Wednesday was my day to do things around the house. I started out in a whirlwind of activity trying to make the day count. Of course, by count, I meant produce things, results. My caffeine fueled to-do lists hardly ever leave me feeling satisfied. In my mind, I imagine I possess eternity in the confines of a single day and the strength of Hercules for my tasks.
Later, feeling rather unsatisfied and frustrated, I sat and talked with a college student about grace and how it means “unmerited favor.” Grace is getting what we don’t deserve. Grace is not getting what I deserve. I evaluated my week and realized while I could say the right things, my actions bear witness that usefulness is a central value. I like to merit my favor.
Ouch. What does that mean for the crippled child? For the elderly? For children in general? For the sick? For the needy? For my dad? For me?
It’s easy to abide by this usefulness doctrine when life is going well. When I can produce and when I feel good about my behavior. It’s harder when life isn’t going well for some reason or my production fails to meet my expectations. For some, like my dad, it’s health. For me, it’s been grief and moves.
And, actually, when I stand back and look at my life, I’ve accomplished a lot in the last year despite huge change. So why is this still a monkey on my back?
Striving. Striving to measure up. Striving to find favor when its already been given me through Jesus. So this is a futile striving in that what I strive for is already mine. So silly.
The verse where God calls me to “cease striving, and know that I am God” comes to mind. To cease striving, I need not look to the work of my hands to see if they are enough or look at life and figure out if I’ve met my goals or behaved well enough, but know in a profound way that God is God. His purpose will be accomplished.
And, He accepted me by grace through faith.