My life is probably a lot like yours. Busy. Full. A bit crazy and hectic, with so many things vying for your attention. On most days, I handle it all pretty well.
And then on others I feel myself buckling under the immense weight of self-induced guilt. The whispered thoughts attack me from all sides.
Your daughter’s baby book is waiting to be finished, and you haven’t even ordered recent pictures.
You aren’t keeping a clean enough home. Just look at all that clutter piled up. You’d have more counter space if you just cleaned.
You’ve fed your son buttered noodles and broccoli for five nights in a row!
Your yard isn’t going to plant itself. How can you stand to have a lawn of dying weeds among all these lush landscapes of your neighbors?
I try desperately to ignore this inner voice, this whisper that points out my shortcomings and failures. I try and I fail. I allow the guilt to shove me to the ground where I feel desperate and alone, wondering how I’ll ever manage to stand back up. I call out from the wreckage, and my friends, dear sisters in Christ, send me these lovely words:
Give Yourself Grace
These words often bring me some peace, but what do they mean? How does this work?
This seems all well and good, this premise that we free ourselves from our guilt, that we tell ourselves “It’s okay!” But the more I prayed on these words, the more I felt a nagging voice urging me to look further and dig deeper.
What’s wrong with giving ourselves grace? The answer is nothing…as long as your heart is first open to the full grace in Christ.
“Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance…cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Cost of Discipleship
If we are to be freed from our self-induced guilt, we must first turn to Him, repent of our sins that have gotten us into this mess to begin with, those sins known and unknown. Let the Holy Spirit open your heart to receive his mercy and pardon, and accept His grace fully and joyfully.
The thing is, we don’t have the power to truly pardon ourselves. When we attempt to skip a step and go straight to self-grace, we cheapen it. When we attempt to give ourselves grace, we abuse it. We misuse it. We distort it until it’s no longer grace, but an excuse. The grace we show ourselves is earthly, weak, and incapable of providing the redemption we need, even for the smallest of sins.
Truly giving yourself grace isn’t about giving yourself anything. It’s about being open to His grace and fully accepting it, not just for the big hurdles, but for the tiny every day stumbles.
All the glory is His alone, and all true grace comes from Him alone.