God’s been teaching me a lot about grace in the past few weeks. Like many of you, I’ve been tricked into setting impossibly high standards for myself, resulting in an overwhelming and ongoing sense of failure. In this mind-set, I never allowed myself to receive God’s grace because, of course, I wasn’t good enough for it yet. It sounds like a personal problem, I know. However, God has shown me clearly that if I don’t receive His grace for myself, I lose the ability to give grace to others. Ouch. I was OK hurting myself, but I never meant to hurt anyone else …
So, to stand up against the lie of worthlessness, I have to learn to receive God’s grace. This includes more than just accepting the facts that He died for me and He allows me to talk to Him. This means I have to accept the facts that He designed me just how I am, He chooses me every single day, and He has given me a crown in place of the rags I once wore. That’s right. I have to see myself as a daughter of the Most High King. And for me, that’s substantially more difficult than it sounds.
But He’s helping me adjust to my role as His much-loved and honored daughter, and He’s proving to me the importance of being able to give grace. For instance, this morning, He spoke to me by way of a daily e-mail devotional. Here’s what He said: “Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many” (Hebrews 12:14). Bitterness grows in the places that aren’t occupied by grace.
And here’s what He said to me last night before bed in a devotional book a friend gave to me just the other day: “You may fall because you are not perfect, but your mistakes can be the tutors that make you wiser. Don’t put pressure on yourself to be perfect. I’m the only One who can perfect you, My princess” (Sheri Rose Shepherd, His Princess: Love Letters from Your King, p. 140).
In my mind I don’t want to abandon the pursuit of perfection. I want straight A’s; I want to sing perfectly every time I step up to the mic; I want to be the perfect wife and daughter and employee; I want to be skinny and beautiful and flawless. Can you relate? Giving up the pursuit of these things in itself feels like a failure. But in my heart, I want desperately to grasp the very real promise that I am a princess because of what my King did for me on the cross. He paid a huge ransom for me, and I don’t want to reject His gift any longer.
I don’t know what your feelings toward the words “princess” or “prince” are—it feels extremely uncomfortable to me after convincing myself all these years that I’m unworthy to know God—but maybe my transformation into the “p” word will help you embrace your privilege and your right to consider yourself a chosen, much-loved daughter or son of the King. Remember, you were never designed to be perfect; you were only designed to accept the cloak of perfection Jesus bought for you with His life. Go ahead, wrap yourself up in it.