Monday, August 25, 2014

There is Grace Here!

She sheepishly sticks her head in my office doorway, beginning her sentence with, “I’m sorry”.  This co-worker of mine has made a mistake she knows will cause additional time for me to sort out and fix.  She isn’t the first employee to enter my office today, presenting a problem that will delay my own work’s completion, and she knows it.  She proceeds to explain what happened, asking for guidance.  I pause, smile, and reply, “It’s okay--there is grace here”.

Same exhausting day, but now at home with my 13 year old daughter.  We’re discussing some tough stuff our family is walking through.  Both of our faces sporting tear-filled eyes, I assure her that I see her through eyes of grace and ask her to extend grace to herself.  Her simple reply is enlightening.  “But Mom, you KNOW I’m not good at that.”  {sigh}  She is her mother’s daughter.

Why is it that we oftentimes hold ourselves to unrealistic standards of perfection?  What part of us clings to stubborn thoughts that we always have to do better or be better?  I’m not saying we shouldn’t strive for improvement in all areas of our lives; but maybe, just maybe, we need to live under the extension of grace we more easily offer to others than to ourselves.

Sometimes this life can be daunting.  Mistakes are bound to happen.  And that’s okay.

There is grace here!

There is enough grace to go around for everyone; including ourselves.  After all, God’s grace is what purchased our salvation.  His grace covers us.

How easily we forget this.

“But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Ephesians 4:7

It is grace that brought us here, and grace will see us through!

Do you need to cut yourself a bit of slack?  Let’s examine our hearts, digging until we find what’s at the root of these unrealistic expectations we place on ourselves.

For me, it is the sin of pride.  I expect perfection from myself…always, in all ways.  Sadly, sometimes those goals of perfection are more about me feeling like I am “in control” than they are about me honoring God.  Thankfully, there is an abundance of grace for my repentant heart!

For others it may be fear.  A fear of failure or a fear of not living up to the standards others place on you.  Oh, sweet sister, there is grace!  It is okay to fail.  Get back up, dust yourself off and continue on the journey.  Don’t beat yourself up over the failures; use them as a catalyst to propel you further under the umbrella of His amazing grace.

For my daughter, she has spent her life being assured by her Daddy there will always be people better than she is and there will always be people not as good as she is.  He meant this as a life lesson in contentment; she views it as a challenge to catch up to the people who are better than she is.

I look at our girl, and I see so much of her dad and me in her competitive, driven personality.  I pray she will learn at a far earlier age than I have, that extending grace to herself unwraps a beautiful peace within.  Peace that can only be given by our heavenly Father.

Let’s find the proper balance of drive and grace in our lives.  Let’s stop being so hard on ourselves.  After all, by definition, grace is getting what we do not deserve.  When we bring our mistakes, our brokenness, and our heartaches to the foot of the cross, God says “There is grace here.”  His grace extends to us in our lowest place; it draws us up and forward.

How much more will God use our extension of grace within ourselves to transform us into His likeness?

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