Discouragement is nipping at my heels. Anxiety is wrapped around my ankles. When I close my eyes, I see myself sliding into a sink hole. To say I'm stressed would be quite an understatement.
Grace and works are warring again in my mind. I get that I don't have to "do" anything to earn my salvation and to receive favor from God. And, yet, there is just much that needs doing. I am always behind. It's hard to remember that you are justified in Christ when He's not the one clamoring for dinner, or demanding payment on money owed, or scrutinizing your dirty house.
I've heard many times that "God is the only one you need to please". Except, that's not really true, is it? We all have responsibilities. When I was a child, I needed to please my parents. In college, I needed to please my professors. As a wife, I need to please my husband. As an adult, I need to please the IRS, my employers, the therapists who treat my son, the other moms in my homeschool group, church leadership, and on and on it goes.
So how exactly does this grace thing work in all of this?
The reality is that even if I did none of the things I am responsible for doing, God is pleased with me. I know this because when I was still a sinner, He died for me. Before He was even on my radar, He was wooing me to Himself. All the rest are waiting to judge me when I fall short, and God? Well He comes up beside me and makes up the difference.
I am okay, as is.
There is much about me that needs redemption and yet, He only sees me as already redeemed. That is the mystery of the gospel that Paul referred to. It's a mystery because we cannot fully grasp just how for us God already is. We keep trying to perform, to do, to be good enough to win His approval and we have little concept that we already have it.
The other piece of the mystery is that once I get that He is pleased with me, I want to please Him. Not in a way that is self-serving, like, "Gee, I hope He likes me"; but instead, in a way that wants Him to be blessed.
So I will meet my responsibilities to my husband, the IRS, my employers, early intervention therapists, our homeschool group, our church leadership team, etc, because that's what God, who loves me whether I do or not, has called me to do.
I think He'll be pleased.