There is something about the way music can bring us back to a time and place or the unique way lyrics can stick with us for a lifetime. I was 17 and on my way to a softball game, when a song came on and stopped my busy mind dead in its tracks. I was consumed by the story within the lyrics….
“I’m the cripple on the corner, You’ve passed me on the street ….. I lost my wife and little boy when Someone crossed that yellow line. The day we laid them in the ground Is the day I lost my mind…… so Don’t laugh at me Don’t call me names Don’t get your pleasure from my pain In God’s eyes we’re all the same Someday we’ll all have perfect wings Don’t laugh at me”
This song still brings tears to my eyes thinking about the kind of pain many people are in. The choices any of us make are probably the best choices we know how to make. We all come from different backgrounds and situations doing the best we can with what we know. This song made me realize that I don’t know anyone’s story and so, I decided on my way to a game that day – to live my life with less judgment and more grace toward others. I’ve stuck to this commitment pretty well, however, it seems to only be for others because I can’t find the ability to give grace to myself.
“It seems to only be for others because I can’t find the ability to give grace to myself.”
I am my own worst critic! Do you know the feeling? Trying so hard to do everything right! I analyze myself a lot and every time I see a shortcoming, I work to improve it. As I focus on developing my new skills, all I can see my failures and inability to develop. I lose sight of the small and positive development I am making because I want the change to happen now – I’m impatient. I set out with a goal and a list of a self-improvement I’d like to make – and as soon as I see myself fail at it – I am instantly upset with myself – offering no grace for my lack of change. This is unhealthy and unrealistic self-improvement and I know it, which adds to the feelings of failure.
There is nothing wrong with trying to change yourself, as a matter of fact, we should put in great effort to live more godly lives, but it’s when we think we can become closer to perfection and don’t accept failure or when we think we can change on our own without help from God that we set ourselves up for failure that leads to disappointment and even hatred toward ourselves.
In my devotional the other night I read this: “How does the Holy Spirit work in your life? The answer is gradually: “And the Lord — who is the Spirit — makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image”. It doesn’t happen overnight – no change or self-improvement will. It takes time, mistakes, repentance and the continuous work of the Holy Spirit in us.
Now, Grace doesn’t mean we get a free pass to do what we want when we want, but it does require us to take steps to walk a more Godly life, to turn to God with prayer of repentance and to trust in the good work that God is doing within us. We need to let his grace be sufficient for us. We need to learn from our mistakes and not be crippled by them. God is doing a great work within in us, and this great work takes time – a lot of time. We need to receive God’s grace and give ourselves grace, we need to allow ourselves be transformed in our weaknesses and through the grace of God.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfect in your weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me – 2 Corinthians 12:9