. Falling Flat on Your Face
Recently after failing to stay calm and collected toward my children, I felt the weight of my sin. I had screwed up again and had lost my cool with them. I had fallen flat on my face. But one of the sweetest promises from God’s Word is that we have throne room privileges twenty-four hours a day.
Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need,” (KJV). The throne God sits upon is literally called the “throne of grace.” When we fail, sin, fall flat on our face—the next best place to fall flat on our face is before our good and gracious Father. His throne is overflowing with grace that will never run dry. We don’t have to wait to approach him or clean ourselves up; He is a loving Father with grace for every fall.
4. Putting on Someone Else’s Shoes
Don’t we feel the gift of grace when someone else sees the world the way we do, with empathy? Jesus was the King of putting Himself in our place; He was the true King of Empathy. He left heaven behind and took on skin and moved into the neighborhood. He didn’t just watch and judge; he experienced and loved. He had compassion on the crowds and responded to them with grace, just as we see in Mark 6:34: “When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things” (KJV).
Jesus wasn’t frustrated or fed up with these people. Instead, he got down on their level and poured out His grace. Just like a gracious father kneels down to understand why his daughter is crying, so God the Father does with us. And when we do the same, we reflect God’s grace. When we seek to understand why a driver has cut us off (maybe they need to get to the hospital), we offer grace. When we bend down to see the world the way our toddler sees it––how she really wants to try getting her own shoes on––we offer grace. When we understand why a single mom may have a shorter fuse than many of us––because her support is thinner than ours––we offer grace.
5. Sitting in the Dark
Many people aren’t comfortable sitting in the dark with one another. We often want to switch on the lights and get back to the busyness of life. But grace looks amazing on us when someone lets us into their darkness, their grief, their fears. And when we sit with them in it, check judgement at the door, lament with them, don’t fix the situation or give canned Christian answers, grace looks amazing on us.
I vividly remember calling up a friend, spilling my tears and pain over the phone, and asking her what I should do in the situation. Through her own tears on my behalf, she replied, “For now, we just hold space for pain. This hurts. And we let it hurt.” I was so overcome by her grace for my darkness and her ability to sit with me in it. Her response allowed me the freedom to walk through my pain, instead of shoving it down. Because she was willing to sit in the dark with me, I could heal. It was a gift that only grace could give.