Grace, mercy and what I need


I’ve had a busy day of trying to get things in order – registering for a course to get my professional certification (hopefully!), researching the possibility of adding an extension to my teaching certificate, job stuff, job stuff, job stuff.

I was talking to my sister on the phone about all that I was doing and she said “You haven’t had an easy time.” Getting my dream job is taking me so much longer than I ever imagined. And whenever I have that thought, a really ugly one follows it: I can’t believe the people who have gotten jobs before me; I DESERVE this. It is a dark thought, a self-righteous thought. But ultimately, it is a thought that says I know better than God does.

As time has gone by, I’ve gotten better at deflecting these thoughts. Limiting Facebook, getting rid of Instagram and even a dream I had recently have all helped tremendously. But I have to tell you, sharing this in such a public way is hard for me. I’m embarrassed. No one likes to show the ugliness that can hide beneath the surface.

I stumbled upon a new author last month named Autumn Macarthur. She writes easy to read Christian books, with fun settings and charming love stories. Today I was finishing her book entitled “Forget Paris” and the main character is struggling so intensely with self-doubt that she believes she doesn’t deserve love. Her sister enters into her situation and speaks a simple truth:

Thankfully, God doesn’t give us what we deserve. He gives us what we need.

Whoa. This feels like reverse engineering of the definitions of grace and mercy that I’ve become so accustomed to: Grace is when God gives us what we don’t deserve. Mercy is when God doesn’t give us what we deserve.

Is this what happens when grace and mercy meet? I immediately knew it was not a coincidence that I read that phrase today, as I was once again stumbling through the many complications of finding the right job.

Is it true that I worked extremely hard in college and grad school? 100%. Is it true that I’ve worked tirelessly, that I’ve endured horrible circumstances with very little thanks? Absolutely. Do those things add up to me “deserving” a great job? I don’t know. But regardless, I no longer need to ask myself that question. This is not a matter of whether or not I deserve a job; it is a matter of what I need. 

Sometimes my husband drives me a tad looney (you know I love you baby!) asking me questions and I always say, “Why are you asking me?! I don’t know everything!” So then, if I have already admitted I don’t know everything (do any of us?), can I really claim to know what it is that I need?

It’s a lot to take in on a Monday evening …

Jesus, you see my heart. I trust You to know what I need. Thank you for providing for me and my family. Take me where You will and I promise to try not to question You at every turn.

2 thoughts on “Grace, mercy and what I need

  1. Ah the beautiful surrender!! I use to struggle with tremendous anxiety during medical school and it was only once I learned to stop asking for what I thought I needed and started praying for God’s will to become my will and for me to be an instrument of his story that I found peace and such incredible fulfillment. Thank you for sharing. We so often do not realize what we do badly need.

    Liked by 1 person

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