Today’s devotional is specifically for screwed up people. If you are less than perfect, if you are starting the 3rd day of this promising new month and the promise is already screwed up and you realize it’s kinda like 97% your fault, if you are a good starter/bad finisher, big talker/little doer, or somewhere in between, this is for you.
If you’re living in a house with screwed up people, work with screwed up people, or share a highway with screwed up people, this devotional is for you.
Okay great – we’re all here!
Romans 3:23-24 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
I sin, regularly. I fall short, every darn day. And for this, through Jesus, I have grace.
GRACE IS THE UNDESERVED FAVOR OF GOD
Maybe you deserve God’s favor more than I do, but I’m going to be honest and tell you I’m banking on God’s grace because I have a very unique and special way of screwing things up. I can be so totally scattered that I drive organized, routine people insane. Having a conversation with me is like having a conversation with 5 people at once because I can jump from one topic to the next at lightning speed with no warning. I can literally see my husband’s face jerk from left to right and back to left as he’s trying to chase my rapid thoughts.
And for all of this I have GRACE.
And for all of your screw-ups, shortcomings and totally random quirky ticks, you have grace too. God’s undeserved favor covers you. Ahhh, don’t you pretend like you’re not screwed up in some way. You don’t have to be all self-righteous with me. I know you’re jacked up too! I’ve spent enough time with enough people to know it’s not just some, it’s ALL of us!
I consider grace like a blanket that just layers right over all the holes in my life and makes me worthy and holy. God has been offering you GRACE your entire life – have you accepted it? Or are you still trying to beat yourself into submission, trying to contort yourself into something you’re not, relentlessly seeking more, newer, skinnier, and perkier? How’s that working for ya? You’re exhausted aren’t you? Won’t you just surrender to God’s grace and let him cover all that for you?
One of my secrets to success is my Daily Checklist. I’ve shared it with you before, my simple little tracking tool of the daily stepping stones to success. Each day has a series of boxes. A box for your wake up time, exercise, healthy meals, making your bed, devotional, and whatever else would be a daily step to your success. And each day you get to color in the boxes you complete. It takes us back to getting a star on our paper when we were in first grade and we can’t wait to show it to mama when we get home. We’re so proud of our little colorful boxes.
Until we screw up … until we oversleep and that box is left blank. Until we fail to exercise and there’s another empty box. And dang that bed didn’t get made. One day goes by, then another of more empty boxes than colored boxes and pretty soon you know what we start doing … we start AVOIDING the checklist. What once helped us is now just an ugly reminder of how we screwed up again.
The same thing happens outside of a daily checklist. When we don’t do what we know we need to do in life, we start avoiding LIFE. Relationships – we avoid relationships when we know we have failed. Finances – I mean who wants to look at the bank statement when we know we’ve been blowing our money? And so we avoid the areas where we’ve had a mis-step and what happens when you avoid it? Does it get better? No – of course not. It gets worse.
Have you been avoiding something, only to watch it get worse? Covering your own eyes, pretending you don’t see? Well that’s a recipe for a pile-up in your own life! Yet we do it don’t we? Facing our own truth is hard. Admitting we have failed, we have slipped, well that’s painful. We naturally avoid pain.
There are a whole lot of marriages in crisis today because of a little neglect that grew out of control and neither the husband or wife wanted to face that initial mess up. And it doesn’t just stop at marriages. Moms and daughters no longer speak. Sisters won’t be in the same room with one another. Life long friends have severed ties. All because of a little neglect that grew out of control.
So what do we do? We receive and we offer GRACE. Grace grace, God’s grace. Don’t you know it’s NOT God’s plan for you to beat yourself up again today? Don’t you know it’s not his plan for you to wallow in regret and self-hatred? Don’t you know you could never earn what God is offering you any way … like ever. Your good looks, good plans and good works simply are NOT enough. You are screwed up woman … and you’re surrounded by other screwed up people in a screwed up world. And this is where grace comes in.
Here is God’s 3-Step Plan of Grace:
STEP 1: Receive his grace
STEP 2: Offer your grace
STEP 3: MOVE ON
When I look at my daily checklist and recognize a series of days with unfilled boxes which represent my failure, I have a little trick to stop the guilt trip and create a clean slate. I draw a box around the days I messed up, didn’t show up and didn’t do what I needed to do, and write in big bold letters GRACE. It works the same with a calendar. Have you failed so far this month? Write GRACE over days 1 and 2 and put a star on 3 and write START HERE! Yes, you can truly start TODAY and receive grace for the days you missed.
Receive grace. That’s step 1.
Step 2, offer your grace.
They may not deserve forgiveness, but neither did you.
Luke 6:38 says “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”
I require a whole lot of grace in my life, therefore I offer a whole lot of grace. If I’m not willing to offer grace, how will I ever receive grace? The amount I give will determine the amount I get back.
Some of us are holding grudges, recounting the offense, reliving the story over and over again. And maybe you are completely justified for feeling the way you do. But let me ask, would you want God to hold a grudge against you? Would you want him to throw your failures in your face every time you try to talk to him? Nah, I didn’t think so. Sounds like some grace is required and you need to be on the giving and receiving end.
Here’s a practical example: Have your kids royally messed up? Do their bedrooms resemble a disaster area? Have you tried everything to get them to fix it? May I suggest something totally radical?
May I suggest walking through their room with a clipboard and make a list of everything that is out of place and wrong. Sit down with them and go over the list. Then take a bold black marker and write GRACE across the entire paper. Ask if they would like your help to get it fixed. Turn on some music, resist the urge to nag, and just get it done with them. Then smile at them and say “enjoy your fresh start.”
Boom. That’s grace. They need it and you need to give it.
Apply this wherever needed today. For yourself and for others.
Know that’s exactly what God does for you. He sees every single mess up you have made. He knows every time you have been unfaithful, didn’t show up, didn’t do what you said you were going to do, chose what was easy over what was right, every time you made the wrong choice. He sees it all and he writes GRACE across your list of shortcomings. Grace. His undeserved favor.
This is what He is offering you today. Receiving it makes a world of difference. You don’t have to wait until you’ve fixed your mess to receive it. You don’t have to wait until you have it all figured out either. All you have to do is humble yourself and say “thank you God, I receive your grace.” Like a blanket that covers you and fills all your shortcomings, ahhhhhhhhhh be covered in God’s grace today.
And step 3, move on. Welcome to your fresh start.
Offer up a fresh start for other screwed up people today, as you receive your own, and take the next step today.