The Freedom to Grow

 

Well friends, it’s a new year! Another chance to reinvent ourselves, try new things, make commitments that we really intend to keep. In junior high and high school, I used to make a list of resolutions before each school year. They would always look something like this:

1. Curl your hair everyday
2. Be on time
3. Don’t be so awkward and shy
4. Dress cuter

The only trouble is that I could write them out today and they’d still apply. Late everywhere, not that cool and not that fashionable, a hopeless procrastinator, painfully slow at getting things done, a perfectionist to a fault: you know, human.

 via

As the years have gone by and countless lists of resolutions have remained unconquered, I’ve started to wonder if maybe God made me this way? Maybe He had a perfect plan for all those imperfections? Maybe they would serve to unlock a creativity and an introspection and a compassion in me? Maybe they would reveal an overwhelming need for Grace, for a Savior, for Someone who loves me just as I am, who could wade through my mess to love me and protect me and know me?

I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with the phrase “don’t let perfection be the enemy”, because it’s the attitude I most desire to adopt, but then again it describes me most precisely: if I can’t accomplish something to my own standard of perceived perfection, I throw in the towel.

In my adult years, my resolutions have looked something like this:

1. Read through the whole Bible in one year
2. Have my quiet time with the Lord every morning, before the kids wake up and the day’s demands begin to nag at me
3. Work out consistently

Nothing wrong with those, they’re all noble goals. Until I skip one day of reading and give up altogether unless I can catch up. Then I oversleep and resign myself to the fact that I’ll never be able to know Him the way I desire to. And,instead of toning up with my new workout regimen, I gain ten pounds and decide I’ll never fit into those pre-baby jeans and I’ll never feel good about myself.

The Truth is, those are all lies, straight from the enemy, designed to keep me in bondage to my perfection and failure and perceived lack of progress. And God rebukes all of them:

He gently whispers that I’m beautiful. (Psalm 45:11)

He reminds me that I’m running a marathon, not a sprint. (Hebrews 12:1-3)

He promises that all of this is just part of the story He’s writing for me. (Philippians 1:6)

He knows that I’m human and He knows better than anyone else the implications of my humanity. After all, He gave His Son to redeem me. (John 3:16)

Do I cheapen Christ’s sacrifice by deciding that I need to secure my own redemption through some arbitrary accomplishment or sacrifice? Because I will never measure up, does that make me a hopeless cause?

He has always known I’d never measure up. That’s why He died: to bridge the gap between His holiness and my every flaw. He knows all of it, and He covers it completely. His blood gives me the freedom to grow under grace, not out of obligation or self-disdain.

In 2013, let’s live in that. Let’s live in the space where Grace covers and joy overflows. The space where a God who knows us intimately still loves us lavishly. Enough to come into our mess, pick up the pieces, and redeem them for His glory. Let’s abide there.

Can you just imagine the beautiful change and growth that would spring forth from a resolution like that? That’s where I’ll be this year: Ever aware of my brokenness, ever in awe of His sufficiency.

 

 

 

 

a sweet guest

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