There have been many seasons in my life from which I can share stories of how God has worked, but throughout my entire life I have found one thing to always be consistent: God’s grace will always be so much more than anything I could ever achieve on my own.
I was raised in a wonderful church that taught me about who Jesus is and how I could have a personal relationship with Him. At the age of seven, I decided that I wanted to accept Him as my Savior. I didn’t realize it then, but this decision was about to rock my world. I was surrounded by adults and friends that wanted to see me grow in my faith. Since I respected these people and trusted their authority, I immediately began trying to please them. I went from being the girl that was always a little nervous to go to Sunday School because she didn’t want to be asked a question she didn’t know, to being the girl that was dedicated to memorizing her verses for the week and trying to have perfect church attendance.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was trying to earn a gift from God that I had already received. I wanted to be absolutely sure that I was worthy of salvation. I wanted to feel like I was good enough to approach God’s throne. I wanted others to think that I never messed up, so I tried to hide all my flaws, even from God. This led me on an exhausting chase after righteousness, but I could never be satisfied enough to allow me to find rest. I tried to have the best grades, be the perfect daughter, and make church my second home. I was doing good things, but I wasn’t doing them for the right reasons. One day, as I was studying Scripture, I came across something that humbled me to the core:
All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. - Isaiah 64:6
Hearing from the Word of God that all of my good deeds were like soiled rags was challenging for me to believe at first. I didn’t realize how much faith I had been putting into my own deeds until Scripture showed me they were “filthy” compared to the righteousness of God. While this was hard for me to hear at first, I was quickly reminded of a simple Gospel truth that I had known for years:
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. - 2 Corinthians 5:21
God sent Jesus to earth because we will never reach perfection on our own. Jesus paid the penalty for our sins so we never, not even once, have to rely on ourselves. God didn’t choose me to be His child because of something I could do. In fact, He chose to redeem me because of what I couldn’t do. Finally, I could rest.
When I realized this as a young teenager, I had a huge heart change. It was like I finally found a door that God had always had open for me, but that I had never explored. In this door, He had an abundant life for me that I could experience because I was truly resting in His grace. I didn’t have to do anything to earn God’s love; He had offered it to me before I even wanted it.
Soon after, I found it was hard to keep the grace and forgiveness that was given to me from overflowing. I learned that attending church, reading the Bible, and telling others about Jesus aren’t just things that you should do to mark off of a checklist. They are things that naturally come from being filled with the Spirit and following His guidance. I started desiring to know the God that created me and loved me as an intimate friend, not just a higher power that I had to please.
As someone who has struggled with constantly trying to be enough for God, I’m here to tell you that you are enough. There is nothing you could do to make Him love you any more or any less. He is seeking a deeper relationship with you than ever before and is always ready to welcome you home. Sisters, stop trying to fill your planners with things trying to accomplish grace and rest in the abundant love that has already been given to you.
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