How incredibly silly of me to believe I had an original thought this morning. We all tend to think of ourselves as bright, witty, clever. And we are- don’t get me wrong. Once in a while something brilliant does pop into our mind that is truly a unique idea but with approximately  7.3 billion brains (according to sending and receiving energy around our globe, they are rare indeed.

So it was with me today when I thought I had come up with a clever and timely topic. I decided it should be called 50 Shades of Grace. I’m thinking about the huge buzz of the movie release this weekend of Valentine’s Day. First a disclaimer; I have not read the book and do not plan to see the movie. I did take a quick peek at the plot on Amazon and what hit me was the main character’s name is Christian. I felt like that was enormously and exquisitely ironic.

My friend Google directed me to a humbling list of folks who got there ahead of me. Articles, blogs, twitter, even a short movie parody but what got my attention was there’s a book by that title already. Fifty Shades of Grace: Devotions Celebrating God’s Unlimited Gift  with a five star rating. So I did what any Amazon Prime member would do, I one-clicked it onto my Kindle on the spot. At $2.51, the price for this little book wouldn’t buy a bag of popcorn at the movie. And, there was no line of people waiting to get in, nervously looking around at who might shoot them withering, disapproving stares.

Movie: two stars. I read some reviews of the movie. It is in no way a love story and it’s getting hammered as   “a limp bore”, “doesn’t amount to much”, “lacks grey matter”. In short, harsh criticism. It is the kind of movie that may open with lots of curious watchers only to  plummet in popularity as the word of mouth reviews are shared through the friend network and social media.

Kearney’s own Bible study writer Dee Brestin calls Jesus a “shy lover.” He will never force himself on anyone but rather waits with patience and love for an invitation to a relationship. That is what love is all about, really. God’s love is always there for us and he loves us exactly as we are. His love strengthens us and helps us to become all we can be, our very best self.

I adore what is written in Psalm 86:15 “But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”  It is that open and honest kind of love we should seek. One clever writer quipped  “there is nothing grey about God’s love for us”, it is all black and white, straightforward and clear, a gift to all who truly seek it. To a point I agree with the blogger. But for me,  I see God’s love as an unlimited palette of colors that provide everything I need to paint my life’s canvas if I choose to focus on him.

 So when I thought myself clever, I found I was blessed instead. I discovered another wonderful little book to use as part of my morning devotions. True and lasting, something I will come back to time and time again. That’s a pretty sweet Valentine’s gift  I’d say. 

Betty Streff

Betty Streff began her career as a customer service representative for a large corporation in Omaha. Four years later she found herself to be a farm wife in a small rural community with limited opportunities for women. After a humbling self assessment, she listed her assets as talents for sketching, sewing, and the natural ability to strike up conversations with complete strangers. Using these and her optimistic nature, she began stitching up some bibs and pillows for a craft show, who wouldn't? Over the next 25 years she became a serial entrepreneur obsessed with studying faith, spirituality, leadership, motivation, and management as she developed her businesses. Betty has spent the last few years working in corporate America in the hospitality and manufacturing world and she continues to immerse herself in the study of what makes people tick. The explosive growth in the relatively recent science of positive psychology fascinates her. Betty devours everything she can find on the subject and is especially intrigued with people who thrive no matter the circumstances and in discovering ways that happiness and optimism can be learned. She is currently exploring ways of sharing and cultivating the exciting possibilities with both individuals and businesses. She and her husband Steve have been married 45 years and are blessed with 2 incredible daughters, 2 fantastic sons-in-law and 6 amazing grandchildren.