It’s always been difficult for me to accept grace. My proclivity for perfectionism has made it nearly impossible for me to receive it freely from anyone, especially myself. This inability has caused major problems in my life. For years I starved myself—of food, of mercy, of love, of acceptance, of God. Somehow I thought self-inflicted punishments could atone for my my lack. People thought it was all about fat or thin when really, it was all about control. I had to compensate for what I couldn’t be, what I couldn’t give, what I couldn’t receive.
I eventually learned to accept God’s grace—the clemency I never could have earned anyway, but I didn’t allow into every area of my life. I compartmentalized it, only acknowledging it in certain places. I accepted grace for my body but not for my mind. And although I’ve made improvements over the years, I realize I’ve never let myself off the hook. I still punish myself by imposing unachievable standards. I sabotage my own ability to receive grace.
But today, standing clueless beside an espresso machine, pulling shots for the first time, making mistakes left and right, I finally grasped the concept: God doesn’t expect perfect. I don’t have to get it right all the time—I can’t get it right all the time. I have to allow myself time to learn, space to grow, room to breathe. It’s a process. Making no room for mistakes creates no space for growth.
He is perfect so I don’t have to be. He doesn’t ask me to be what I have no power to be on my own. I can rest in His mercy; He makes up for my lack. He does everything I can’t. When I give Him everything, mistakes and all, He takes it, siphons it through His love, transforms it for His purpose. He doesn’t need my perfection; He asks me to rely on His.
Be encouraged today. Jesus loves you, mistakes and all. He is perfect so you don’t have to be. Stop wasting your energy trying to fix what is beyond your repair. Rest in His grace—He is working on your behalf.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NIV)