The Tyranny of the “Should” left off at “How is it that the Lord loves me so that He sends people like this to me? I don’t deserve that kind of love.”
What do I deserve? I felt stuck somewhere between Jordan’s Elmo game yelling “Keep trying! Keep trying!” and Yoda’s, “There is no Try. There is Do or Do Not.” Oh, Lord, what “should” I do?
Over the last 20 years, I’ve slowly found pieces to my puzzle, and a big piece fell into place after Beth Moore’s September 14, 2013 Living Proof Live simulcast. Beth’s 2013 theme was “Under Grace” vs “Under Law” from Romans 6:14 (NLT): “Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.”
Freedom? All I felt was failure after failure, guilty as charged. But Beth taught that even though sin may increase, grace doesn’t just increase, it abounds (Rom. 5:15). Abundant grace. “Drown me in your infinite grace.” I pictured a teeny tiny “Finding Nemo” clown fish of sin swimming in an ocean of grace.
That picture kept coming back to me all week, and on Thursday, September 19th, I believe God gave me a picture of how He really sees me. I drew the picture in my journal, with my limited artistic ability, using stick figures. Saturday morning the 21st, Jordan Rose came in to join me as I was journaling again. I showed her the picture and explained it to her. She was so excited that she wanted to draw it too. I’ve attached the picture that she drew below. Here is what I explained to Jordan:
1) God is always looking at us, loving us, never leaving us. “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” (Deut. 31:6 & Hebr. 13:5). Just as the Father watched for his Prodigal Son (Luke 15:20), waiting for him to come home, not so that he could punish him, but so that he could celebrate the fact that he was home. He’s not angry with us. He waits for us, filled with love and compassion.
2) I am that Prodigal Son. I want my inheritance now and I want to go do my own thing. That is turning away from God, and it leads to one of two things: (1) I look at my dirty face in the mirror (my selfishness, pride, hopelessness, depression, anxiety, indifference, self-pity, whining, complaining, etc) and, unable to clean up my act, I see a reflection from behind me, like a wavy, distorted funhouse mirror, and God looks backwards and angry to me, or (2) I look at the things of the world, trying to forget about my dirty face and make myself feel better (food, shopping, people-pleasing, perfectionism, being a “good girl”, self-medicating, etc).
3) Jesus took on our sin – our “turning away” from God – on the cross. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46 & Ps. 22:1). Jesus had never turned away from God before (he had never sinned), so he felt forsaken as he looked out into the abyss that we see when we turn away from God. Jesus took on all of the “turning away” of all people for all time, nailed it to the cross, buried it, and rose again, leaving it all behind.
4) When we turn around (repent) and look into the face of God, we are living under Grace, coming back to the Father who loves us. When we look at our “dirty faces” in the mirror (trying to clean ourselves up) or at the things of the world (trying to fill the hole in our soul), we are living under the Law, turning away from God.
5) Our only job is to turn around. Turn from the mirror (staring at your dirty face won’t clean it), turn from the things of this world (they won’t fill that emptiness) and turn back to God (only He can clean us and fill us). “What is the work that God requires? To believe in the one He has sent.” (John 6:28-29). Look to Jesus, thankful that he took it all on cross. Turn to God and see the Face of Grace smiling back at us. He’s so thrilled that we’re home.
Click here for Part 6
“Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.” Romans 5:2 (NLT)