Photo taken by my late husband when we were on a Snake River Dinner Cruise.
“Jesus answered, ‘If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me’.” John 21:22 NIV
“Progress not perfection.”
Many of us have slipped during our Christian journey. Peter did too. We’re in good company! I did. You did. Those thoughts and behaviors we thought were completely behind us, banished through grace, become whack-a-moles. We started our journey with high hopes and joy—peace even. Then our Black Sheepness creeps into our thoughts and behaviors. Uh-oh! I slipped at eight months of sobriety. Uh-oh! I spent too much, ate too much, bragged and… However, I did not stay in my slip. It was no longer comfortable to be someone I’m not any longer. I’m a New Creation! Grace lifts me up, puts my focus back where it belongs (Him) and I don’t wallow in shame, self-pity, blame or other sticky, icky behaviors. It’s my responsibility and the Holy Spirit puts me back in good standing.
What happened? I compared myself to others and was found lacking. I didn’t ask my Father for help. I dwelled on my shameful past, which is history by the way, and tried to cover up. And blame? Woo-hoo! There’s so much of that to go around and avoided God’s mirror. Too busy pointing fingers.
God’s standard? Perfection. Jesus.
Where was my focus? On me. Not in a healthy, introspective way. It was more glory-seeking, scrounging for other people and things to validate me. Affirming a scarcity mentality.
Each day my Father reveals to me things that need work in me and my life. He does this gently, firmly and not in a condemning way. Condemnation and judgment are not from above. Correction is. He works with me and with each improvement, comes compassion, generosity, peace with hope for myself and others, if I keep my focus on where it belongs—Him.
Thank you for your never-ending patience, love, mercy and strength. With you, the past is past, the future is yours, we live in the present together. When I fall, and I will, lift me up and hold back shame, anger, regret and fear. Remind us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, especially when we slip, mess up, sin. Help us to remember that Perfect Love casts out fear. There is no punishment.