The day began like any other. The awakening of the sun, little by little, until it sneaks though the mini blinds covering the windows. I followed my usual morning routine of waking up, working out and eventually indulging in my first cup of coffee. But this ordinary day felt different. My insides were not in sync with my outer appearance. An alignment of the deepest corners of my heart needed to take place to match the person I was portraying on the outside.
We have all experienced what it is like for our car’s tires to be out of alignment. When we leave the tires alone and do nothing, eventually we are facing the cost of new tires to replace the ones worn down with misuse. Our hearts also wear down when we allow misalignment to sit and fester. Those are the times we need to embrace gracious grace.
Gracious grace is accepting the gift of gratefulness for the blessings God lovingly gives us. It is taking the hurt places, hiding in our hearts, and exposing them to God’s truth, found in His Word. It is the gift of allowing God to work on us from the inside out. Gracious grace is a heart work that aligns the deepest recesses of our hidden hurts with God’s amazing grace.
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How do we know when our heart is out of alignment? The same way we find out about our tires. There is a pulling to one side, the ride is not as smooth and our insides do not match the outside.
When work is required to fix something, it always comes with a cost. A simple tire alignment costs less than four new tires, but there is an adjustment with both options. When our heart needs work, it also comes at a cost. Reaching the deep crevices of hurt, unworthiness and misunderstanding requires the cost of honesty, vulnerability, acknowledgement and truth. We need to ask ourselves if we are willing to accept the cost to align our insides with our outsides.
Costs accrue and build up over time, but the outcome is beautiful when we say “yes” to freedom, certainty and grace.
Alignment of the heart needs:
An honest reckoning of who we really are and how we are portraying ourselves to other people.
This heart work costs us honesty, but is fixed by friends or family who speak truth into our lives, by seeking God’s Word, and accepting His grace.
A vulnerable unveiling of the deepest, darkest corners of our heart.
This heart work costs us vulnerability and is fixed by the love of others, the willingness for others to stand by us even when we are still learning who we are and knowing that unconditional love comes from our Savior.
A chance to grasp the truth of how God wired us.
This heart work needs time to fully develop and understand that God created us for a beautiful purpose. It requires loving ourselves even on the days that are hard and seeking God in the blessings as well as the challenges.
The Gospel of Luke teaches us the cost of being a follower of Jesus. Luke spells out that it starts with knowing the cost so we can build a strong life honoring and serving God.
And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.
28 “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? 29 Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. Luke 14:27-29
The cost of following Jesus is worth it. The cost of aligning our heart with God’s truth is worth it. The cost of honesty and vulnerability needed to grow as a child of God leads us to gracious grace – God’s blessings poured out in abundance as we seek His truth.
What are you willing to pay to align your inner heart secrets with God’s gracious grace?
Blessings of grace along the way!
Linking up with these beautiful ladies!
and Dawn for Grace Moments
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I needed to read this this morning, Mary. I need to ponder the idea of gracious grace and how it can influence my words and thoughts today. Thank you. 🙂
I am blessed you stopped by and found words that spoke to you today. God is so good with that isn’t he?? Praying your week is lovely and you find some gracious grace moments along the way.
I’m in the spot right now and I must say it’s hard. The Lord wants to do certain things in me, to bring my inner life in alignment with what I portray outside but I’ve been so stubborn about it. In His characteristic manner, the Lord has patiently been dealing with me and I’m succumbing gradually. I also want to live an authentic life. I know there’s a huge cost but I’d rather have that than to live a life of that is not aligned with what’s in my inside. As a mother, I believe I’ll be setting a good example for my kids if I’m able to do this. Thanks for sharing! You definitely spoke what’s happening in my life with this one.
Thank you for being here Jane! I am not always good at being where God wants me to be but know that He has the ultimate plan every time. God is very patient and will wait for us as we figure out that what He wants us to do is always best. Blessings!
Thank you for stopping by Henibean earlier Mary. I am glad I felt prompted to click in to your blog too. Like the previous comments I feel that I too am in need of alignment both spiritually and physically!In need of a total MOT actually! I love your analogy by the way… makes so much sense and easier to picture my wayward will
Thank you Jade. I was blessed to read your words today and I am thankful you stopped by here too. Recognizing we need an alignment then requires an acceptance for God to enter in and do the work. Praying we turn to God to work in and through us. Blessings!
Gosh, I love that first heart picture. What a capture! And to really listen to His calling us when our hearts need alignment is also capturing His grace. Thanks you for your words and pictures.
Sounds like brave faith to me, friend! When you talk about the heart, I always think of Much Afraid and the little, sharp seed the Shepherd inserted into her heart at the beginning of her ascent, do you remember? There was pain at the start, and pain at the end when she offered herself, her heart to the Shepherd at last. But a pain so worth the blessing received! Such an encouraging post, my friend!
I love that story of Hinds Feet in High Places. It really impacted me when I read it last year. I love the connection you made between Much Afraid and the sharp seed the Shepherd put in her heart. Pain is worth the blessing just as letting God align our hearts is worth the hard work we must endure. Thank you for reminding of that beautiful story. Your words bring hope because I know how it ended with Much Afraid! 🙂
Aligning my heart to His grace and opening it fully before Him. That’s what I want. Thanks for your words, today. It’s so easy to just go through the motions of believing, isn’t it? But you’re talking about MORE. 🙂
It is certainly easy to go through the motions without any other thought. But closing ourselves off to God and the work that He desires to do in and through us keeps us stagnant. God wishes for so much more for us. We need to crave that alignment too. Thank you for being here and for sharing your encouragement.
