According to its official definition, grace is simple elegance or refinement of movement. Part of my journey to Finding Grace is discovering ways I can refine my daily walk. Finding Grace came about by a daily prayer I began to recite saying, “God, give me the grace to overcome.” In obtaining the grace to overcome I’ve had to work on changing the way I think, the way I carry myself, and the way I interact with others. I’ve truly been in a season of refinement.
Last week, while listening to the Influence Network podcast, Nicki Koziarz of Proverbs 31 Ministries was talking about her book 5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit (click here for a link to this episode). While I haven’t read this book (it is on my wish list) she said something that stood out to me. She said, in summary, the place in our life that feels hard is where we have an opportunity to refine. She described it as a Refinement Moment.
She went on to tell the audience about a situation she was in which forced to take a step back and ask herself:
“What’s it like on the other side of me right now?”
The next day in her quiet time with God, he asked her:
“Have you accepted your assignment of refinement?”
These two excruciating questions had me sitting shotgun in the bus of conviction. It’s time that we accept our refinement assignment & it starts by looking inward. I know for a fact that being on the other side of me is not always pleasant. But how do I begin that refining process? First, I have to ask myself where is the place is in my life that feels hard, and there is the opportunity of refinement waiting for me. I know where that area is in my life, and I challenge you to ask yourself that same question.
As I dug deeper into what refinement truly is, I found the process of refinement in its three part definition:
1. The process of removing impurities or unwanted elements
Daniel 11:33-35 (MSG)
Those who keep their heads on straight will teach the crowds right from wrong by their example. They’ll be put to severe testing for a season: some killed, some burned, some exiled, some robbed. When the testing in intense, they’ll get some help, but not much. Many of the helpers will be halfhearted at best. The testing will refine, cleanse, and purify those who keep their heads on straight and stay true, for there is still more to come.
In the Hebrew, the word “refine” can be translated in two ways: one literally means to fuse, be tried, melt, or to purge; the second translation means to strain or sift. In Daniel 11:35 refine is used in the sense of “purging”.
This is the first step in your refinement assignment. You have to purge any impurities or unwanted things, people, places, etc., in your life. Ask God to show you those things not, only externally, but internally, that need to be removed. Many times it’s easy to see the external things, but it’s not so comfortable to turn that index finger around and point it at your own heart. Keep asking yourself “what’s is like to be on the other side of me?” and those things may spill out.
I love the scripture in Daniel because it says there will be “severe testing for a season”; and not “If”, but “when the testing is intense” don’t count on others to help you. This tells me that during a season of refining we have to completely trust God; he will be your help. At the end of the day, the testing will refine you for the next season of testing. But we have to let go of the things that are holding you down in this season in order to overcome. There are things in this season of your life that cannot come with you in the next season. That’s why is says “cleanse and purify”… “for there is still more to come”.
2. The improvement of something by making small changes
Our next step in the process of refinement, after purging, is to begin making small changes. I know for me, since I've began making small changes to improve myself, it isn’t happening overnight. In my personal journal, I made a list of those small changes I wanted to make as I become more refined. I can go back and look over my list from time to time, which gives me the opportunity to either mark things off as an accomplishment or add to the list as I need to make additional changes. In order to improve, we have to start small and build. Even if no one else recognizes my small changes, I can celebrate my own victories.
3. Cultured elegance in behavior or manner
Once you begin removing the unwanted things in your life and making those small changes, you start to become more polished. I’ve said before, that I’ve never been the most gracious or graceful person; however, as I continue on my journey to Finding Grace and working on being more refined, I hope to be more elegant in my daily walk (and not so frantic all the time).
I heard a poet once say “there are medicinal qualities down the corridors of introspection.” Literally meaning, there are healing properties when you examine your own mental and emotional processes.
We each have opportunities in our life that feel hard which give us a chance to refine and be better. But you have to start down the corridors of introspection. Purge, change, improve, and shine.
Thank you for joining me in my journal to Finding Grace.
Enjoy the journey