You can’t help but think about what kind of influence you are to your family when you read Gary Morland’s A Family Shaped By Grace: How To Get Along With The People Who Matter Most.
He speaks of being a calming influence. Just the pleasant sound of those two words inspire me to want to know how I can have such a peaceful effect on my loved ones.
Do you long to see change in yourself and your family but just don’t know how to bring it to fruition?
Perhaps you wonder if you can make a difference when your family relates to each other in ways that feel impossible to change? What do you do when you show love and your efforts go unnoticed? Or when you continue to fail after meaningful attempts of trying to extend grace?
It’s easy for families to settle into patterns and habits of behavior without realizing they are even unhealthy.
This book helped me understand a few things about myself and my relationships that have made an indelible impression upon my heart and have positively impacted my relationships.
It’s truths continue to swirl around in my mind throughout the day, helping shape my ways of interacting with others toward grace.
Morland says we can see positive changes in our family by changing our own attitudes, perspectives, expectations and actions. He provides a list of Timeless Tools For Family Peace to help families get along.
Your attitude and expectations shape your family. Change your attitudes and expectations, and your family changes. Your perspective influences what you say and do and how you feel.
One Timeless Tool, Get Your Peace Right, helped me realize I want my family to give me the peace and affirmation that only Jesus can give.
I needed to adjust my expectations and perspectives.
We’re not to need our family to treat us a certain way in order for us to be at peace. Needing certain reactions from your family leads to manipulation to get your needs met instead of being available to meet theirs.
When I’m not treated the way I think I should be treated, I often lose my peace. And this just shows me where my peace lies.
When things aren’t going well I want them fixed. I want solutions that work. All too often, I want to solve the problem before it’s time–before God has had a chance to work on the other person’s heart and my own.
My desire to fix things NOW is often due to my lack of patience and trust in God.
Which leads me to the next tool, Release the Results, the Other Person, and Your Role and Limits into God’s Hands. This chapter helped me to fully place my trust in God by helping me remember that He knows my family situations better than I do.
I’m realizing the great impact on others that comes from a peaceful attitude of trust. The burden of making things happen is on the Lord, but we have the privilege of cooperating with him and watching what he does. He can do anything he wants and can be trusted to do what is right.
When you find your source of peace from Jesus it releases you to love others unconditionally.
It delivers you from the burden of solving the problem. It liberates you from the pitfall of loving and expecting something in return.
When a few situations arose that caused me to want to fix the other person’s perspective, I was able to go to God in prayer. I was able to let go of the burden and know I could trust God for the results! I was able to find peace even when the problem wasn’t solved!
And I was able to see the results of answered prayer.
Unresolved problems are good for me and pleasing to God because they provide opportunities for me to personally experience his sufficiency and not just know it in my head.
I also loved the timeless tool of peace called, Be Unoffendable. As I searched my heart I realized that I’m easily offended. I caught myself a couple of times taking offense at small things and letting it affect my attitude. In that moment, I told myself to “be unoffendable.” I was able to let go of the anger I felt trying to creep into my attitude.
When you find security and peace in the unchanging sufficiency of Jesus, suddenly you find yourself unoffendable, with no need to keep score. You don’t need to demand correct behavior before you can love. You find it easier to forgive and release bitterness, and you become a safe place to launch and a soft place for someone to crash-land.
The book gives lots of practical ways to “woo” your loved ones by modeling kindness, appreciation, grace and humility.
As I practiced being a calming influence, being unoffendable, showing grace and wooing, I began to notice a positive change in my family.
But most of all in myself.
Because the title of this book was happening to me.
I am in the process of being shaped. God is using this book in my life to help shape me. The book brought the message of scripture alive in my heart, helping me learn to love with grace.
And although the process of shaping often happens under pressure, we can learn to allow the pressure to mold us into more Christ-like behavior.
If you desire to see positive change in yourself and your family, this book is a must-read!
It was such an honor to be a part of the launch team for A Family Shaped By Grace. Gary Morland is one of the founders and what they call “father-figure” (dad to authors/founders Emily P. Freeman and Myquillyn Smith) in a wonderful writing group I’m in called Hope Writers. It’s been a blessing to listen to him share podcasts and be a part of the book’s FB launch team where Gary shares about his life and the journey in writing this book.
You know how some people just make you feel at home and cared for? That’s Gary Morland. Definitely a calming influence to many!