As many of you know, my first trade book ‘Mosaic of Grace: God’s Beautiful Reshaping of Our Broken Lives’, releases tomorrow, Monday Feb 13. You can pre-order your copy on Amazon now. We’re holding a Facebook launch party Monday Feb 13 at 2pm CST, 3pm EST, 12pm PST, 8pm UK time – with lots of competitions, fun and prizes. You can go add yourself to the guest list here. In the meantime, here’s a little excerpt from the first chapter of the book, to give you a little flavour of what to look forward to. In this section, I begin to uncover the truth of what grace really is. Enjoy!
Our culture tells us that it’s when we have it all together, when life is good, when all our ducks are in a row, then we are blessed. It sells us an ideal story of how we’re meant to live without any mess, any brokenness.
The story that western culture sells us goes something like this: You work hard at your job. You get a promotion and a pay rise. You behave correctly. Then you find a partner and settle down. Finally, you get the blessings from God. It’s a reward-based culture. Our actions define our reward, and once we’ve dealt with our issues, we can be blessed. Blessing comes after dealing with the mess, not in the midst of it.
We all know this isn’t true.
We all know life is messy. And we all know, underneath the surface, we’re all broken.
I’ve believed the lie that says I need to have my life together before I can get blessed. The lie that says, if I am to achieve success or receive the blessings I desire the most, I need to have it all together.
The lie has screwed me up. It has often made me feel worthless. Useless. Beyond redemption.
Many of us believe the lie that we’re not good enough. We think we can’t be beautiful if we’re broken.
What we fail to see is that God uses our brokenness to make us even more beautiful. It’s the place of our brokenness where God comes in to restore and renew.
And he does this restoration, this renewal, though grace.
When I discovered the truth of grace, it was life changing. It was humbling and deeply moving. It opened me to a peace I never thought possible.
I still believe the lie sometimes, because it’s easy to slip back into bad habits. But then I’m reminded of the truth. God loves me as I am. Right here. Right now. Today. Even in my mess.
And it’s the same for all of us.
Having it All Together
Grace is sold to us as some smiley-happy quality only found on perma-grin, overly optimistic Christians who often talk patronizingly about suffering as if it didn’t really happen. Grace is sold as an emotion felt at specific moments in our lives, and usually when we have our lives together.
I believe we all know that the world doesn’t work that way.
The strange thing about the myth of having it all together is that many of us believe everyone else has life in order. I’ve definitely been guilty of this one. But what I’ve discovered over time is that some of the wisest people I know have also been some of the most broken people.
I’m sure that if I asked you to share honestly whether you believed you had your life together, you’d probably say, no.
If I asked about some of your acquaintances, people who’ve met you—not necessarily the ones closest to you, but still those who know you—whether they think you have it all together. Probably you’d say, yes.
Therein lies the myth: That lives are perfect, that others have everything sorted and in order, and if only we had all they did (or were more like them), then suddenly everything in our lives would be sorted, too.
The truth is, there’s no one who has it all together. Not one person.
Every single one of us is like shattered glass. Broken, smashed, and thrown all over the place. With sharp, painful pieces lying strewn and unordered on the floor.
Mosaic Of Grace is available to pre-order on Amazon here, and releases Feb 13 2017.
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Cover Design: Rough & Ready Media / Celtic Cross Publishing
Text: Copyright 2017 James Prescott, published by Celtic Cross Publishing