I'm not sure whether it's a sad state of affairs or an amazing one when I am looking back at my own archives and see just the post I need--because I'm dealing with the same issue again!
I read today's My Utmost for His Highest and was just struck by how much I expect God to expect from me. I journaled about it some, then remembered writing this.
originally published October 28, 2006
In my growing up years, I learned a very poor lesson about my own value. While my parents didn't set out to specifically teach me this, I learned that I was most valuable when I had something to offer. That is, if I could help out in some way or give something of myself or my own, then I had value, but coming to the table empty handed meant I wasn't worth as much. Although formally I was taught that Christ died for us all because He loves us so much, that lesson never really had the chance to sink into my heart, contrary as it was to my daily experience.
As an adult, I have begun to explore what it means to be under grace (Romans 6:14). When God chose to save me, and the rest of the world, it wasn't because we were pretty. Or talented. Or good. Or in any other way accomplished. And that's the whole point. If we could accomplish the means of grace on our own then why did Christ die?
In Romans 5:8, Paul puts it this way, "But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him" (MSG). I like the way Eugene Peterson has translated that phrase. Christ loves us, He loves me, because He chooses to do so. God thinks I have worth, just because of who I am, when I am unable to do anything for God.
I was sitting in a Bible study one evening in college, when this point was made by my friend Matt. He was drinking a bottle of Mountain Dew at the time. It had occured to him while he was buying the drink that this bottle of Dew was worth the 99¢ he spent on it. If he hadn't thought it was worth the price, he wouldn't have been willing to pay it. In (almost) the same way, God payed for us with the life of His Son, telling us, "You are worth as much to Me as My own Son."
Now that I am a parent, I can look at my daughter and recognize, at least in part, how God must look at me. There is a lot that my daughter is not able to do on her own yet. She cannot dress herself or make her own lunch or even change her own diaper (though a mother can dream). I don't expect her to be able to do all of these things because, developmentally, she is simply not there yet. I don't love her less because I have to stop whatever I may be doing to go change a messy diaper. I may not be excited about it, but I don't blame her for making a mess in her pants. She simply doesn't have the skills to keep from doing so at this point.
So many times, I get down on myself because I've landed face first in the metaphorical dirt. Again. I wonder at God's ability to have patience with me, one more time, making the same mistakes again. Yet, maybe that shouldn't be so surprising to me. God knows, clearly better than I, what I am capable of doing. He is not shocked that I can't keep my pants clean. He does not have the same unreasonable expectations of me that I seem to have of myself. He knows I'm prone to anger. He knows I get easily frustrated when too many demands are placed on me at once. He's okay with that. I am the only one who thinks I need to be perfect right now.
I've said before that I'm not a happy process girl. I like to see results. I've been trained in sociology and research methods. I like quantitative data. But life is mushy. My ducks refuse to stay in their row, and I exhaust myself lining them up over and over and over. Perhaps it's time just to let them roam the barnyard. I am not perfect. Repeat after me: I am not perfect. I am not supposed to be perfect yet. God isn't done with me yet. When I try to be perfect on my own, I'm just interfering with what He's trying to teach me in my imperfection.
May we all recognize our many blessings today.