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Giving Yourself Some Grace

So true confession: I’m not really a fan of Lauren Daigle’s music.

Now I know that in many evangelical circles saying that you don’t like Lauren Daigle music is like saying you don’t like Chick-fil-A. (Ironically, I don’t really like Chick-fil-A either, but that’s another story.)

Still, even though I’m not a big fan, a few lines from one of her songs have been going over and over in my head over the past few weeks.

I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I'm not enough

Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up

I think the reason that these lines are going through my head is that I have been struggling with these types of thoughts—-voices in my head accusing me of everything I am not doing, reminding me of all the ways I’m falling short, and everything I could do better.

The fact is the past few weeks have been hard. Keeping up with Mantours, dealing with all of my Dad’s new health issues, and our new living arrangement—-even my own health issues are causing a lot of stress. With everything going on, some things have fallen through the cracks. I find myself making mistakes I would not typically make.

For instance, I completely forgot to pay a bill (something I’ve never done before in 46 years of living). I was so embarrassed when the late notice came. Even after I apologized and paid for it, I still felt so bad.

Then I forgot to cancel a hotel room even though we decided to drive to the event to save money. I couldn’t believe I made that mistake had to pay for a room we didn’t use.

Then, the most embarrassing of all came when I found out I confused two addresses and sent correspondence meant for one church to a different church.

Even though the logical part of my brain knows that these are just errors because I have been under too much stress, there are loud voices in my head lampooning me and saying, “How can you be so stupid, so irresponsible, so embarrassing?”

These voices are there every time I don’t live up to excellence standards that I think I should. They remind me that I’m failing, that I’m not good enough, and that I should try harder and do better.

Honestly, I’m tired of this struggle.

I think God is tired of it, too, because the other night, He led me to a podcast where this topic was addressed. Sharing from experience, the speaker talked about the need to extend grace to yourself. They talked about recognizing the source of the problem and then cutting yourself some slack.

They shared about training yourself to accept God’s love even when you don’t feel you are

performing enough to deserve it, and using the Bible’s steps for Finding Healing to go back and find out why you treat yourself unkindly.

As I listened, it touched my heart.

I knew I needed to do this in my life.

As I searched my own heart and talked to Jesus, He has been helping me see that while I had an amazing mom and she and I had a fantastic relationship, she was always very hard on herself because she was abused. She taught me to be hard on myself too.

While this quality has helped me grow a ministry, taught me to strive for excellence, and even prepared me for many of the future mentors God would bring into my life, it has left very little room for grace and forgiving myself for imperfections.

I realize that part of being set free from the abuse the women in my family have lived under for generations means shutting down the self-abusive voices in my mind.

While the enemy may have used these voices to overwork and over-stress my Mom and I for years, today, I have a choice whether or not this pattern will continue.

So over the past few weeks I’ve been working on this...once again applying the biblical steps to Finding Healing to overcoming the overly critical voices in my mind. (Isn’t it funny how God never seems to be done working on our hearts? Just when we think we are finished, the Holy Spirit goes for even deeper healing.)

I’m working on extending myself grace and trying to settle in my heart that God isn’t sitting in Heaven annoyed and embarrassed whenever I make a mistake.

Like the song says, I am trying to learn to see myself through his eyes and hear His Words of encouragement. I’m also fighting spiritually and working to replace the enemy’s critical voice in my head with the voice of the Heavenly Father whose love is unconditional. He understands what I’m going through, and He extends compassion.

As the Scripture says:

“As a father has compassion on his children,

    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;

 for he knows how we are formed,

    he remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:13-14)

It’s a process of daily taking thoughts captive, telling the enemy to “shut up,” and replacing these thoughts with the Word of God.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

(2 Corinthians 10:5)

Using the tools God has given, I’m choosing that don’t want these thoughts to control me any longer. I want to be led by the Spirit of God. I want to lay down my burden and only carry the burden that He has for me, believing that:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

(Matthew 11:28-30)

It’s funny—I never thought God would use these challenging circumstances to do so much work inside of my heart. And yet, just like a furnace causes impurities to rise to the surface, difficult times cause things to come up in our hearts. When this happens, we need to use the Biblical principles for Finding Healing to go to God and say, “This is a problem…change my heart.”

That’s where I find myself…again.

I am going a little deeper, experiencing more healing…more freedom.

I am taking my burden to Jesus, laying it at his feet, and learning to listen to what He says about me rather than listening to the enemy's voice in my head.

He says I am loved when I can't feel a thing

He says I am strong when I think I am weak

He says I am held when I am falling short

When I don't belong, oh God says I am His

(Lauren Daigle, Look Up Child, 2018)

Adessa Holden is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God specializing in Women's Ministry. Together with her brother, Jamie, they manage 4One Ministries and travel the East Coast speaking, holding conferences, and producing Men's and Women's resources that provide practical Biblical teaching for everyday life.

When asked about herself, she'll tell you "I'm a women's minister, a sister, and a daughter. I love to laugh and spend time with people. My favorite things are chocolate, the ocean, sandals and white capris, anything purple, summertime and riding in the car listening to music. It is my absolute honor and privilege to serve Jesus and women through this ministry.


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