I woke up on the morning of my son’s third birthday party and immediately started rushing around. I had booked a party at the local indoor play center, so I was on task getting myself and everyone else ready for the perfect party day. From the moment my feet hit the floor, I was shouting orders to everyone in the house, keeping my family updated on what needed to be done. You know how hectic the day of a big event can be, so I skipped my quiet time that morning and went straight into busy mom mode.
In the middle of getting ready for the day, my husband and I had a discussion about whether or not our son, who is potty-trained, should wear a pull-up to his party. I thought it would be a good idea because in all the excitement of the day, I thought he might forget to go potty. My husband insisted that he would be okay, and so we let him go without one.
Well, the party turned out great, and my son had a blast jumping with his friends on all the giant, colorful bouncy toys. In fact, he had so much fun that he forgot to go potty.
Yep. I was right.
I realized that he needed a change of clothes as we were being called into the party room for cake and ice cream, and when I went to get him changed, I discovered that I had forgotten to bring extra clothes.
I've learned that how you start your day determines how the day will go, so needless to say skipping my quiet time that morning was not the best decision. When I start my day off rushing, I tend to carry that anxious mode into the rest of my interactions. I am much less likely to react to problems in a sensible manner.
I wish I could say I handled this situation with patience and grace, but I did not. I just had to open my mouth to "remind" my husband of our conversation that morning. Instead of staying calm about a situation that was not the end of the world, because really, toddlers have accidents every day, I reacted so poorly towards my husband that I later had to come back and apologize to him.
I remember coming home from the birthday party feeling defeated because I had let my emotions get the best of me, and I felt pretty bummed about how I handled the situation with my husband. I was sitting on my couch, feeling embarrassed by my actions, and I started thinking about how long I have been walking with God. I started to roll this question around in my mind, "Am I getting anything out of this?" I was questioning the progress I am making in my Christian walk. I was beating myself up for not having “arrived” at a better place.
Do you ever beat yourself up for behaving in a manner that goes against everything you say you believe?
Do you often evaluate your performance at the end of the day, and then feel either proud of your performance or defeated by something you did that showed your "flawed" human nature?
I'm not sure about you, but sometimes I feel like I should be further in my walk with God. Surely by now I would know better than to let the built-up frustrations in my heart come tumbling out of my mouth in an emotional rant. Why do I keep having to say “I'm sorry” to my husband? Why do I keep saying things I don't mean? Shouldn’t I know by now what traps Satan uses to distract me from what is really important?
I am convinced that this kind of thinking is a trick of the enemy to keep me condemned and focused inward.
We are all flawed and we will keep making mistakes, but we are cleansed by the blood of Jesus.
Once we have said we are sorry and done what we can to make things right, we are not sentenced to a place of defeat. God is not the accuser. He is not condemning us for failing to reach a state of “Christian perfection.”
In times of self-condemnation, we must remember that God will keep us in perfect peace if we keep our mind stayed on HIM. (Isaiah 26:3) On Him, not ourselves. That is an important distinction. God’s thoughts toward us are good. We can have His perfect peace and take our focus off of our shortcomings and flaws once and for all.
The next time you find yourself rolling your "bad" performance over in your head, stop those thoughts dead in their tracks with the words of this verse:
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” - Romans 8:1
Ask for forgiveness from God and whoever else is involved, and continue with your day without getting hung up on how far you have to go.
Instead of asking if you are getting anything out of your walk with God, remember how far he has brought you. Remember that Christ has set you free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2) Amen to that!