You’re too hard on yourself is a phrase I hear often from people who know me well. My standard for myself is high. I want to please others; I want to do the best job I can in everything I do; I want to be good enough.
I never make the mark.
That sends me into self-loathing. It is at its worse when someone points out something I’ve done they didn’t like. With one footstep I tell myself, “Debbie is bad.” And with the next, “Debbie is always wrong.”
It also sends me into face-down prayer, pleading with God to forgive me, asking why I don’t do things the way I want to, intend to, try to. But rarely is there peace after one of these “I’m never going to change and be good enough” sessions. Instead I withdraw, keep my head down and my mouth closed, go into hiding.
This is not God’s choice for me. It is Satan, holding me back and attacking.
In January, Ann Voskamp wrote about My One Word by Mike Ashcroft and Rachel Olsen. I bought the book, read it, and set out to figure out what word I should live by in 2013. It didn’t take long for me to realize GRACE was my word.
Grace extended more often to others.
But probably most importantly, accepting the grace given to me by God. And giving grace to myself.
It is still good and necessary to ask forgiveness when I sin, but to continue to burden myself and live as though I am never going to be what God wants is pleasing Satan, not God.
I was saved by faith in the grace God gave me through His Son, Jesus. Adam Clark’s Commentary from Biblesoft, 1996) defines grace as “Favor or kindness without regard to the worth or merit of the one who receives it and in spite of what someone deserves. Grace is almost always associated with mercy love, compassion, and patience as the source of help and with deliverance from distress.”
Deliverance from distress. Not wallowing in distress.
Grace. Do I deserve it? No. But God loves me so much, He gives it anyway. His Grace.
It is all I need.
Adam Clark goes on to explain grace using 2 Corinthians 12:9
My grace is sufficient for you (I will not be permitted to sink under my afflictions. My enemies will not be able to prevail against me).
My strength is made perfect in weakness; therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness (The more, and the more violently I am afflicted and tried, being upheld by God’s power and prospered in all my labors, the ore eminently God’s power well be seen and acknowledged. For the weaker the instrument God uses, the more the power of His grace is manifested. My infirmities do not mean my corruptions, or sins, or sinfulness; for it would be blasphemous for any man to say I would rather glory that God leaves my corruptions in me, than that he should take them away)
So that Chris’s power may rest on me (That God’s power may overshadow me as a tent, or tabernacle, giving me shelter, protection, safety, and rest).
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Strong in the power of the Holy Spirit. Strong enough to say NO to Satan.
Forgiven. Filled with grace. Protected. Able to rest. Free.
Thank You, God for grace.
I accept Your grace. And then, I will extend Your grace. So You are glorified.