You know the people…
…those who are human, yet striving to be superhuman.
…those always, always, always working toward perfection, and are never satisfied.
…those working to please way too many people…trying to make them proud.
…those afraid to share their imperfections, faults and fears, even to those closest to them, because they’re afraid of rejection.
…those afraid of asking questions that challenge the status quo because they don’t want to sound stupid or be seen as rebellious.
…those dying to be all of who they are to everyone, but fear they’ll be abandoned.
If you don’t think you know someone like that, read my bio. Look at my picture. That was me.
Then came Grace. Real Grace.
Not the grace you say before you eat…and not the trite religious jargon.
Here’s the thing. I went to church almost all my life. I thought I knew what to say. I thought I knew how to act. Everyone always saw me as the good girl. God forbid they know my questions, doubts, faults and fears. I needed to hide those. From everyone. Even God. I thought I had to do a lot to make up for the things no one would ever know. I thought I had to prove myself. I had to prove to God that I loved and believed in Him. To me, my pursuit of perfection was the same thing as my pursuit of God. That was the way it was supposed to be, right?
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
Chasing approval and perfection? Pointless. Embracing the approval and perfection I finally realized I already have? Priceless.
For me, the realization was a process of logic, really. I believed Jesus came to save me. But save me from what? If Jesus brought “Good News,” what was it? Having to hide things? Pretending to be perfect? Being judgmental and closed off from the rest of the world in fear it might taint or impede my own pursuit for perfection?
No wonder people are leaving the church by the thousands. They’re searching for Good News…not an empty set of rules or rituals…or a pursuit of perfection they know they can never attain.
Why did God send Jesus again? To show us the law could be fulfilled? Or to fulfill the law for us?
HA! There’s the catch. You cannot do it better than God.
Sorry to break the news to the religious crowd, but He already fulfilled the law FOR us because He knew we were incapable of living up to His ideals.
The problem is that many Christians acknowledge grace, but forget that Grace came to earth as a loving human being and left footprints in the dirt. They forget that Grace loved so intensely that it lived perfectly just to die and pay for all of humanity’s imperfections. They forget that Grace showed its power and resilience when it returned to be our advocate and make imperfection irrelevant. They forget that Grace tells us there is no condemnation in Love.
Now, that’s Good News.
Grace…the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God.
Stew on that for a while. Free means there is no exchange. Free means nothing you have to earn. Free means nothing you have to pay for. Ever. Ever. Ever.
Grace is not religion. In fact, Grace stomped on the face of religion. Religion (and pursuit of perfection) makes you selfish. Grace (and acceptance of who you are) empowers you to be selfless.
Grace constantly transforms me.
Grace allows me to stop worrying about myself so I can focus on letting God’s love overflow from my life into the lives of others.
Grace shows me humility…because there is nothing I can do to make God love me more…and there is nothing I can do that can make God love me less.
Grace teaches me that the point of everything is Jesus…is Love…and everything else is ancillary.
Grace brings hope.
Grace overwhelms me with gratitude.
Grace is so big, so kind and so generous that I cannot fully understand or rationalize it.
Grace erases imperfections. Forever.
Grace changes the game. Forever.
Grace lives. Forever. And nothing can separate me from it or take it away.
I can now be fully alive…unafraid…and eternally connected to Unfailing Love.
Dump religion. Dump perfection. Dump approval. None of it matters.
Let Grace embrace you…God will take it from there.