Updated: Sep 6, 2019
Currently, this is the background picture on my cell phone. For the last few days, I have fallen off my fitness and nutrition plan and I needed to create some inspiration to start afresh. Even more than inspiration, I just needed a reminder that today could be a clean slate in reaching my goal if I chose it! How quickly I can forget that every day I wake up is a chance to begin again.
If I'm not careful, missing the mark just once in any area can set me on a downward spiral because shame begins to creep in. Shame occurs when we allow our shortcomings to define us. When we cross the line from “I failed” to “I’m a failure,” shame has taken the driver's seat. It’s the distorted belief that we are the mistakes we make.
Shame is debilitating. It can stunt our development on the job when constructive criticism from our supervisor sounds like "you're not smart enough." It can hinder our relationship with God when we lie down for bed at night and realize we went the entire day without speaking to Him once. Rather than rethinking our schedule for tomorrow to be sure we make time, we begin to drown in the sea of “you're not faithful enough.” Shame can convince us of the lies that we are simply not enough.
It took me years to identify my battle with shame. I didn't recognize it. I didn't realize in the negative way I spoke to myself that I was just partnering with the enemy to sabotage my destiny!
Another word for shame is "disgrace." Dis means "none." Grace means "the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God." Could it be that each time we accept the weight of shame we are inadvertently rejecting the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God? Hebrews 12:2 tells us that when Jesus endured the cross there was shame attached. Jesus was shamed when his closest friends abandoned Him at His final hours. He was shamed when He was stripped to nakedness and mocked for claiming to be the Son of God. Everything about the crucifixion was disgraceful and yet He suffered it. You know why? Jesus did it, so we would never have to. He pressed through disgrace, so we could stand on grace.
What a gift to be able to access begin-again-grace! It's extended to us at every moment and in every circumstance. We need only to take hold of it. To know of the grace of God and not tap in is a waste.
I'm learning to embrace grace in all areas of life. In the practical day-to-day and in the moments when I don't understand how it could rescue me from such a predicament, I'm determining not to waste grace. So, guess what I did. I met my goal for the day. I got back on track. I had moments when I wanted to step outside of my regimen, but I found strength in the assurance of a fresh start. I'm not overwhelmed by the thought of tomorrow's journey. I simply walked in grace today.
I don't know what you're still holding onto from your yesterday. I don't know what lies you have been believing about yourself. Maybe that voice inside is the one doing the accusing. But I do want to encourage you today to let Jesus know that the pain He bore for you was not in vain. When Jesus rose from the grave, grace began to charge through time and space to find you and take hold of you. It's time to mirror the movement. It's time to seize that which has seized you. It's time to utilize His grace. In any area today, if you choose, you can begin again.
"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me." (Philippians 3:12)