Grace has always seemed like a gentle thing to me. A soft something that settles down in the heart unnoticed at first, but there, nevertheless. And we feel it’s peace. The thing is, I’m not good at grace. I might be good at giving grace to others, but when it comes to receiving it for myself, that’s a whole different story.
I think we all probably struggle with being harder on ourselves than we are on others, but for some of us, it is magnified, especially if we struggle with perfectionism.
If you struggle with perfectionism one of the things that you may be doing is putting entirely too much pressure on yourself. It’s a vicious cycle because perfectionism tells you that you are never good enough. And that’s the total opposite of what grace says.
Grace would tell you that you are enough, because of Who God is. He created you and He loves you. All of you. Just the way you are.Grace tells you that you are enough, because of Who God is.Click To Tweet
If you listen to perfectionism and the voice inside your head that says you are not good enough, you are in for a rough journey. It’s a path that leaves no room for receiving God’s grace.
Satan doesn’t mind us traveling this road though, and this is because he wants us discouraged and defeated in all areas of our lives.
He especially wants to defeat us in our prayer lives. Prayer is where the battles are fought and won. And Satan is always the looser. This means that he will do everything he can to discourage us and keep us from praying. Often, these discouragements will come through negative thought processes.Prayer is where the battles are fought and won. Click To Tweet
One of these negative thought patterns involves the tendency to be way too hard on ourselves which creates a whole lot of unnecessary pressure in our lives.
Think about the things we say to ourselves sometimes. We would probably never say these things about other people, but we might constantly repeat them to ourselves.
• “I skipped my prayer time today. God will be disappointed in me.”
• “My prayers seem too simple. I’m not really smart enough.”
• “I don’t really understand the Bible. Who am I to be talking to God?”
• “My life is so chaotic. I’m a mess. God wants someone who has it more together.”
• “I’ve done some pretty bad things. There’s no way God can accept me because of the things I’ve done.
This list could go on and on, couldn’t it?
But there is an answer for this, and it starts with a renewal in the mind that comes from focusing on the Word of God. We have to learn the truth about ourselves and then we need to be thinking from within those truths. When we do this, we can accept the grace that God has to offer.
God is not condemning us for our shortcomings or weaknesses. Ironically, the Bible tells us that His strength is made perfect in them. This grace that God gives is for everyone. We tend to freely give it to everyone else, but we fail to receive it for ourselves.
Let’s look at a verse about the grace of God that might give us some real insights to help us along.
2 Corinthians 12:9 says this:
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9, NKJV)Click To Tweet
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9, NKJV)
I don’t know about you, but I love this. Doesn’t this just take the pressure off? We can say so many negative things to ourselves that we begin to believe those things. But this verse gives us truths we can count on.
•God gives us grace.
•His grace is enough.
•His strength is perfected in our weaknesses.
Wow! That is plenty, but look at the hidden treasures we’ll find when we go back to the original Greek word meanings!
The word “grace” comes from the Greek root word charis (xáris). This word refers to the Lord’s favor. The HELPS Word-studies (which you will find on this page at Bible Hub) explains the intent of the Greek word xáris in this verse with these words:
xáris – freely extended to give Himself away to people (because He is “always leaning toward them”)
I love the picture these words paint of God always leaning toward you and me. He loves us like that. Isn’t that just amazing?
And let’s look at the word “perfect” in this verse. That one is always hard to understand anywhere we find it in the Bible because in general, we do not have the correct definition of what the word “perfect” actually means. (You can read more about this topic HERE and HERE.)
In this passage (2 Corinthians 12:9) the word “perfect” comes from the Greek root word teleitai, and it is only used this form on this one occasion in the entire Bible! That makes it pretty special here in this verse. Teleitai is a form of the Greek word teléō. This word gives us a neat picture of what perfect means in this passage.
HELPS Word-studies (which you can find on this page at Bible Hub) tells us that teléō means “to complete.” But we also find the following insight because this word is made up of several smaller portions which have meanings of their own.
Tel means reaching the end. It is well-illustrated with the old pirate’s telescope, unfolding (extending out) one stage at a time to function at full-strength. (Helps Word-studies)
When we consider these additional insights the verse becomes even more meaningful!
•God is always leaning toward us to freely give Himself away to us.
•This is enough for what we need.
•Perfect in this passage means “complete.” (It doesn’t mean without mistakes.)
•His strength is completed one stage at a time in our lives through our weaknesses so that we can function at our full capacity. (Think about the telescope!)
Can you imagine that in our very weaknesses we can find completion through the strength of God working in us? It’s almost too deep a concept to understand! But that’s OK. It’s another thing we don’t really have to fully comprehend because His grace is enough.In our very weaknesses we can find completion through the strength of God working in us! Click To Tweet
He’s given us so much. His power lives within us (Ephesians 3:20). We can think like Jesus because we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). All these things mean we can also receive His grace and give it back to ourselves (though His power, not our own). We can take the pressure off ourselves by refusing the negative self-talk, experiencing His truth and accepting His grace for us.
In receiving His grace and speaking His truth into our own minds, we can let go of feeling so discouraged in our prayer lives. God just wants time with you. He is not asking you to be that “I’ve got it all together” type of girl. As a matter of fact, the more weaknesses you have, the more strength He gives!
Remember what 2 Corinthians 12: 9 says. His strength is made perfect in our weaknesses. Repeat that to yourself daily and don’t let the enemy attack you in your areas of weakness. He has no power there because that’s exactly where God is the strongest in your life!
When you feel like being hard on yourself and find negative self-talk running through your mind, remember this acrostic:
G – Grasp God’s Grace
R – Refuse Negative Self Talk
A – Ask for God’s Help
C – Claim Scriptures
E – Experience God’s Truth About YOU!
I’ve placed this along with some other helpful information into a printable to help you. You can find a downloadable version of this inside the resource library.
Will you join me this week in accepting God’s grace? Let’s make a conscious effort to turn away from the negative self-talk. Sometimes it’s a daily battle. But we can do it, friends! Remember, His strength is made perfect in our weaknesses!
You’ll find each one of the verses listed in this post is linked to its page at Bible Hub where you’ll find many free resources for further study. Just click on the verse reference to get there.
What strategies help you when you find yourself headed toward negative self-talk? I’d love to hear your comments on this!
Dear Lord, Thank you for being a God of grace. You lean toward us with arms full of love, ready to give Yourself away to us if we will just receive. Help us to reach up and grasp the grace you freely offer. Show us how to shower that on ourselves so that we can turn away from the pressure we place on ourselves in any area and especially in our prayer lives. In Jesus name, Amen
This post may be linked in other encouraging places! Click HERE to find out where!
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