So you got it wrong.
Messed it up. Made a bad call, had a case of poor judgment. You did something wrong.
It’s heavy, isn’t it? The aftermath, sorting through it all, navigating what’s next. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how much we talk about grace — we don’t feel it when we’re the ones who screwed up.
I’ve battled long and hard with my own expectations. A perfectionist in denial, reconciling my knowledge of salvation with my own sin has been harder than it should be. I’ve felt like a failure, as a friend, girlfriend, daughter, sister. I didn’t even realize until this last year that I’ve spent a decade obsessing over doing the right thing, not because I wanted to, but because I was afraid of what would happen if I didn’t.
But the more life I live, the more mistakes I make, and here I find myself, smacked in the face with my innate brokenness, realizing that I’ve lived my whole life in the church without ever really believing in grace for myself.
I have spent a lot of time in prayer, thought, and reflection trying to experience that grace. This is what I’ve learned. As I write this, I know that this is as much for me as it is for you. But I also know that I’m not alone in this. Whether you’ve lived your whole life hearing the gospel, or are just getting to know Jesus, the concept of unconditional love is really hard to grasp.
I will never have the right words to express even a fraction of how powerful salvation is or how good and gracious our God is. If you’re feeling broken, shameful, or simply not enough, this is for you.
You’re going to get it wrong
First off, let’s make something very clear. You screwed up. You got it wrong. But you are not a failure, or weak, or any more broken than the rest of us. We all get it wrong all of the time.
Yes, you’re responsible for your actions, but you are also incapable of perfection. There’s no point of growth or spiritual maturity where you just stop relying on grace. It doesn’t exist. Even with the best of intentions and purest motives, you’re not going to nail it.
Now, keep in mind, that’s not a defense, justification, or excuse — but it is important for you to know. Growth is necessary, and holding yourself to high standards is part of that process. But if you attempt an impossible feat, particularly if you interpret it as part of your identity or faith, you are setting yourself up not only for failure, but an existential crisis.
The good news
I know this all sounds a little bleak, but stick with me for a second, because this next part is really important.
Realizing that you’ll never get everything right can either be a weight off of your shoulders or an absolute nightmare. One way or another, here’s why it’s really, really good news.
Your identity, value, and worth have nothing to do with you messing up (or not). Your brokenness is not news to the Lord. In fact, He created you knowing exactly where you’d find yourself. He knew the mistakes you would make, the poor choices, negative actions, sins, all of it.
You will never be good enough for a “perfect standard” — but you’re not supposed to be.
Regardless of anyone else’s expectations, beliefs, or ideas about you, you are enough. The Creator of the Universe not only wanted you to exist, but was willing to die for you. For your heart, your eternity, and your salvation.
We see, feel, and believe the love of God for other people, but so often forget that it covers us too. Our brokenness is not in spite of our salvation, but the very reason why it was necessary in the first place.
In Romans 8, Paul writes this: “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Nothing in all creation. No sin. No shame. No screw-ups. No death or life, angels or rulers, things present or to come could separate you from the overwhelming, unstoppable force that is the Love of God.
So, when you get it wrong, and you will, don’t give up. Don’t run, hide, or flee from His presence. Press in. Turn from your sin, and accept grace, love, and forgiveness. It’s there, it’s for you, and so is He.
To read more from Anika, visit her website.