“The grace of God is the atmosphere of his kingdom. We live by inhaling grace.”
This is the invitation we’re extending to you through the release of our first Unhurried Living publication, Inhaling Grace.
These sixty devotionals are drawn from nearly thirty years of my personal journal. I invite you to embark on a journey of being well-shepherded by the grace of God. We learn just how surrounded we are by grace, moment to moment, day to day. Enjoy breathing more deeply in God’s gracious presence.
We’re deeply encouraged by the strong feedback we’ve received from a number of early readers. I really hope you’ll get yourself a copy. You can ask your local bookseller to order you a copy, or you can find one at Amazon.com.
You can download the “Introduction” right now by clicking on this link.
INHALING GRACE – INTRODUCTION
The grace of God is the atmosphere of his kingdom. We live by inhaling grace. We grow short of breath when we inhale anxiety, fear, or insecurity. These pollutants don’t have a home in the joyful, generous kingdom of our Father in heaven. I wrote these sixty devotionals in hopes of helping you enjoy breathing more deeply in God’s gracious presence.
These devotionals had their beginnings in my personal journal. I began to practice the regular discipline of spiritual journaling in 1990. Since then, I’ve written nearly ten thousand pages and over six million words in that journal. It’s been a place of wrestling, thinking, reflection, and prayer. It’s been a place of meeting with God. I hope it will be as fruitful for you to read these devotionals as it has been for me to write them.
A few years ago, a friend made it possible for me to get away for three days at a monastery near the Central California coast so I could go back through a few years of my journal to select excerpts for this first Unhurried Living devotional. The rolling, spring-green hills reached out into the distance, providing a vista that felt spacious to my soul. I didn’t think of this collection being called Inhaling Grace back then, but I believe that is where the idea was planted.
As you read these entries, you’ll probably notice frequent mention of some facet of Jesus as Good Shepherd. This theme emerged as these journal excerpts came together. For some, Jesus as Shepherd might feel overly familiar. Perhaps it brings to mind a traditional painting of Jesus with a lamb on his shoulders, making the metaphor feel old-fashioned and out- of-touch. I understand, but as one who has served as a pastor most of my adult life, the connection between Jesus as Shepherd and the work I do has been life-giving. In my training of Christian leaders, I remind them that they have a pastor—a Shepherd—in Jesus. And he is very good at what he does!
When I began my current spiritual journal nearly thirty years ago, my first entry captured my experience of a one-day solitude retreat that a future mentor, Wayne Anderson, was leading in Southern California. As part of a class of seminarians, we were given extended time to be alone in God’s presence. It was only seventy-five minutes, but for many of us, it felt like forever. Most of us were hyperactive ministry leaders, and we were unaccustomed to spending much time alone or quiet. We thought of our relationship with God mostly in terms of our activity for God rather than our relationship with God.
The theme of that retreat day grew out of John 10 where Jesus calls himself the Good Shepherd. On page one of my journal, I wrote these notes: “Wayne taught from John 10, the Good Shepherd passage. It was gold! The three big ideas were that (1) we know Jesus in the same way that Jesus knows the Father, (2) we listen to Jesus, and (3) we follow Jesus. It is so simple, and yet so perspective changing.” Can you sense the depths of grace in what I received that day?
Since that day, I’ve been on a journey of learning how to let myself be well-shepherded by Jesus in my life, my relation- ships, and my work. It’s been a process of learning just how sur- rounded I am by grace, moment to moment, day to day. In the years since that first day practicing solitude and silence, I have continued this pattern. I’ve learned to follow Jesus into lonely places to pray (Luke 5:16). I’ve learned to inhale grace. Then my life, my words, and my works become an exhaling of grace.
It’s my prayer that as you read these entries you’ll experience a renewal and refreshing of your ideas, assumptions, expectations, and perspectives of Jesus. I hope you’ll see how he is wanting to guide you into more and more life. I’m hopeful that you’ll become more accustomed to inhaling the grace of God that is always with you. I’m glad we get to inhale his grace together.
P.S. – If you’d like to order five or more copies at a discount, you can do so at https://unhurriedliving.com/grace.