Not too long ago I was ditched. Twice. On the same day. No, it wasn’t some online dating scenario gone wrong. It was just one of those odd coincidences that makes you pause for a second and use your scrunched up “What in the world?” face.

Two of my employees quit on the same day. They didn’t know each other, and each had a perfectly good reason. But, it made me pause.

Even as God clearly showed me He had other plans in mind, I wondered, “Yeesh! What gives?”

In processing the event with a mentor later, he surprised me with an interesting comment: “Janna, you need to surround yourself with ‘and’ people – the kind that view life as a realm of possibility instead of  ‘this or that’ choices.”

Comparing Conjunctions

I was intrigued and began to look at life to see what kind of “or’s” I use. Like last week’s:

I can work really hard to finish the book manuscript for the editor.
I can enjoy life.

I tried the first one, but working really long and hard left me tired and cranky. I was so focused on work or enjoy that I didn’t do either very well.

An “or” mentality rarely serves us. “Or” leads us to believe when we pick one option, the rest of life has to suffer. “Or” leaves us with a sense of lack instead of abundance.

Maybe you recognize some “or” thoughts in your own life:
We can fix the roof OR go on vacation.
I can exercise OR be happy.
You can be godly OR follow your heart’s desire.

Or maybe there are even a few “or’s” that have snuck up on you:
I can be a good wife/mom OR find my true purpose.
I can have a long-lasting relationship OR thrive in my job.
I can deal with immediate life OR pursue my dreams.

Jesus offers us more life in grace, and His favorite, grace conjunction is “and.”

Grace in the “And”

Grace is primarily an “and” word because grace adds life. Grace shows up in our lives to add something and gives us the power to enjoy life in new, interesting ways. Having an “and” mentality helps us grow, be open to possibilities, and experience a variety of life-giving options.

Now, using “and” doesn’t mean you’re stuck plowing through relationship boundaries or never saying “no” to another opportunity. Of course there will be things you don’t want. You can be authentic and free to refuse those!

But along the way, “and” will open up opportunities you could consider. One little conjunction can add much creativity, joy, and interest to life.

  • What if you could save your pennies for the roof this summer and still take a family vacation? Maybe the trick is finding a vacation closer to home that’s less expensive. The point is to get away from normal routines, relax, and enjoy family time, right? So, if you use an “and” mindset, you might just get creative and come up with a way to have both.
  • What if it’s actually possible to deal with immediate circumstances and take a step toward your dream? Yes, life takes time and energy. Yes, you probably have duties and responsibilities that pull you in many directions at once. You also have a God on your side who desires for you to live the adventure He created you for. He can help you conquer today and make a way for your dreams, even if it’s just one small step right now.

Rewriting the story

For me, the day both employees quit was a season I began to learn about “and.”  Sure, I’ve had to learn business-ey things I never thought I’d need to know. Sure, life looks different than I expected. Sure, I never imagined help would show up in the form of editors and designers and print shop owners from across the U.S.

and mentality - gracethreadBut God knows what He’s doing. He never leaves us alone. And He infuses our stories with plenty of grace and plenty of room for new, interesting adventures as we partner with Him in the work.

Last week I found a fun turquoise ampersand while I was out shopping. This cute “&” reminder sits in my office to remind me of the beauty of possibility thinking. We can have our cake and eat it too. All it takes is a change of conjunction, a pinch of creativity, and a dash of grace!