Little Acts of Grace

Fail.

Yep.  Been there.  Done that.  Gonna’ return despite my best efforts.  No matter how hard I try, at some point in time, I am going to fail again.

And no.  I’m not trying to be a pessimist about final  exams.

We live in a perfectionist culture–a culture driven by the extremes of laziness and perfectionism.  If you’re on the perfectionist side, failure is bad word.  It’s worse than bad–it’s accursed…taboo…non-existent in your vocabulary!   To fail is unacceptable.  And you may do everything in your power to keep from failing.

How do I know?  Because…”Hello, my name is Specs.  And I’m a perfectionist.”  I like things to be in order.  I’m task-oriented.  Let me check off my check-list and I am a happy camper.  I like seeing “A”s written on projects.  I like hearing “I loved your story!” in Storytelling class.  I like things done well.

So you can imagine my frustration this semester when I couldn’t get my tasks done at work in time…when I locked the keys in the wrong safebox and couldn’t get them out…when I kept getting an 89 on every project I turned in…when I practiced the piano for hours and couldn’t play a simple hymn in piano class…well, you get the idea.

If I was reminded of nothing else this semester, it is that I am not perfect.

Doesn’t sound so earth-shattering, right?  I don’t think of myself as perfect.  But I do have expectations for myself.  And when I don’t measure up, I consider myself a failure.

Don’t worry.  I’ll grow out of it.

But if I learned something in a new way this semester, it has been through little acts of grace.

Grace most simply defined is receiving a gift you don’t deserve.  And guess what, you can’t earn grace.  You can’t be good enough for grace.  And you need grace because, like me, you’re not perfect.

I look back over my work and school this year.  All the times I couldn’t get my work done.  All the times I really didn’t know what I was doing on my projects.  But I prayed and worked and prayed and gave the results to God.  Because I remembered quickly this year, “Oh yeah.  I can’t do this by myself.”

Yet God has blessed me through little acts of grace:  a good grade I didn’t deserve on a project I was stumped on, cookies and a gift card from my amazing team of co-workers despite my frazzled nature and failures at work, friends to eat dinner with, music to listen to, and a Bible of my very own to read.  Little things.  But filled with grace.

I do not deserve good grades, gifts, friends, music, or anything good at all.  I cannot earn my co-workers’ regard.  Yet they gave it.  It was a gift.  I cannot earn God’s love.  But He gives it.  It’s a gift.  “But God, Who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ.”–Ephesians 2:4-5

Love is a gift.  You cannot earn it.  You cannot deserve it.  So accept it.  And rejoice.

 

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