A while back I was reading a book about God’s grace, and I had to be honest with God. I didn’t quite understand the whole concept of grace. I knew it was important because I’ve read so much about it, but it was obvious I was missing something. I prayed and asked God to help me gain a better understanding, and I had faith that He would.
God kicked-off my lesson in grace a few days later while I was in the shower. (It seems like God always talks to me in the shower). I was complaining to God about how I always make mistakes and that it feels like no matter what I do, what I read, what I learn; I always say, do or think something wrong. I always fail. I always fall. I always sin.
I was acting like the victim in this thing called life, and I pointed my finger at God and demanded, “Why is life so difficult”? “Why do I always stumble?” “Why do I always do something stupid?”
On my spiritual journey, I have an idea of where I want to be, and no matter how I grow, it feels like I always fall short. The person I want to be doesn’t put her foot in her mouth. The person I want to be doesn’t have insecurities. The person I want to be doesn’t have problems with eating, lusting, lying, gossiping, pride, laziness, blah, blah, blah. The person I want to be is PERFECT!!!
Oh! And that’s when God pulled a fast one on me. He uncovered my “I’m-the-victim-attitude” and exposed it for what it really was: pride. I wasn’t where I thought I should be and I was upset: pride. I couldn’t accept the fact that I was flawed and I made mistakes: pride. I didn’t want others know my struggles and watch me stumble: pride. My little pity-party was boiling over the flame called pride.
And after God nicely humbled me there in the shower, He gave me a smile (in my mind’s eye) and said gently, “That’s why you need my grace.”
What I realized is that I didn’t want to accept God’s grace because my pride was telling me that I should be something that I was not. But I am a woman that says things to friends that I later regret. I am a woman who just ate about 15 Peppermint York Patties without stopping to exert some semblance of self-control. I am a woman who has to fight with feelings of insecurity and inferiority. I am a woman who has to stop herself from judging the actions and decisions of others. I am a woman who’s stuck in the middle of a battle between her own will and the will of the Holy Spirit.
I am not perfect, and I will never be. I will fall on a daily basis and those around me will see it. I can’t put on a show for others or for me. Accepting God’s grace frees me from being hard on myself. I am not loved because I try to be the best Christian girl possible. I am loved because God created me and He chooses to love me. There is nothing that I can do to make Him love me more or less. I will make mistakes, and I should not care who sees them because I have grace. And I won’t use those mistakes to justify playing the victim role again.
Just today I read some of Jeanne Guyon’s writings that spoke on this topic. She lived in the 1600s, which comforted me because I realized that even women in the 1600s dealt with this problem and overcame it. She wrote:
“Always guard yourself from being anxious because of your faults. First of all, such distress only stirs up the soul and distracts you to outward things. Secondly, your distress really springs from a secret root of pride. What you are experiencing is, in fact, a love of your own worth. To put it in other words, you are simply hurt and upset at seeing what you really are. If the Lord should be so merciful as to give you a true spirit of His humility, you will not be surprised at your faults, your failures, or even your own basic nature.”
Thank You, God, for Your grace. Help me to see beauty in the holes of my weakness, for that is where Your glory shines through.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12.9 NIV).