Grace – More than Enough!
For the past few weeks I have been in the grip of an awful virus that sucked every last bit of energy out of me. I cannot remember feeling so sick, in a very long time. No matter how hard I willed myself to get out of bed and do something productive I just couldn’t do it.
Lists went unchecked, boxes were not ticked, plans were cancelled, and goals were not kicked! This is the third time this year that surgery or sickness has taken me out for an extended period of time. I don’t like it! The last two and half weeks have been torture for a ‘doer’ like me. The fatigue and nausea of the flu still lingers and despite my best efforts, a few days ago I was forced to cancel my participation in a mission trip with Esther’s Voice in Cambodia. I hate letting people down and I hate being confronted by my own weakness.
As I lay in bed, frustrated by my own frailty, the vulnerabilities that have plagued me since childhood resurfaced with a vengeance.
I did my best to focus on all that I had to be grateful for, supportive family, access to great medical care, kind friends and a comfortable bed. In my head I knew that I just needed to be patient and let the healing journey take its course. Unfortunately my emotions were not in alignment with this truth. As I lay in bed, mindlessly scrolling through other people’s social media highlight reels on my phone, I became increasingly despondent. I was not achieving anything, I was missing out on everything meaningful and I was becoming a waste of space, an oxygen thief! Even as I type this I know how melodramatic it sounds. I can partly blame the fatigue and delirium of Influenza A, but the sense of hopelessness and worthlessness was very real!
The longer I lay there, disconnected from actual, real people, the more I began to entertain thoughts that were not helpful or Godly. Voices that questioned my value, worth and security grew louder in my head. Thank goodness for the Bible. As I flicked through its pages I realised that despite past declarations about my total reliance on God’s unconditional love, I was not living from that place.
I had begun to believe that my efforts and activities made me deserving of God’s grace and approval. Praise and affirmation from others equalled praise and approval from God, right? Now that the effort and performing was on pause, I felt like I was slipping out of favour with God.
Of course He still loved me. He has to love me doesn’t He? But I felt sure that He, and others were a little disappointed with me. Then I read this!
I am no longer driven to impress God.
Christ lives in me.
The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God,
who loved me and gave himself for me.
I am not going to go back on that.
Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God?
I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace.
Galatians 2:20,21 (MSG)
Time for a heart reset.
I don’t need to impress God. He is not an angry employer, a distant father, a fair weather friend or an angry judge. I’m not working for God in order to appease Him. I am walking alongside Him because I love Him, and more importantly, He loves me. He doesn’t need my efforts, events, or output. He wants my attention and affection, and that I can give freely, regardless of how productive I may feel, or appear to be. He does not allow my weakness to be revealed so that he can exploit or shame me, he reveals it to heal me.
It is a truth that I sense I will spend my whole life trying to comprehend; God loves me completely, just as I am. If I do not ‘achieve’ another thing for the rest of my life, He will still love me. My weaknesses, vulnerabilities, frailties and failures do not disqualify me from God’s love; they make me the perfect candidate to live in his grace.
My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen.
I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift.
2 Corinthians 12:9 (MSG)
I am slowly starting to feel better. More importantly I have been forced to confront a few of the lies that had crept in to my relationship with God and I can now replace them with truth.
God loves me because of who He is, not because of what I do.
God does not want to use me, He wants to be with me.
These two simple truths are now more deeply embedded in my heart because I have had to face my own frailty. I haven’t enjoyed it and have done everything I could to avoid it. The reality is, my weakness is a gift not a curse. It’s only in acknowledging my brokenness that I am able to live in wholeness. Amazing grace, it is more than enough.
It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness..
And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.
2 Corinthians 12:10 (MSG)