Please welcome Katie M. Reid to By His Grace this week. On the podcast, we discussed the struggle between Law vs. Grace. As a Martha type-A get it done kinda gal, Katie has had a life-long struggle with law vs. grace. After spending years of trying to earn her place with God, Katie learned to enjoy her place in God’s Kingdom, as a daughter, not a slave.
You can listen to that episode here Katie Reid: Law vs. Grace.
Quitting Spiritual Gymnastics
by Katie M Reid
I am not a quitter. By God’s grace, I have been called a finisher.
But, I’m done. This get-it-done gal is giving up spiritual gymnastics.
To explain further, tag along with the Ghost of Sixth Grade Past, and enter the bustling gym, packed with girls sporting a colorful array of leotards—a gymnastic meet is in full swing. A lean gymnast is in the middle of a compelling floor exercise, her choreography synced to the latest 80’s pop song. Now, divert your eyes away from the natural talent to the pear-shaped sixth grader, in the wedgie-inducing leotard (okay don’t think too much about that last part).
What I lack in talent, I make up for in determination. Inspired by Mary Lou Retton, my 12-year-old self approaches the balance beam, for a springboard spilt mount to start things off and….I fall off the beam, again and again. I try so hard to nail a flawless routine that I topple under the pressure.
It was my first and last gymnastic meet.
Dismounting the Beam
I asked Jesus into my heart when I was four, pumping my little legs on the swing, declaring my faith to the heavens with a simple melody. But as I grew, my childlike faith morphed into try-hard faith, where I worked to keep up appearances and avoid missteps and embarrassing situations, like ill-fitting leotards.
I knew I was saved by grace, yet I acted like it was all up to me to earn a perfect score. When I failed to live up to my holier-than-thou standard, I felt like God was distant and angry. When I felt good about my efforts, I stood tall—puffed up and pleased with myself for hitting the mark.
This tiring ping pong match of discouragement and pride did a number on me.
Then, a few months before my 40th birthday, God invited me to quit what I had worked so hard to grasp.
I could get off the balance beam and stop trying to measure up because Jesus had made a way when I felt short.
Call It Quits
Friend, you are invited to call it quits too. You are invited to exchange your sin for Jesus’ sufficiency, your legalism for His lavish grace. Stop wearing yourself out trying to prove yourself, and instead, run into His loving arms that were outstretched on the cross to prove His love for you, once and for all.
Spiritual contortions are not required to wow this judge. Jesus already earned the perfect score, so whether you fall or fly, you are a champion. The gift of grace isn’t like getting a participation ribbon for showing up, this is like getting an Olympic gold medal for existing.
You receive what you don’t deserve and it seems unbelievable. You receive pardon for guilt, favor for failures, forgiveness for sins. On one hand it’s ludicrous and the other it is overwhelmingly good news.
It’s like offering a lump of coal at a gift exchange and receiving a ten-carat diamond ring in return. Although the ring is valuable and breathtakingly beautiful, you are embarrassed to take it. It is so lavish and you feel so lacking. Yet there is nothing left to do but allow yourself to enjoy the gift. And sometimes doing so is the hardest “to do” of all.
If you have accepted the gift of salvation then relish in what is true:
•Jesus’ performance determines your worth.
•His good work leads you to right standing with God.
•God’s pleasure with you is directly correlated to His Son’s finished work on the cross.
God, help us not to add to or take away from that which is perfectly wrapped in human flesh, provided by You, with love.
Jesus: Grace Incarnate.
The beam of Jesus’ love supports us. His grace is strong enough to hold us. His open arms offer what we can’t ever obtain on our own.
Grace is not just a pleasantry. Once grasped, it is truly a lasting motivator to live set apart—pure and holy, for the Lord’s glory. It doesn’t mean we will never struggle or sin after receiving it, but we are changed by it, and we are freed from legalism, through it.
Consider yourself invited to quit spiritual gymnastics too. Get off the balance beam and sync up to God’s love, as you leap and twirl to some fantastic 80’s music.
Katie M. Reid is a speaker, singer/songwriter, and author of Made Like Martha. She holds a Masters Degree in Secondary Education and has been published on: Focus on the Family, LightWorkers, Proverbs 31, TODAY’s Parenting Team Blog, and For Every Mom. Katie is a fan of musicals and cut-to-the-chase conversations over tea. Katie lives with her husband and five children in the middle of Michigan. She and her husband host “Stop! Hammock Time” on Facebook, to encourages couples to get closer and grow deeper. Subscribe to katiemreid.com to receive resources to help you walk free and live out your God-given purpose.
This week I kicked off the online study for The Struggle is Real: But So is God. I am so excited to gather with women from across the country to dig into God’s Word online and declare truth over ourselves so that we can walk in the freedom of Jesus! There is still time to join us. We meet at 8 PM CST on Tuesday evenings in The Struggle is Real Online Bible Study Group for a Facebook Live.
So excited to gather women from across the country to dig into God’s Word and declare truth over ourselves so that we can walk in the freedom of Jesus! Grab your copy of The Struggle is Real: But So is God on Amazon today and come join the fun!