I’m not a shop-a-holic… mainly because I have no money. But I think I’m a Change-a-holic. I love change. I crave change. I am easily bored with routine and the same old, same old. (I’m pretty sure adult ADD is setting in. If I ever get Alzheimer’s no one will notice.) So my short attention span combined with a natural free spirit is lethal for personal disciplines like exercising, sticking to a diet, and doing my daily devotions. Were personal disciplines are concerned, “failure is always an option” (thank you Mythbusters).
Ugh, my daily devotions! I go through spurts where I do really well and then I slack off for weeks at a time. But here’s the thing about that. God is not condemning me for that- that’s Satan’s voice that condemns- God’s voice says, “Welcome back, I’ve missed you!!”
God knows how I’ve wasted my time, he saw me do it. It was no surprise to him, but he’s ready to start today fresh and new. The Bible says, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases (even when my love is inconsistent) His mercies shall never come to an end (even if I walk away from him- his mercies don’t depend on my actions, they are a fundamental part of HIS character and he never ends) They are new every morning (even if I don’t claim them every morning, and even if many mornings have been awash in failure, each day is fresh and given with the same level of joy and hope and love as the last day was given) Great is THY (not my) faithfulness, O Lord, my God!”
Put it this way. I’m a mom. My children are not perfect. But I don’t love them any less when they are naughty or any more when they are well behaved. My relationship with them is permanent. It’s founded in who I am and who they are: I am their mother, and they belong to me. My relationship with them never changes because who I am never changes. It’s the same with God. Our relationship is permanent. It’s not dependent on my behavior or my conformity or my consistency or my faithfulness. It is based on who God is and who I am. He is my Father, my Creator, my Savior and I belong to him. He’s my Father and I’m his child. I am his… forever. Period.
Since there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1) I think about all the centuries of Christians who lived and died without owning their own copy of the Bible. They didn’t do daily devotions (I mean like reading a chapter a day) and I’m sure they made it to heaven because we are not judged on our faithfulness… we are judged on the faithfulness of Jesus who was faithful unto the cross!
All that to say- give yourself grace. Grace to grow. Grace to fail. Grace to start fresh each morning. Grace to be human. Grace to say I’m not ALL TOGETHER yet- I’m a work in progress. Grace to move overseas, speak Spanish like a toddler, feel overwhelmed by culture shock and homesickness, have no idea what you are doing or what is expected of you, feel like you’re a big fat fake of a missionary because you hate praying and fasting, eat rice and beans until you’re sick of them, sit in church and wish that the pastor would just shut up because your Spanish brain burned out 20 minutes ago and you’re ready to go eat lunch… (Oh wait, that’s me, not you).
Give yourself grace and give others grace too. Grace says “Failure is always an option, but it’s not the end of the road.”
It sounds like you need to find another church where you can grow, serve and love on the people…
Well, we’ve visited every church in the city. We DO love the people here, and that’s really what’s keeping us here. The pastor and his wife are wonderful. But it’s not just one church, this is a picture of several churches in a couple different countries over many years. I’m just noticing a pattern.