jesmigrace and the development of self

She came home with mom excited about a pottery class they did together. She loves the wheel. She loves getting her hands in the wet clay. She loves the creativity. She doesn’t always love the practice needed but she loves the results. And I love watching her love something.

She also has had late night talks with me about her friends and their interaction. She loves talking and giggling, hugging and laughing with her teammates, troop members, school and church friends. She loves connecting. She doesn’t always like the rejection and the conflict but she loves belonging. And I love watching her connect.

Sometimes she tells me of character and faith choices she makes. She ponders difficult things (see prior post) about life, God, death and love. She loves maturing. She seeks to be good. She doesn’t always love the sacrifice and the struggle in making good and loving choices but she is proud of herself when she does. And I love watching her become a young lady of character.

I observe my daughter continually forming who she is, what she can do and where she fits in. That is the joy of fatherhood (or motherhood I assume). God has given her, as he has given all children, the potential to grow in these three areas: her being, her belonging and her doing. It is His common grace (that gift which God has given to all people) that allows the wonder of developing the sense of self.

Sin causes fractures in that process of development, be it original sin, sin upon us or our sin choices. It has caused fractures in us. We are broken and what we were intended to become is interrupted. It is a biblical principle: Brokenness besets brokenness. That is the principle of this universe; spiritually, emotionally, physically, mentally, and relationally. Though we are capable of greatness (being made in the image of God), we are held back because of our brokenness. Because of the disobedience of our first two forebearers, all of us are left defective and unable to deal with sin and its consequences of meaninglessness, helplessness, and hopelessness upon our lives. This was placed upon us by Adam’s sin and reinforced by those who sinned against us. Broken parents impact their children out of their brokenness. Broken governments impact their communities out of their brokenness. Broken people impact broken people.

It is my fatherhood that feels so much pain when my daughter’s inner life (her being) is mixed with corruptible elements of shame or her outer life (her belonging) is corrupted with comparisons with others or her active life (her doing) is corrupted with measurements of judgment rather than joy. My father-hope is in the Father’s intimate grace for her, a grace He gives to those who seek Him and know Him.

Intimate grace restores that wonderful process of development. It heals those areas of being, belonging and doing in our self. The work of the cross and the presence of His Spirit in us does that good work of transforming the old broken stuff with new whole stuff. Intimate grace gives new means beyond the natural. And when I can observe those Divine moments of Grace displaying itself in my daughter’s life, my joy runs deeper.

What should motivate us in striving in life? In growing in our being, belonging and doing? The answer is to be amazed at grace. Sometimes I see that grace working in me. Sometimes I see grace working in my daughter, my wife, my friends, my church and around the world. And I am struck and moved deeply. Such wonder is the drive to “work out our salvation in fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12).

See the grace in what He gives to all. Be amazed at it as grace is given to those who intimately know Him. And out of that wonderment-pursue to live out grace in your life.