Yesterday, after reading a Facebook message from someone I had unintentionally hurt, my stomach was in knots.
When I shared both the Facebook message and my guilt with my husband, he looked at me in surprise. “Jen, why do you feel guilty? You simply weren’t able to do what he needed. It wasn’t possible.”
But I still wrestled with the feeling of guilt.
The guilt of being merely human.
The guilt of thinking I should be able to do it ALL (in other words, of thinking I am like God [the oldest sin of all]).
The guilt of forgetting that I am completely incapable.
To deal with this kind of guilt, I needed a broader definition of sin than the one that defines it as intentional actions, thoughts, and words that “break the rules.” That is a very limited—and unbiblical—definition of “sin,” and it didn’t help me deal with my Facebook situation.
The New Living Translation of Romans 3:23 defines sin as “(falling) short of God’s glorious standard.”
I fell short with my friend—not because I wanted to, not even because I had another choice, but simply because I had no capability to meet his expectations. I’ve “fallen short” in some other areas as well lately, and, for reasons only God knows, He has made me sit for awhile in the discomfort of my own inadequacy, my own “falling short.” I have tried to mute the message, tried to distract myself with writing and meal prep and people and the radio, but uneasiness has burrowed into my soul, and my thoughts circle constantly around my feeling of guilt.
So this morning I took a long walk in the thick snow at the dog park. Two women were there when I arrived, but they soon left, and I was alone—with my thoughts.
Round I walked, breaking through the snow crust, doing battle in my mind, swinging like a pendulum from excuses to accusations.
On the third lap, I stopped. “God,” I said, “I want to prove myself right in this situation. I want to ‘feel’ right. And I have been doing a whole lot of talking in my own head trying to figure this out. But I can’t–because I’m not capable. I fall short—both of a complete understanding of this situation AND of any ability to fix it. I am only human. Help me to see myself—and then see YOU—as I should.”
“Please, God, I need You!”
Then, finally, rest came. I could admit my own inability, my own “falling short.” And I could glory in the fact that the God who loves me has NO limitations. He is not bound by time. His strength is unlimited. He does not run out of energy or patience or goodness. He never forgets, not ever. He never fails—not at anything He does.
He IS the glorious standard.
And He is fully aware that there is no way I can reach His standard. In fact, I think He gets tired of my thinking I can.
So when I let go of trying to reach His standard on my own, I see HIM and His grace far better.
And I am awed by the Glory!
I continued my walk, joyous now, rejoicing in the beauty, and just before I left I did what I could not have imagined doing twenty minutes earlier.
I fell back into an untouched patch of snow, gazed up at the tops of the trees, and made a snow angel!