You're Not Being Punished

She had plans...good intentions. When we met at the beginning of the week her face was bright and hopeful. Her words were determined and sure.

But now as we sipped our sodas in my car at Sonic, she seemed deflated and...ashamed.

"It almost sounds as if you're ashamed of yourself," I offered carefully.

She put her drink cup in her lap, stirred the straw around nervously and admitted, "I am."

But she didn't need to be. You and I don't either.

Sure, things hadn't gone as she'd planned. She hadn't accomplished a few of the things on her to-do list, her emotions had gotten the best of her a few times and one day she'd spent the day in her pajamas. But she didn't need to be ashamed of that.

You and I don't either.

If you've felt the gracious grip of conviction over a particular act or attitude or conversation...lean into it. Listen to it. Heed it. Let godly guilt produce godly sorrow and genuine repentance.

But if a blanket of self-loathing and shame has settled on you because of "everything you did wrong" yesterday...shake free of it.

That's not God. He doesn't blanket you with shame; He covers you with grace. He doesn't shake His head in disappointment; He extends His hand in understanding. He doesn't turn you away in disgust; He embraces you with patience.

I hope you are rejoicing over sweet victories and blessed triumphs as we approach the end of this singular week on the calendar of eternity. But if you've had a tough week...the kind where

please remember, Jesus is not ashamed of you. You don't need to be either. 

Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.
For He Himself knows our frame;
He is mindful that we are but dust.
(Psalm 103:13-14)

It is okay to be human. It is okay to have feelings and to make mistakes. It is okay to be who you are. Yes, the Lord has big plans for you. He is working doggedly to conform you to the image of Christ. And, praise Him, He will not quit. He is determined to finish the good work He's started in your life. 

But, sister, He will not throw His hands up in the air in disgust, shake His head in shame or walk away in defeat. He knows you...and He is still wild about you. 

He has not dealt with us according to our sins, 
Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.
(Psalm 103:10-11)

Do you feel like perhaps God is punishing you because you're too slow, you're not getting it, you messed up again, you didn't meet your goals or you entertained defeating emotions? Sister, He acknowledges those human patterns and traits. He sees them for what they are. And yes, He is working to grow you up and create in you new character. But He is not punishing you. 

He never deals with you according to your sins. 

He deals with you according to His character...His grace.

Choose today to rejoice in the little milestones instead of the defeats. Praise Him for even the tiny victories and celebrate with Him the grace that flowed. You've been given another day, after all. He's not finished yet.

I hope you have a blessed weekend, one of restoration and hope. Lean into Him, weary sister. He loves you so.

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