Note: This was written several years ago, during a time of growing in the Lord, and learning to accept the fact that God’s grace is always sufficient. Sometimes, a gentle reminder keeps me focused on God’s amazing love.
Every once in a while, it happens. We find ourselves in the company of a person who accepts us exactly as we are, and enjoys spending time with us. We feel so lighthearted, so unconditionally loved by this very unique person. We don’t have to worry about how we look, how we act, or wonder which words are acceptable and which are not. We are, for a while at least, at peace with ourselves.
I think every one of us has at least one person in our individual world who has this ability to make us feel totally accepted. I think, too, that it’s usually not immediate family. With family, we may feel a need to maintain our “role” at all times, behaving in the way we think they expect us to behave. As a wife, I want to try to make my husband feel special, cherished. As a mom and mom-in-law, I’d like to be lovingly supportive, offering advice only when asked. As a daughter, I want to be a helpful caregiver when my parents have a need. My roles define themselves, and when I slip up, or act unbecomingly in any of these roles, I feel such guilt!
I’m not certain if these expectations are placed upon us by our family, or if it’s a self-imposed sense of obligation. It doesn’t really matter, either, how the role is defined. It only matters that in its definition, the role is limiting.
Our workplace is not usually where we find absolute acceptance, either. As an employee, I must always act confident, even when I’m “winging it.” I must speak properly, dress properly, be punctual, always in an “up” mood, and always busy.
Definitely the last place in the world I will find this forgiving attitude is in my own heart. I’m constantly berating myself for not finishing chores, saying “ugly” words, having “bad” thoughts, not being “giving” enough, not being “good”.
I have found, through the years, a handful of people who have the ability to make me relax and just enjoy being myself. Usually, they’re close friends. Sometimes, it can be someone we are only acquainted with by a similar circumstance or incident. We may never see each other again, but while we’re together, we have a strong sense of well-being, and of comradery.
The feeling of security and peaceful serenity during these special moments give me a tiny idea of what it will be like to stand in the presence of God, covered in the grace of forgiveness provided by Jesus Christ’s sacrifice …the absence of malice, the total lack of condemnation, and acceptance of ourselves as we are.
What a relief! No more burdensome loads of responsibility, of trying to be “better,” of trying so hard to please others…just the complete and total recognition of myself as a very beloved child of my Heavenly Father.