Learning to Rest In Grace
I feel like I have earn love. I have to earn your love, my parent's love, my husband's love.. my friend's love...GOD'S LOVE. And when I am slacking in this continual "earning of love" I carry around guilt. Guilt has been my constant shadow for as long as I can remember.
I am buried with guilt and shame when I do not serve the poor as much as I think I should, when I do not volunteer at food banks as much as I think I should.. when I do not live up to standards that have been placed on me.
And this leads me to believe that God is unsatisfied with me as His child, that he looks down on me and sees the gifts He has given me and writes me off because I am not using them as much as He wants me to.
I think a lot of this is rooted in the doctrine in which I was raised. That one little hickup, or slip of the tongue will cast me away from the grace of God. So, the majority of my life was spent walking on eggshells.. and when I DID slip up, I worked as hard as I could to reconcile myself back into the good graces of God.
I did not understand or know Grace. It has been a four lettered word that has sounded beautiful to me, but so very foreign from my understanding.
When I first became a wife, I would apologize continually for not doing the dishes quick enough, or not feeling well enough to go out to eat.. or not wearing the clothes I thought I should be wearing as a wife. My husband would always return these apologies with, "Meg, why do you think you have to earn my love? I love you for WHO you are, not what you DO." And I didn't get it.
Then I started learning about Grace.. and my world was ROCKED. I did not understand how my God could love me unconditionally. Not based on anything I did, but WHO I WAS. I did not understand how he could look at me with delight, even when I mess up. Or how I could not do anything to earn His love- it was already there, waiting for me to take hold of it.
To be honest, I still do not fully understand how this Grace thing works. It is so hard for me to wrap my mind around. It's like I'm learning about a whole new Savior.
The old me worked and lived in the "faith" of law and works instead of Grace and the Spirit.
The new me is learning how to rest in Jesus by faith, knowing that I do not have to be working harder to be faithful.
I am learning that in all of my efforts to "fix" my sin, or work harder at being a better Christian, I was making myself an idol- leaning on what I could do to EARN His favor. I thought because I was the problem, I needed to be the answer. And now I am realizing that I was so self-absorbed in thinking I could fix myself.. instead of resting in the Grace of a loving God who had gone before me and spread His Grace all over my self-righteousness and sin.
And now as I am learning to live my life in the context of His Grace, my heart is being transformed. I am learning to love as Christ loves. No longer am I so self-focused in thinking I need to be working harder for the Kingdom to earn His favor.
Instead, God is putting a new heart inside of me.. I can now forget about myself and learn to live and love in the shadow of His Grace..pouring out His love on others. Not because I think I HAVE to to earn His favor, but because I want to because His spirit is pouring out of me.