How to respond to the in-your-head monologue with grace?

God loves us even when we screw up.

I don’t know why, but this always amazes me. Really? God is still willing to take a chance with me? In spite of my crummy choices?

It’s not what I typically tell myself. My internal dialogue runs along the lines of…

  • I can’t risk that. I might fail.
  • I can’t do that. I’m not good enough.
  • Who do you think you are, that people should do as you suggest?

But God keeps trying to help me replace this grinding, degrading voice. God reaches out to me, reminding me again and again, with a message of grace-filled love:

I’ll give you another chance.
Try it. I’ve got your back.
Hold my hand when you are afraid.
You are mine. I love you!

In our Rotation on the Parable of the Prodigal Son, we hear others suffer from wounding self-talk:

  • The younger son was telling himself a story: “I am no longer worthy to be called your son” (Luke 15:21b).
  • The older son also had a story: “All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends!” (Luke 15:29).

Jesus shows us how God responds to these storylines:

It’s not about deserving; it’s about receiving.
Open your heart to receive my gift.
It’s all about grace.

Can grace guide us to counterclaim our hurtful head-chatter?

a gift is brought by a little bird

Perhaps you have heard it said during a Baptism:

All this is God’s gift to us, offered without price.  [1]

Grace is a free gift from God. There is no way to earn God’s forgiveness. Sins can’t “go away” by performing lots of good deeds to make up for the bad ones. Grace is God doing for us what we can’t do for ourselves.  [2]

What story are you telling yourself?
Try changing the words you say to yourself; make it be your remade mantra.

God loves me no matter what. Can I treat myself the same way?

Grace isn’t only a truth about the way God operates; it transforms us. As we open up to God’s continuing offers of grace, we can find ourselves responding by becoming more Christ-like in character and conduct; more loving… even towards ourselves.


[1] The Services of the Baptismal Covenant are found in The United Methodist Hymnal.
[2] I don’t know who first said that but it sums it up nicely don’t you think?

Photo credits:
A delivered gift by LaughingRhoda, who licensed this photo on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.

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Accept mistakes and celebrate grace

It’s a nasty train of thought that I’ve carried with me for a long time:

But it’s not perfect!

All of my life I’ve been a perfectionist. In the 2nd grade when we were creating self-portraits at school, my mother was mystified by my insistence that I wear the same dress for several days in a row. (I wanted to get the details just right.)

I recall in 8th grade getting a “D” in Art class because I couldn’t finish my projects; I couldn’t get them to be perfect.

It’s a disease and I know that others suffer from it too. (Like the 5th grader I worked with who was afraid to estimate an answer to a mathematical problem because, well, it could be wrong!)

I think perhaps it is something that we teach ourselves to believe?

Here’s the pitch I’m repeating these days: Jesus is bigger than any mistake.

Try this at the family dinner table (or wherever your family is gathered together): Have everyone (adults included) share a mistake that they made that day. Repeat the process on a daily basis.

Child tends broken seedling

Exposing and naming our goof-ups teaches our kids that:

  • Everyone makes mistakes;
  • Home is a safe place to confess our sins;
  • When necessary, forgiveness can be extended;
  • We can all celebrate God’s gift of I-love-you-anyway Grace.

It’s not too late to learn: Jesus is bigger than any mistake. What learning is happening in your family?

Photo credits:
Click here for info on banner photo (not visible in readers or email).
Broken seedling by D. Sharon Pruitt, who licensed this photo on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.