Giving Grace to Yourself
by Morgan Callaway
At the beginning of every year, I choose a word to focus on and it just so happens that my word for last year was GRACE. I recently went back and read some of my journal entries from 2016 and the word grace seemed to litter every page. I don’t think I used that word so frequently because I chose it to represent the year, but rather because I truly believe God was trying to teach me something greater.
If you’re anything like me, you know what it’s like to be a Type A, firstborn perfectionist. I constantly overthink, I’m too logical for my own good, and I have uncharacteristically low self-esteem. I also plan, lead, and organize things that are probably none of my business, and yet socially, I’m an introvert. I’m the mom of the friend group and everyone can count on me to come through with whatever they need, whether it be a listening ear or some chapstick. Sound familiar?
I know all of these things about myself – some, I’ve come to love and embrace, and others seem to be a thorn in my side. Part of being a perfectionist is that we subscribe to the “I Could’ve Done Better Club.” So what if I graduated from college with honors? It wasn’t the highest honor, so I could’ve done better. So what if I’m trying to save money and pay off a few student loans? I still live with my parents at 24 – I can do better.
These are just some of the lies that I have told myself recently. And friends, let me tell you what. It’s exhausting. This stream of dialogue in my head is wearing me out. And you know it’s bad when it filters down into my time with Jesus. Or rather, the lack thereof. Anytime I slack on my quiet time, or I get lazy about talking to Him in the day-to-day, I beat myself up. The guilt and disappointment drown out any attempt at quality time with Him and make me feel as though I’ll never be good enough or that I have to over-compensate for what I neglected to do in the past. I start to believe that He won’t answer my prayers because I didn’t ask Him enough or I only came to Him out of desperation.
But these are LIES – lies that are planted in the most vulnerable part of my heart to draw me away from Him and not TO Him. Jesus doesn’t say that I have to earn His forgiveness or His salvation or His grace. He just says that I need to receive it. He doesn’t look at me the way I look at myself – He doesn’t say, “Oh, you messed up again. You were slacking. You chose to watch Netflix instead of spend time with me. Way to go.” He looks at me and says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9) If my Heavenly Father, who created all things and is wholly and supernaturally perfect, can look at me and see no flaw, then I should be able to give myself the same measure of grace.
It’s easy to say, “Don’t be so hard on yourself,” but it’s more difficult to live it out. It’s a daily process of looking in the mirror, seeing yourself the way Jesus sees you, and putting that burden down because He didn’t give it to you to carry. You may deal with the same issues I do or you may have some other part of yourself that bothers you, but we all have something. And I’m so glad that I have a God who can carry that yoke with me – He didn’t give it to me, but He hasn’t allowed me to have this burden for nothing. He is using it to turn my eyes to Him, to show me what is important, and to mold me into a better person for His glory, not for mine.
I don’t know about you, but I want to always remember that even if I don’t reach the goals I set for myself – God loves me still. And He will never leave me or give up on me. Because His grace is sufficient for me in all things, and He doesn’t look at me and see a flawed, screw-up of a human being. He sees His child and He sees my value and my potential and will always be there to cheer me on and welcome me home.
He would not have created me or put me here if He did not have a purpose for me. I wish I could remember that in the moments where I feel most vulnerable or when I wish that I could be anyone but myself. But I can’t, because I’m human and only Jesus can be perfect, no matter how hard I try. I’m so thankful for a God who is gentle with me because I’m not as strong as He is. He understands how I feel and why I do the things I do because He was human too. Nothing I do can ever make me worthy of His love, but in His goodness and grace, He takes my broken pieces and binds them together. He calls me chosen and loved beyond comprehension, even when I can’t see it for myself.
Friends, let’s decide today to be gentle with ourselves. Grace isn’t something that can be earned – it’s a gift that you have to accept. All He asks is that you give your struggles and your worries and your imperfections over to Him. You can fight all you want, but you’ll never understand grace if you keep trying to reach heights that don’t exist apart from Him.
As for me, I will take my bruised and broken heart and place it in the hands of my Father. And I will rest in the knowledge that He knows exactly what He’s doing and that He loves me so much more than I can ever know. He is the only one who can cover me in grace and make me whole. Despite my doubt and my mistakes, He will make something beautiful out of me yet. And He’ll do the same for you.
Morgan Callaway is a native Texan and a 2015 graduate of Texas Christian University (Go Frogs!). She's passionate about Jesus, design, baseball, pizza, useless trivia facts, and her Golden Retriever named Jazz. In her spare time, she loves to write, travel, cook, read, go to concerts, and spend time with her friends and family. Be friends! Follow her here: Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest & Website