measuring grace

Measuring-TapeI didn’t measure up again today. Yesterday I fell really, really short. In fact, the measuring tape hasn’t delivered good news for me in quite a long time, and today I just woke up feelin’ it, very aware of the heaviness of it.

I think God knew.

He’s been whispering “grace” to me for weeks, in various forms. Doing battle for me behind my back. This morning He thrust the sword into my own hand.

“You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?” (Galatians 3:1-5, emphasis mine)

Faith in grace. That’s where it began. It didn’t begin with me measuring up, nor will it end that way. It is by faith, from first to last.

“For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” (Romans 1:17)

Why is grace so hard for us? Why do we chase our tails trying to be good enough when we were never good enough to begin with and that’s why this whole thing started? That’s why “it is finished” was ever spoken in the first place.

I pondered all of it this morning, as I let God remove the heaviness like we remove a winter coat. I retraced back to grace and all is well because I can’t earn what is free. And it seemed good. Seemed done. But it wasn’t.

Because sometimes we drink down His grace and something in us still says “more”. Because sometimes bewitching looks different than we expect, especially when it looks like I’m not trying to measure up to God at all. I’m trying to measure up to you.

To the ones who do it all and do it well. Those of you who have self-control in spades and never struggle with sin. You, with your perfect life, perfect happiness, perfect job, perfect hair, perfect spouse, perfect everything.

You, the one who doesn’t exist, except in my wildly rampant imagination on days when the feeling of failure is exceptionally present. The days when my usual pep talk to self turns downright abusive. The days when I want to slap you, you non-existent perfect person, but instead I spend the day crying and binge eating.

And to this God still whispers grace, it is finished. On my worst bewitched days, He leads me right back to the cross, where all measuring ends, and grace begins.

Everything begins and ends at the cross. And there’s just no measuring grace.

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