I had some grand plans for this Coronavirus furlough. I had visions for cleaning the house, catching up on home improvement projects, being more consistent in my exercise routine, and getting more sleep. I thought of this time in the most idealistic ways possible. It was going to be a time of refreshment and renewal.
But I have to tell you that I have been feeling like a miserable failure. This has been one of the roughest stretches I have had in a while. I am eating junk food. I am not exercising. I have not been writing. I have been short with the people in my family as the stress has piled up. I have been as busy as ever with the work of the Church, trying to figure out how to do church in this new normal. I constantly feel as if I am behind, trying to catch up, trying to get a breath of air. There are things that I think I should be doing that I am not doing. There are other things that I want to do but find myself unable to do. There does not seem to be enough hours in the day.
I find myself tired — physically, spiritually, relationally, and emotionally. I find myself short on energy. And I have been hard on myself.
There are many times preachers are preaching to themselves. Those seem to be the most impactful messages. And the message I need to hear right now is the message of grace. God has extended his grace to me through the cross of Christ. And I need to extend that same grace to myself.
I too often rely upon my strength. But my value is not found in the things that I’ve accomplished. I am not measured by my shortcomings. My value is found in my identity as a child of God. I am measured by the righteousness of Christ.
Maybe you need to give yourself some grace. You are struggling with figuring out how to be a home school parent. Or you are struggling with making sense of what your work looks like in this new environment. Or maybe you find yourself watching endless hours of Netflix. It is easy to be hard on yourself and to think that you should be better. You think the answer is to try harder.
But what you need is a little grace. Sure, you can do better. We can all do better. But it is okay. We are all learning to navigate this together. None of us have been here before.
What is the source of that grace? It starts with God’s grace. Before you give grace to yourself, you need to know grace. You can’t give what you don’t have. So stop! Listen! Let him pour into you!
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.(2 Corinthians 5:17, ESV)