I was reading in Blue Like Jazz this week a chapter about grace. Grace is a tough thing to grasp sometimes, but I’m really, really thankful for it. Grace allows me to not live under condemnation. I hate having to perform all the time. I hate feeling like I’m living up to something because I’m sure to fail. When I fail, it really hurts deep. I have some real deep seeded emotions about failure that are hard to let go.
But grace lets me live.
The past couple weeks dealing with two hurricanes and the threat of another, packing to go on a trip for 3 months, getting our house ready for others to live in it while we’re gone, finding wood rot on our door frame, getting treated for termites the day before we leave, and trying to just stay afloat has been very taxing. It’s taught me that I can be hard on myself because I’m putting expectations on myself to perform. Then when I fail, it brings me down. Trying to determine what is just normal stress and what is self-imposed pressure can be tough.
Donald Miller writes at the end of chapter 7:
Self-discipline will never make us feel righteous or clean; accepting God’s love will. The ability to accept God’s unconditional grace and ferocious love is all the fuel we need to obey Him in return. Accepting God’s kindness and free love is something the devil does not want us to do. If we hear, in our inner ear, a voice saying we are failures, we are losers, we will never amount to anything, this is the voice of Satan trying to convince the bride that the groom does not love her. This is not the voice of God. God woos us with kindness, He changes our character with the passion of His love.
My wife was right. Of course it didn’t take Donald Miller to convince me my wife was right. She kept telling me the defeated attitude I have was from Satan. I kept saying that I felt like God saw me as a failure also. We used to call that “stinkin’ thinkin’”. It just ain’t right.
God does woo through kindness. He does it through grace. He doesn’t brow beat. I tend to do that myself…and I shouldn’t.
The ironic thing is the response I naturally want to have is be better disciplined at not getting down on myself. What I need is more grace.
I’ll always be a work in progress thanks to grace.