My latest obsession is photography filters.  They radically transform my pictures.  It never fails, I see something beautiful and I want to capture it, so I take a picture like this:

But the image doesn’t “grab me” or excite me like it does in real life.  In fact, it looks quite boring.  That is where the filters are so powerful.  I apply one or two filters to my image and voila!

It is a totally different image!  You notice things that you didn’t before: details, textures, colors, clouds where before was just empty space, the picture communicates something entirely new.

Life has filters too – we all use them.  Our experiences and life stories create our preferred filters. The victim filter allows you to see how life always hands you a raw deal.  The defensive filter infers attack where none is intended and creates walls of protection.  The filter of hopelessness feeds into depression and gloom.  The filter of meaninglessness breeds apathy and laziness.  Insecurity is a filter that interprets every comment and look as condemnation.  There are thousands of filters that color our world and effect our perspective.

One filter was the basis for an entire movie.  Pollyanna‘s glad game challenged generations to find something about everything to be glad about- “no matter what ’twas”― Eleanor H. Porter, Pollyanna. 

We resonate with this filter – I prefer to think of it as a filter of thankfulness.  Ann Voskamp’s journey to name One Thousand Gifts prompted me to take up this filter.   As to actually count them, that is not my goal, but to see them daily and acknowledge them – it is changing who I am. The dare to live fully and more abundantly right where I am, is becoming a reality.

But the thankful filter has given me a new filter.  It is redefining how I see things.  It is revealing to me the amazing-ness of grace.

Grace.  That is my favorite filter.  Grace is the undeserved gift we all need. 

Thankfulness allows me to see that I receive undeserved gifts everyday – but grace dictates that I give undeserved gifts to others and open myself to receive them in kind.  I open myself to not be DEFINED by the stupid things I may say at times.  I am free to try and fail and not be less.  I AM NOT LESS!  I am loved and cherished by God who is the source of all good gifts – ALL GRACE.   I. AM. NOT. LESS.

Do you know that I am about to take my medical board exam that is mandated every 10 years?  I tried to take it last year and I failed.  Yep, FAILED.  I am tempted to explain…but who cares?  I AM NOT LESS.  Grace.  I am fully and completely me and I give you the grace to be fully and completely you.  Not more.  Not less.

“Honestly, the only words that really matter, are the ones I live.”  Ann Voskamp

Let’s do more than talk about grace…