Giving Yourself A Break & Some Grace

Throughout Holy Week I'll be sharing some prayers from a book I've been using as a prayer guide through Lent: Prayer: Forty Days of Practice.  I hope that these prayers and the reflections that accompany them will be meaningful to you as we journey with Jesus through Holy Week.  

Prayer for Thursday of Holy Week: 

May I have hope for myself the way I do for others. 

The prayer for today prompted me to reflect on the number of personality assessment courses that I've taken over the years.  Spoiler alert:  I've taken a lot of them, but here's the skinny on where you'll find me on some of them:

I'm an ENFP on the Meyers-Briggs assessment.  I'm a "D" on DISC.  I identify as a "3" on the Enneagram.  My number one Signature Theme on Strengths Finder is "Achiever." 

You don't have to know a lot about these kinds of assessments to understand that I'm probably pretty hard on myself when it comes to performance, results, and achievement.  My biggest critic looks at himself in the mirror every single day. 

And here's the news for all of you:  No matter what the professional assessments of yourself might reveal, you probably face the same major critic every day of your life, just like I do.  We might be critiquing different aspects of ourselves, but we are still our own worst enemies. 

As a follower of Jesus, I work hard to be grace-filled to others and to give them the benefit of the doubt even when I'm not really sure where they are coming from.  I have even been working overtime lately to extend forgiveness to those who have wounded me, and forbearance to those who I vehemently disagree with. 

But give me a break?  Are you kidding? 

I think that the major reason we all struggle to extend grace and forgiveness to ourselves is that we have wrong-headed notions about God--notions that need changing dramatically.  In her new book The Gift of Wonder, Christine Aroney-Sine wrote the following: 
So much of what we learn about spirituality is negative.  We believe more in a God of judgment and condemnation than of love, joy, and delight. We live in dread of displeasing God or taking a wrong step that means we can never find God's best for our lives.
The sad fact is that most of us never fully realize just how much God delights in us, has joy because of us, loves us beyond all love.  Sine writes: 
That God delights in who we are and what we do now is a wonderful but startling revelation for many of us. 
May you come to the wonderful and startling revelation that not only do you matter to God, but that God takes great delight in you.  May you embrace your role as a joy-bringer to the Almighty and may this give you confidence and hope. 

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen. 


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