Grace When You Don't Have It Together

You hit snooze too many times this morning when you told yourself last night you would wake up early no matter how tired you were. Clothes sit in the dryer from yesterday’s wash, and it is not because you forgot.  Your grocery list sits in the same spot since you have not quite made it out the door of your home this week for errands.  Your printer ate up all of the ink, and you desperately need that piece of printed out paper ASAP. The list possibly goes on.

You go for another splash of coffee. “Maybe, this will help.” You set up a comfortable spot to meet with God. You light a candle, straighten up pillows, turn on the lamps, and open the curtains for some good, mood-boosting sunlight.  As you sit to meet with God, your Bible is open, and your journal and pen lay in your hand.  Before you begin, all of your thoughts highlight how messed up you are and how incapable you are in finding a routine and sticking to it.  It would be different if this did not happen several times a week. “You are a failure. Look, you cannot even focus on God after setting everything up perfectly.” Perhaps it is almost time to go into work. It may be time to drop off your kids.  Maybe you hear your little one waking up.  Whatever it may be, you feel like your day is ruined.

If this is you, STOP listening to the enemy’s lies

John 10:10a says, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.”  Satan is seeking you when you are vulnerable and unsatisfied with your lack of “having it all together.”  He wants to steal your time with Christ in his word and instead, distract you in unhealthy thoughts towards yourself, your life, and capabilities.  He desires to kill your joy and destroy your day that would otherwise glorify God in your heart, affections, and actions.

But Jesus says in John 10:10b, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” You do not have an abundant life by how early you woke up, how well you followed your to-do list, or how much you seem to “have it all together.”  Christ gives us life by coming to earth as fully God and fully man, dying on the cross for the punishment of our sins, and ultimately in defeating death by raising from the dead!  As Christians, because Christ already paid for our sins, we have hope despite our failures in our daily life.  You forgot to take the trash out again.  You canceled fellowship because you were tired--again.  Forgetting to take out the trash, of course, is not a sin. Laziness is, however, and laziness typically exists as the root of our not getting things done (as much as we don’t want to admit it).

STOP and pray

When you find yourself in this predicament, stop and pray.  Often times, we decide we are going to sit down (in our made-up comfortable spot with our fresh cup of coffee) and finally get in the word and kill all distractions only to find ourselves listening to satan’s lies and dwelling on what we really need to be doing when we first turn to the passage we have set out to read.  Thus, stop and pray. And pray out loud! Something about praying out loud silences all other distractions and allows you to truly hear your heart. Confess whatever sin he reveals to you. Is it laziness? Is it an idol? Is it selfishness?  Praise him for waking you up today even if it was later than you desired.  The Almighty Creator of your heart can restore the joy of your salvation (Ps. 51:12). The Sovereign Potter of your mind can renew it and give you a mind like Christ (Rom. 12:2, Phil. 2 :5).

Ask God for grace

Coffee does not miraculously empower us to get through our day. Grace does.  Begin your day asking God for grace for that day. Try placing a sticky note on your coffee pot reminding you every morning of God’s grace to save you through faith and his grace that you need to make it each day in hope to glorify him. Put a verse to memory and fight. May we be a people who say, “Your grace is sufficient for me, for your strength is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast in my infirmities (in my lack of not having it all together) that the power of Christ may rest upon me (2 Cor. 12:9).”  When we wake up tomorrow, God already presents us with the grace that we need for the day. Sometimes we simply do not see it because we are not looking for it.  Pray for more of his grace. It will be evident. In return, you will be thankful, and God will be praised.