I was recently asked to speak at a local MOPS group. The topic was “The Wonder of Being the Best You.” I don’t know about all y’all, but when I hear that phrase “the best you” I immediately think of all the things I’m not good at: the qualities I lack or wish I had more of. I think, Ugh I wish I was more patient and I should be more kind, softer with my voice, more gentle with my words.
I went for a walk. As I thought and prayed about exactly what I would say when I went to give this talk, the word ACCEPTANCE kept coming back to me. I felt like God put a few thoughts on my heart, and I wanted to share them here with all of you.
The best you is a peace-filled woman, accepting of God’s love.
Accepting God’s grace means rejecting guilt. Easier said than done. Once I gave my life to Jesus, I thought I understood the concept of sins being washed clean and all past mistakes forgiven. I thought I understood. It turns out, not only did I not understand what accepting grace actually looked like. I was so paralyzed by the guilt and shame of previous choices that my faith hit a metaphorical brick wall.
When I was 26, I cried out to God in the middle of my first bout with cancer. I was broken, lost, and thought I was going to die. I needed Jesus to intercede and He did. From then on though, fully giving my life to Jesus was a gradual, lengthy progression of growth that took and is going to take several years.
I remember going to an in-home Bible study with my then-boyfriend Brent and bouncing through the door with all my I-already-know-everything-there-is-to-know-on-this-subject ignorance. I’m sure people secretly laughed at me. But going to that study at least sparked enough curiosity to continue growing and learning.
Ended up at Rock Church in San Diego watching Jim Caveziel speak about playing the role of Jesus in The Passion of the Christ. Listening to him recount all of the horrific things that happened to him during filming, as well as the beyond eerie similarities he shared with Jesus himself during the time of the film’s production, I left his talk curious and excited to watch the movie.
Went home and watched it. I’ve never cried so hard. It’s not like I hadn’t heard over and over about what Jesus had done. He died on the cross for our sins. God raised him from the dead. I had heard that probably 1,000 times in my life up to that point, but it never meant anything. It didn’t mean anything until I saw visual, theatrical account of what Jesus went through: the intensity, the pain, the suffering. Then I got it.
Even then, I still couldn’t get past my own guilt and shame for the things I had done in my life.
There were months where I just straight up avoided praying. I couldn’t even address God, Jesus, whoever. In my head, I was too screwed up and had made too many mistakes to be granted permission to speak. I was stuck spinning, reliving all of my previous sins over and over and over.
Why did I do this? Well, I know now it was because I didn’t know what God’s word actually says.
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”
2 Timothy 2:15
The best you is not ashamed. The best you lives in peace because all is forgiven.