We’ve been talking about grace for the past few weeks.
• We’ve talked about how God’s grace was available for us before the foundation of the world. (See Ephesians 1:4 and read more HERE.)
• We’ve talked about how God gives us grace each day in just the right amount for what we need for that particular day. (See Ephesians 4:7 and read more HERE.)
• And we’ve talked about how grace sets us free. (See John 8:36 and Galatians 5:1 and read more HERE.)
Today we’ll continue our conversations about grace by looking at an insight that might help us, especially if we struggle with perfectionism.
Perfectionism can make it hard to receive God’s grace, and this issue holds us back in ways we often don’t see. Even if we do not struggle with perfectionism, this grace issue is one that many of us face at one time or another in our lives.
There can be many reasons why we find it hard to receive God’s grace, but one particular hindrance to receiving grace is the issue of our own expectations.
Expectations and goals can be positive if we can be realistic about them. But the thing is, our expectations can often be set too high and beyond what is attainable. When we fail to obtain our goals or expectations, we feel as if we have failed. That failure mentality creates a negative thought cycle in our lives that can be difficult to overcome.
Here’s a description from a previous post of how this happened in my own life. (You can read the post HERE.)
I’m not sure about you, but at times in my life (well in all honesty – most of my life) I created a lot of expectations. I thought things should be a certain way. I expected myself (and often others around me) to do, to be, and to act certain ways. My expectations became a list of requirements inside my mind that I felt I had to complete or follow.
The requirements I had of myself, combined with my desire to be what I thought other people expected of me, created pressure within. It was a pressure I put on myself to do more and be more than I was actually capable of.
Over the years I’ve seen myself develop this system of thinking in almost every area of my life – jobs, marriage, raising children, relationships.
Perfectionism is like that. When we struggle with it, we often find ourselves in a never ending cycle of never feeling good enough.
What we can’t seem to figure out is that the actual root of the issue with our failure feelings is not necessarily that we can’t live up to the expectations we have created for ourselves. Instead, the real issue is that we are identifying ourselves by our unmet expectations rather than defining ourselves by the freely given, merciful love of Jesus Christ.
When we start defining ourselves by the love of Jesus, and when we start drawing on God’s character and grace for our identity, then the hold that perfectionism has on us starts breaking. If we continue to move along in our understanding God’s grace, we will begin to understand the freedom that is available to us through that grace.
This doesn’t mean that our difficulties will end, but it does mean that we will begin to understand love better. We will start to understand who we are in Him. It’s His grace and love that should define us, not a set of expectations.It’s His grace and love that should define us, not a set of expectations.Click To Tweet
If we can come to this point in our lives, then we can begin drawing on the things of God for our value and worth as a woman.
Oh for the ability to do this!
But we DO have that ability because of what Jesus did for us, because of God’s grace and because God will help us. He sends the Holy Spirit to guide and lead us and to pray for us in ways that we could not even begin to understand and He gives us a strength that is catered specifically to our needs.
In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. (Romans 8:26, NASB)
My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:26, NKJV)
We are individuals, loved by Him in a unique way that reaches us right where we are. That’s the kind of love God has for us! Yet we often unknowingly set His love and grace aside because we are trying to earn His love through our own works and through striving for perfection.We set His grace aside when we try to earn His love by our works and striving for perfection.Click To Tweet
Let’s do some things to pull ourselves out of that cycle! We’ll start with God’s Word so we can soak in His truths. Then over the next few posts, we’ll ask ourselves some tough questions that will help us evaluate our own expectations and create more realistic ones. We’ll discuss how to step out of the negative cycle of relying on unrealistic goals for our identity, and we’ll also talk about how to pray for release from these unrealistic expectations.
Today, I’m just going to leave you with a Bible verse to think on and consider. How is God speaking to you through these words?
For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with
Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing! (Galatians 2:19-21, NKJV)
I also invite you to read THIS ARTICLE. It is a discussion I had earlier about this verse and about law and grace. I’d love to hear your comments after you read the article. You can leave your thoughts below with one of these posts in the comments section.
Until next time, many blessings!
If you click on any of the verse references in this article, you will be taken to Bible Hub where you will find free and helpful resource for deeper study.
How is God speaking to you through the words in Galatians 2:19-21? What does this verse tell us about grace?
Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for loving us just as we are, for coming to earth and living a human life so we could better understand Your deep love. Help us to live in grace rather than living by a list of our own requirements or expectations. Help us to know Your character so we’ll have a better understanding of your grace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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