As I sit down to write this prayer tip, I have to be really honest and share that I feel frustrated. Why, you may ask? Because I make mistakes—I am not perfect. Some days the Apostle Paul’s statement: “For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing” (Romans 7:19) really resonates with me. I have a vision of God’s best for me and somehow, when the rubber hits the road, I often miss the mark. As a perfectionist, this just drives me crazy!
This week, as we study loving others, I can’t help but think that one of the people I fail to treat with love and compassion is often myself. Can any of you relate to this? I have such high expectations for myself and I am so unwilling to receive God’s grace and forgiveness when I fall short. When others come to me asking if they are loved and forgiven, I have a very clear sense of God’s compassionate love for them, but I can’t make sense of the fact that I am deserving of the love.
I say all of this, because I think that when we don’t feel we are deserving of God’s love, I think it can be painstakingly difficult for us to be filled with love and the Spirit to share with those around us.
So, what can we do about this? First, I think we have to be honest with ourselves about how often we consider ourselves unlovable. Second, I think it’s important that we find a person to share honestly about the mistakes we have made that leave us feeling ashamed and unlovable. As Congregational Care Pastors, please know we are always here to think with you about these moments. You deserve to be freed from the sense that you are unworthy of love.
I love listening to Christ’s words in Matthew 11:28-29: 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” I hear such compassion is Jesus’ voice. This is the sort of compassion I want to learn to extend to myself.
So for this week’s Prayer Tip, I challenge you to reflect upon the moments you missed the mark at the end of each day. After you confess each of these moments, read Matthew 11:28-29 and remember that you are loved by a God of compassion. Tune out the messages of inadequacy and open your heart to God’s great love.
Katherine Ebling-Frazier, Pastor of Prayer