Author: Juliann Terrell
“Out of the fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.”
Let’s be real. There are times when we run away from God. Sometimes consciously, but most of the time it happens subtly. We don’t even see it happening- until we’ve gone so far down a rabbit hole that it is seemingly impossible to get back. I would also venture to say that it’s happened to me recently. It’s an unfortunate thing that happens to a lot of us as Christians, but it still serves its purpose in our story.
For most people looking from the outside in, it’s a magnificent and enviable thing to have eight WHOLE weeks of freedom during the summer. I can get all the things done that didn’t get done during the school year done. I can go to the gym at whatever time I want- not at 5 AM! I can spend endless amounts of time with my niece, nephew, and family. I can travel to visit friends during the week. I can spend more time with God. It seems glorious in theory, but in reality it’s this kind of freedom is on some level something I dread.
I’ve struggled with anxiety for most of my adult life- that anxiety is partly kept in check by routine. Summer off = no routine. Too many options means being overwhelmed and then not doing anything at all. It’s easy to stay up late binging on my new favorite Netflix show, then get up later the next morning, have my coffee, and then go headlong into my day without even talking to God. I hear him nudging but I put it off, thinking I have plenty of time to get that done during the day. Unfortunately, just like during the school year, the days are the same amount of time- the day ends and the cycle begins again. Then that becomes a new routine. I know I need to get back in to the regular routine of spending time with him, but this new habit seems hard to break. Guilt starts to creep in, but I ignore it- just go on about my days in denial that anything is off kilter. It’s as if I’ve lost my passion and drive to seek Him, but really that is what I want back.
But I find the more I pull away, the more God pursues. John 1:16 says that, “out of the fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.” In this time of running, there is grace. It feels as though when you come back, the more grace He gives. It’s not that I am not all the way back to my regular routine, but his gentle nudges continue to remind me to draw closer, return. Grace allows me to be in His Word even when I don’t feel that passion or Word, to seek Him when it’s the last thing I want to do, and to use the gifts that he’s enabled me with- even when I feel the most worthless about them. When my glass seems empty- he shows me the fullness of Him. In this fullness of Him is grace, which He safely brings me back to my story- the story that only He can author- the story that allows for time away and for the grace to return.