Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Grace Upon Grace

Submitted by Lara Cook
For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. John 1:16

In my office I have three calendars, 1 partially filled out planner, 10 daily devotionals in my inbox every morning, 3 online Bible studies I am currently trying to participate in, 8 books waiting to be read and 5 Bible studies I am “planning” on doing soon. I am a never ending work in progress, continually striving to be more than I am, and I am quite sure that I will never live up to my own expectations – obviously!  I do recognize my weaknesses and I am trying to be better on every front, and that is good, but I have had to let go of some of my expectations I have placed on myself, as well as my feelings of utter failure that washes over me with each glance of every unread book, every unmarked calendar or planner page, and every unopened or unfinished Bible study.
Part of all this is that right now in my life I do have a burning hunger for God, and a hunger to learn more and grow in Him.  But the other part is my feelings of inadequacy and failure. I am constantly trying to fix my broken self.  Never feeling good enough, never doing enough, and never accepting myself right where I am.  It is easy for me to wrap my identity up in what I accomplish, the Bible studies and books I finish (or don’t finish), the success (or failures) of my children or how clean (or unclean) my house is. I have an ocean of grace for everyone else but myself. I am learning that God has grace enough when I don’t have it for myself. I am so unconditionally and unquestionably loved and accepted by Him. If I ever feel sufficient in my own strength, I will never need Jesus. I have nothing to prove to Him, and also nothing to hide.  He knows it all and loves and accepts me anyway. In spite of all the ways I don’t add up, He still pursues me and wants a relationship with me.  He wants my heart and soul, my mind and every ounce of me – even the part that doesn’t live up to my expectations.
I will always have all my calendars and books and Bible Studies and planners and online Bible studies and devotions.  I will keep them and I will continue to seek God and His messages for me.  I will strive to do better, but I will live loved by God.  I will thrive in my struggles instead of thrashing.  I know I am loved and enough to the God of the universe.  This I will cling to, even while every day I push through and move forward in my desire to be something or someone more than I am. 

Scripture to Claim:
He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you; but will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17, NIV).

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