Wednesday, Dec. 7 – Haley Stepp

7 Dec

Week 2: Peace
Today’s Scripture:
Isaiah 6:1-8
John 7:53-8:12

I have always been, by nature, an anxious person. I love order and harmony, so I hate it when things don’t work out the way I want them to. If my schedule gets too busy, if I am taken by surprise by the turn of events… the list of minor fluctuations in my life that cause me to stress goes on and on. I strive for perfection in everything I do, but perfection is unattainable. Needless to say, living life in this way, as if it is attainable, makes me miserable.

I am slowly coming to realize that these expectations I place on myself are unreasonable and unhealthy. I am unhappy when I try to make my life fit a perfect, preplanned mold, but when I relax and accept the unpredictability of life, I find I am a much happier person and my life is filled with peace rather than anxiety.

However, the greatest aspect of my life in which imperfection causes me stress is my spiritual life. When I sin, I hate it. I find myself making grand declarations of repentance to God, all but promising future perfection. But when, inevitably, I sin again, I hate myself for it, feeling like a failure, completely unworthy of grace. By this cycle, I fool myself into thinking that if I try hard enough, I can be good enough to earn his love, and then, into thinking that somehow my sins are too great for God to forgive. This is demeaning to God’s all-encompassing grace.

I am a chronic sinner. God is holy and perfect. That he could ever love me is still mind-blowing. But while I am still a long way from completely understanding this truth, I now choose to just be awestruck by His inexplicable goodness and mercy.

Before God started working on my heart, helping me to understand all this, that his grace is enough and I don’t have to be worried about anything, I would have probably given anything to be someone like the prophet Isaiah. After all, being a prophet means you’ve got it all figured out perfectly, right? Wrong! When I read Isaiah 6, I feel so encouraged, that even the great people of the faith struggle with feeling unworthy, but God still chooses to love and use them (and us). When the Lord comes to Isaiah, this young man cries out, “Woe to me! … I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips” But God does not desire perfection; he desires obedience. This is the best any of us can hope for: to strive to live a godly life and readily accept God’s grace and his calling. When God asked “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” Isaiah, though an imperfect sinner, was willing to let God use him. “Here I am. Send me!”

Take comfort in this and be at peace this season.


6 Responses to “Wednesday, Dec. 7 – Haley Stepp”

  1. Morgan December 7, 2011 at 8:33 am #

    thanks you. excited about God’s work in your life.

  2. Matt Walters December 7, 2011 at 9:46 am #

    From one aspiring perfectionist (and closet legalist) to another, Haley–thanks for this awesome reminder!

  3. Matt Renfer December 7, 2011 at 5:54 pm #

    That was…dare I say, perfect? 😛

    On a more serious note: Perhaps we are closest to “perfection” when we stop striving for it.

  4. Jenny Cartee December 7, 2011 at 11:32 pm #

    thank you for this haley. how amazing it is that our perfect, all-powerful God chooses to use us.

    • Charmane December 8, 2011 at 10:35 am #

      Wow, Haley. When I began reading and got into the second paragraph, my first thought was, “I need to send this to Matt!” (Because that’s what moms do!) Then, getting to the third paragraph, emotions rising, I knew it was for me. Your comment, “This is demeaning to God’s all encompassing grace” really struck
      and convicted me. It is all so “mind blowing” and near impossible to fathom. Thanks for the timely reminder that Yes, His grace IS enough.

  5. Annie Freeman December 8, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

    Thank you for reminding us to stop striving to attain Grace, but accept it for the gift that it is.

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