It sounds a bit like God is leading you along the same paths that He is leading me along, Mary. I’m glad we can walk by His side and learn what a “gracious” and “soft” heart look like. He’s such a great example and empowerer of that! Love where you’re headed on your blog, my friend! You say that you are too distracted or busy to hear God’s voice and yet I see Him shining there in your place today! Hugs
God is the greatest encourager. You are a close second. Thank you for recognizing what I am not seeing in myself. I am expecting answers to be given to me clear as day and that is not happening. It tends to skew my perspective on how things are going.
I appreciate knowing you see God shining here. That means so much to me. Blessings and welcome back!
I’ve missed you and your words friend! So much THIS: “This heart work costs us honesty, but is fixed by friends or family who speak truth into our lives, by seeking God’s Word, and accepting His grace.”
I’ve missed you too! 🙂 Thank you for highlighting words that spoke to you. God is so good to share Himself on this page. Welcome back friend!
Mary, what a powerful post! Your words struck home with me. As God has taught me about authenticity this year, He’s showing me there are areas of my heart that need aligning. And yes, the cost has definitely been honesty. The first step, though, was being willing to acknowledge that my insides weren’t aligned with what I portrayed to people in my circles. Or what I foolishly tried to portray to God. I’m so thankful for His patience with me as I learn. And for His unending showers of gracious grace for every time I need to step under it.
Beautiful post, my friend!
Amen to patience and God’s willingness to allow “do overs”. Gracious grace is a beautiful gift from God when we continue to open our hearts to Him and allow Him to do the work necessary in us.
I love hearing about your quest for authenticity. It is one I need to pursue in my own life. It is easier to say everything is “fine” rather than honestly share how I am really doing. I am praying for you as you lean into God and learn authenticity and honesty from Him. Blessings!
Wow . . . when you put it so plainly and so beautifully, my heart just has to follow my tutored thoughts.
Thank you! A heart check is hard work and one that needs God in every step. But oh what a difference it can make in our lives. Praying for you as you lean into God, open your heart to His loving grace and follow Him to wherever He takes you. Blessings!
I did one of these alignment checks end of May. I found myself lacking. Did a few things and I think I’m on the right track!
The trick is to know you need an alignment check and then be willing to do something about it. I love knowing you feel you are on track. I am working on this process with myself right now. Stay tuned!
Mary, I love the tire analogy! Everyone who drives can surely remember a time when the car literally PULLS to one side. It is absolutely the way our heart feels when we are not aligned with God’s Spirit. We are out of alignment and feel “out of sorts.” I love your suggestions on how to get aligned. Thank you for the reminders of being honest and real, being vulnerable, and looking at who God has wired us to be and loving ourselves through each day. Such great, blessed words.
I remember the feeling of always being pulled one direction when driving. Sometimes it made me complacent because then I would compensate for the pulling. I know I also get complacent when it comes to working on myself. God is ready to complete a good work in us, but we need to open our hearts to letting God do His thing and what that might look like.
Thank you for your sweet, affirming words. You blessed me by sharing your thoughts and kind words of encouragement. Love and blessings!
We all need that “alignment” check. I’m trying to make adjustments to my body like you sweet friend. When we make that check, the key is following His instructions.
I love that you are working on your body too. We can cheer each other on! I need a definite heart check and only God can fix the misalignment. So glad you are here. I am praying for you as you work on healthy living and listening to your heart.
Time for an alignment check:) I’m so thankful for God’s gracious grace, but am I showing it? Am I willing to make the adjustments I need? Thank you for this challenge today Mary, and for helping me slow down and take time for a heart-check. I want to be in line with what God wants for me, and living in a way that is pleasing to Him. Blessings!
Me too, Kristine! I wrote these words to remind myself that God is never finished with us and that when I am out of sync, He is the one to go to. I am praying we both take time to slow down and let God do what He does best – align our hearts with His. Thank you for being here and joining in on the conversation.
“Gracious grace” -what a concept, Mary! I so appreciated this this morning. Had to share : ) Thank you!
Thank you Bethany! I appreciate you stopping by and joining me here today. Gracious grace is quite the concept but then when it is from God, you know it is going to be amazing. Blessings!
Desiring that sacred alignment … what grace, this repeated invitation!
Preaching to myself, friend! I need to invite God in over and over again because I forget and let things get messy and out of alignment. God is the giver of gracious grace even when we forget. Praying you embrace this grace for yourself from our amazing God.
Once again I am reminded of my need to allow God work on my heart to trust Him enough to be vulnerable with Him.
Amen! I was preaching to myself with these words today. I forget too often that God is willing to work with us, in us and through us. I need to let go and allow myself to be transparent and accepting of God’s love and grace. Thank you for being here, Grace!
This is a wonderful reminder of how surrounded we are of grace.
Thank you Lux! I continue to seek to understand grace and the precious gift it truly is. I always love seeing you here! Blessings!