Do you have a really hard time forgiving yourself, or getting over stupid stuff you’ve done? Cause I do. I still remember things that I said years ago that were well-intentioned but didn’t come out quite right. I’m still aching inside over something that I said this summer with the greatest of intentions which I don’t think came out exactly like I planned. I second guess myself a LOT in that arena. I haven’t lied many times in my life (not because I’m perfect, but because I have such a guilty conscience), but I had to laugh at myself last week because I realized I was considering looking up an old friend and apologizing to him for a lie I told him when I was probably 7 or 8. I’m not kidding. It was a lie regarding Winnie the Pooh and McDonald’s toys. And I still remember it. I don’t know if you’ve seen this floating around Pinterest or the internet in general but it pretty much sums up my life:
Somehow it’s easier for me to forgive myself for major mistakes that I’ve made than it is for small stuff. I’m not really sure how to put into words the reason why, so let’s just go with the fact that I need closure and need situations to be “settled” before I move on. Whatever the reason is, I really have the hardest time letting things go.
All this to say… I messed up this morning. It wasn’t a huge deal. I left my backpack at home and didn’t realize it until we were about to pull into work. And of course this always happens on the days that Tyler and I work in two different buildings. That means that one of us has to drop the other off before continuing on. Now granted, we only live 1 mile from work, but there were at least 7 traffic lights between us and home that we had to make it back through, twice, in order to drive back, run inside for my backpack, and drive back to work. It was 8:45 when we turned around in my work’s parking lot to go back. We both had to be at our respective work locations at 9:00. I told Tyler not to worry about it, but he turned around to go back anyway. I felt like an idiot. Why am I so forgetful?! Why can’t I just get my crap together and manage to get to work on time, with all of my belongings?! I wish I could say this is the first time it’s happened, but it’s not. As I’m beating myself up the entire way, Tyler is cool, calm, and collected. I apologized profusely approximately every traffic light we had to stop at. He kept telling me it was okay and to relax. Finally, we had a conversation like this:
Me: I’m sorry.
Tyler: It’s okay, babe.
Me: Are you annoyed with me?
Me: Right now?
Now, granted, this doesn’t seem like a big deal to you. But sometimes I’m just incredibly aware of God using my husband to show me a glimpse of my Heavenly Father’s love for me. This morning, Tyler’s love for me was evident. It was only a backpack. Mostly chapstick and an iPad. I wouldn’t really miss it until break, anyway. But the point is, when I was feeling like a royal idiot, Tyler made me feel like it was okay—I was still lovable, it wasn’t a huge deal, I may be annoying sometimes but he’s committed to me and he loves me. I realize that sounds cheesy, but in that moment God tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Remember? I still love you. Stop beating yourself up about every little thing. There is grace, even when you mess up. Big or small. The love I have for you is unconditional.”
What joy there is to be found in grace. Free and unmerited favor. Love that isn’t defined by the level of which you “deserve” it, because it’s not dependent on anything—it just is. God’s love isn’t based on my behavior, it’s based on His character.
I am so blessed to have Tyler in my life as a reflection of that love, but the truth is exactly that—it’s a reflection. You don’t have to be in a relationship in order to experience that kind of grace and love, because the best human love is merely a reflection of the love of Christ.
“For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” –1 Corinthians 13:12 NIV
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV
“He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace.” 2 Timothy 1:9a NIV
But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:4-5 NIV
* * *
This post is a part of the series 31 Days of Finding Joy. Interested? Click here!