“Grace delayed is not grace denied.” This phrase has been repeating itself in my head since a valued colleague and mentor wrote these words to me early in the week. I had been asking him, in my prideful way, for reassurance about my failure to publish more than one scholarly article per year. I think I phrased the question something like, “. . . lack of publishing is not quite a moral failing, is it?” I won’t repeat the whole of the genuinely honest, accurate and corrective response I received, but I am thankful for the tempering phrase he added: “grace delayed is not grace denied.” A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down . . .
Sometimes the worst part about a spiritually difficult or creatively dry period in our lives is not because of the particulars of the situation we must address, (it seems like the Holy Spirit breathes courage into us in any one crisis), but the fear that a period of dryness “will last forever” or “it won’t ever get any better.” We are all, I believe, prone to these periods and the concomitant fears regardless of how brave we can be in any one moment.
Having a mentor, coach, or friend who can hold us accountable and correct us when we get off the course is so important. I am grateful to God that I have a couple of people in my life who can do that –they have known me for a long time and can see through my “stuff” and gracefully and lovingly call me on it.
Do you have someone in your Christian community who can act as mentor and coach to you? Are you able to do this for another? I am not sure which is harder, honestly. I do know that in Christian community we are called to this kind of authentic, honest, difficult, prayerful and graceful relationship. Find someone that can tell you the truth in love. Be someone who can love another through these times.