#2 Many, many times I have made the wrong choices, but I have usually been able to gloss over the mistake.
#3 Sometimes, though, it can't be glossed...Sometimes, I just really, justifiably, deserve a punch in the face.
Thankfully, no one has ever physically punched me in the face, but I think it might feel better than that gut wrenching feeling you get when you've screwed something up and there's absolutely no way you can take it back.
I hate that feeling.
I had that feeling recently.
Outwardly, the whole situation is really no big deal. It's what it exposed in my heart that made me feel like a squished jelly bean...on the bottom of your shoe...being smeared into the ground...over and over. Broken and dirty, and a big, fat mess.
Over the past few months my prayer life has been really disappointing. I didn't really feel like praying - it was a chore. I didn't really know what to pray - I just went through the list. I knew something was amiss, I just couldn't put my finger on it. It turns out that being broken is the perfect cure for a crumby prayer life. :)
Once I hit that "squished jelly bean" state it was like the flood gates were opened. It all poured out, and then some. As I prayed I kept having flashes of all my "tiny", faithless, yet outwardly innocent, decisions. I needed something from the Word so I opened up the YouVersion Bible app on my phone and the verse of the day was more than enough. It spoke Grace.
I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus (1 Cor. 1:4).This is probably not one of the most impressive verses in the Bible, but the Lord knew that all I needed was a reminder of His grace. It's great...it's a gift...and it's only through Jesus.
So, I kept praying and thanking God for His grace. He helped me realize that most of the mistakes I'd been recalling, and the one that finally broke me, were stemming from the fact that I spend a lot of my time looking for a "blessing".
I've been looking for how God might bless me today, or tomorrow. What will He provide for me today? Or even, how can I serve God today (because I know I'll feel blessed if I do)?
It's selfish, and I'm sorry.
I know God wants to bless those who follow Him, and I know He will always provide for my needs. He doesn't tell me to seek those things though...Just to seek His kingdom and righteousness (Matt. 6:33).
So, what to do?
Romans 12 pretty much sums it up:
- Present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice (vs. 1)
- Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (vs. 2)
- Not to think more highly of [yourself] than [you] ought to think (vs. 3)
- (vs. 9)
There's so much there, but the first point says it all..."present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice." Dying to self. It's a moment by moment decision.
Thankfully Christ's grace is more than enough.
And He has said to me, “ for you, for power perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me (2 Cor. 12:9).