The beautiful words of Jesus never cease to amaze me.
His kindness, his generosity, his goodness, his faithfulness. He meets us right where we are and yet because he loves us so much, he refuses to let us wallow in our mess. Like a good Father, he picks us up, dusts us off and leads us down a much better path, one that will lead to happiness, joy and peace.
But that’s not quite the story that’s painted for us Christians today…
Like Martha in the kitchen, we leave our Sunday services with a conviction that the more we do for God, the more we are accepted by Him. This may feel fine when we’re doing everything we think is good, but once we make a mistake (whether big or small) the overwhelming stress of unworthiness floods our minds and hearts, to the point where we start to disqualify ourselves from the plans and even the love of God.
We have to stop thinking that it’s what we do that determines how God sees us. In fact, it’s the other way around. What you do affects how you see God. When we mess up or go off in sin, it tends to distort our perception of God. The enemy will use your mistakes to paint a blurry image of a distant God, whose ready to scold your every misstep.
This is toxic thinking and it has to stop before it takes you down a road of bitterness and resentfulness.
When I first got married, I was a never ending mess of tangled insecurities, fears and unmet expectations. The longer I wallowed in my fears, the more of a burden I felt I was to God, to my husband and all of my friends, who had to put up with my insecure mood swings and eye glares.
All along I thought I was the victim but in reality, I was doing all of this to myself! The self-defeating thoughts and attitudes were in my mind by my authority. I chose to hold on to them. I chose to accept them and ultimately, I chose to suffer in my insecurities until one day, I just couldn’t take it anymore.
I thought to myself, “This isn’t working. I’m miserable. Either I need to change or it’s only going to get worse.”
Falling into insecurity and fear is a tricky thing, because the more time you spend as a prisoner in it’s chambers, the more you start to doubt if you’re worthy of being rescued. The freedom you long for so desperately is the one thing you discredit yourself from every receiving.
Mistakes don’t define you, but they can refine you… but only if you let them.
You weren’t saved because of something good you did or some merit you received, but because of who you put your trust in. The Christian life is a continuous journey of learning to trust on him for everything you need, want and dream about, not because of what you’ve done, but because of whose you are. “Grace” isn’t just a five letter word that got you on the nice list this year. It’s a deep magic that bound your tired soul to God’s everlasting peace and life. You are sealed by His love, bought with His blood and cared for by His faithfulness. Nothing you do will ever change that.
Should we want to do great things on this earth for Him? Of course! But not so that our picture can earn a more prominent spot on His fridge. You do that and your life will be full of stress and worry, never really knowing where you stand.
Don’t put your trust in something as fickle and uncertain as your performance. We all have bad days, seasons, years… God knew we couldn’t do it all on our own. That’s why He came on the scene and established a plan to get us back to Himself.
Like the Pharisees did with the woman caught in the act of adultery, this world will always try and tell you who you are. But if you’ll listen (or read His word) you’ll see someone else on the scene, whispering what He thinks about you. The question is, who are you going to listen to?
One condemns you without offering any solution to help, but the other bends down, lends a hand and gives you the power to live a life bigger than you could ever imagine. Jesus’ words to her are His same words to you, “Go, and from now on, be free from a life of sin.”
This doesn’t mean you won’t EVER sin. We all make mistakes because on this side of eternity, we’ve still got some old ways, thoughts and habits to deal with. He’s not expecting perfection from you. It’s an invitation to a life fully trusting in His ability, and not your own. He’s asking you if you’d like to join Him on the journey ahead, instead of sitting in our mess.
You make mistakes. You are not a mistake.
Stop caging yourself in to what other people have said you can and can’t do and start listening to the one voice that truly matters. Allow Him to untangle you from what’s held you back and start writing the story of your life well.