The Power of the Red Pen
I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose. Galatians 2:21
That one little red mark glared at me. Mocking me. Telling me I wasn't quite good enough. I needed to try harder. Disappointment seeped into my soul filling up the cracks of my self-esteem with self-doubt and inadequacy. It didn't take much for this people pleasing, perfectionist to feel like I had missed the mark and failed myself and everyone else around me. You see I have spent much of my life building my acceptance based on my performance. I have lived a carefully orchestrated existence choreographed to the things I know I can do well. My dance steps of life are slow and simple designed to a beat that plays to my strengths and not my weaknesses. My self-esteem, carefully tied to my perceptions of the expectations of those around me, would come unraveled when I felt like I didn't quite measure up. If I could be good enough, then I would be loved and accepted.
Paul addresses our need to measure up and earn our acceptance with God through our behavior in Galatians 2:21. He says "if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose." In other words, if we could be good enough, then Jesus didn't need to die. Did you catch that? If we could earn God's acceptance by ourselves by following the "rules" and being "good girls," Jesus died for no purpose. His death was in vain-because we could do it ourselves. The problem is I can't do it myself. No matter how hard I try to choreograph my life, someone steps on my toes and I get out of step ruining the perfect dance. And, God is telling me to stop. Stop trying to be good. Stop trying to please everyone. Stop trying to earn his love and acceptance. Stop trying to orchestrate everything. Stop working at trying to be perfect. Stop. Just stop. Because if I could be perfect, then I wouldn't need Jesus.
God's word says it's not about me. It's about God's grace. God says I am accepted by grace. I don't have to earn acceptance. My worth is not loosely tied to my ability to please others. It is tightly wrapped in his unlimited grace and love. Red marks on my school papers don't diminish my worth. Instead of letting those marks of disappointment seep into my heart, I need God's grace to wash over me and fill the deepest recesses of my soul.
I need to stop trying to choreographic my life and let him lead while I follow his steps across the dance floor.
I need to learn a new dance step.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for grace. May this truth seep deep in my soul. I want to stop striving to please you and start following you. I want to settle once and for all my need for acceptance. I want to stop trying to be good enough by pleasing everyone and rest in the assurance that I am complete in you.
Between a husband, 2 sons, and teaching high school my sanity is found in running and Starbucks. I have a circle of running friends who inspire me to be authentic and real as I live a life of faith before them.