“You don’t realize the power of your words,” a man yelled at me in the lobby of a public building.
Back in my journalism days, it was not uncommon for some people to be unhappy with the copy we published in our newspaper. This man just happened to be more passionate than most. He confronted me right before a public meeting and chewed me out for close to 15 minutes. I just let him yell with hopes I could hold the tears in until he was finished with his rant. It turned out, he had not even read the article and had to come apologize to me hours later for yelling at me without gathering all of the facts first.
All of my life I have struggled with insecurity and perfectionism. I will literally beat myself up over every little mistake I make. Similar situations such as this would run through my mind over and over again for days following the incident. Even though that particular incident was not my fault, I still felt as if I had done something wrong.
However, no matter how harsh others have been to me, I have come to realize it is nothing compared to the words I say to myself.
The perfectionist in me is constantly using harsh words to tell myself that I am not good enough.
I am not a good enough wife. I am not smart enough. I am not organized enough. I am not social enough. I am not kind enough. I am not a good enough friend. I am not pretty enough.
I will tell myself things like, “why can’t you just get your life together? You don’t workout enough. Your house is not clean enough. You do not read your Bible and pray enough.”
However, God has been working on my heart in this matter by constantly whispering one little word in my ear, “Grace.”
“But he said to me, ‘’My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
Grace is a free gift from God that we could never earn. If a perfect God can look on imperfect me with forgiveness and unmerited love, why can’t I give myself grace?
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8
Accepting God’s gift of grace is one of the most freeing experiences. When I start to beat myself up about mistakes, I remind myself that God’s grace covers me.
Instead of spewing hate and negative words toward myself, I begin to repeat God’s words of love and grace over myself in times of failure.
Perhaps perfectionism is something you can relate to. You are a work in progress, beautifully broken.
One of my favorite quotes is by American playwright Eugene O’Neill
“Man is born broken. He lives by mending. The grace of God is glue.”
Rather than striving for perfection, let the perfect grace of God cover you. He wants all your broken pieces just the way they are. Embrace all of the imperfections and welcome in grace.
“But where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” Romans 5:20