The theme of the study was "No Longer" - really studying the practical implications of Romans 6:14: For sin shall no longer have dominion over you because you are not under law, but under grace.
At one point, she prompted this question, "How many of you feel like God is disappointed in you?" Of course my Sunday School instinct rang out, Oh no! Not I. But just slightly under that knee-jerk reaction was the real heart one, the one that meekly whispered, yes.
You see, I am pretty hard on myself. The beginning of the day has me tackling a behemoth to-do list, one that I made before my toddler decided that sleep wasn't on his agenda that night. And, at the end of the day that started with me already wishing I could crawl back into the folds of my warm, cozy sheets, I feel so defeated that I could only cross off a few of the items on that list.
Or how about relationships? I have it in my mind that I will always be able to say the perfect things, do the right things, respond to every request for advice, email, or facebook message with a perfect air of grace. But self-reflection as I lay my head on the pillow has me wishing I could have done more, been more, sounded like less of a doofenshmirtz.
In summary, I am not enough. And I get so disappointed in myself. And, by some severely skewed transitive property, I feel like God views me at the end of the day the same way I view myself.
Now Sarah, I know you tried today, but you still left a lot undone, unsaid, and un-good. I realize you tried hard, but tomorrow you'll need to try harder. And He crosses His arms and raises one eyebrow with this finishing thought, I thought you could handle it all. Apparently not. This does not make Me very happy.
I didn't even realize those thoughts were in my brain. But they were, and God knew it. And He was revealing the wound I didn't even know I had and tenderly dressing it with these straightforward words from Beth Moore:
Disappointment is a human emotion because disappointment comes from an unmet expectation. God has no expectation and is unable to be disappointed* because He already knows what will happen.
That, right there, was life-changing for me. When I wake up in the morning determined to accomplish more than I did the day before, God already knows what I will have accomplished by the time the sun sets. He knows the obstacles that will come my way and the demands my sweet son will put on me and the heart heaviness that still hits and leaves me highly unmotivated. He already knows. I thought I knew myself pretty well, but I think the God who knows me well enough to factor my human limitations into my daily schedule knows me much better.
Beth Moore kept emphasizing the concept of grace and said, "Please know that grace isn't license to sin. No. It's freedom to stop sinning!".
By the same token, the fact that God isn't disappointed doesn't give me license to check out and spend the rest of my days on the couch in sweatpants, my arm halfway down a bag of greasy potato chips. No. Rather, His inability to be disappointed frees me of self-loathing and self-doubt. If I am truly communing with the Lord in all my moments and doing what I feel He is leading me to do that day, that hour, that minute, then the end of the day can have me breathing a sigh of satisfaction. I did what He wanted me to do today ... and that's all He ever wants from me.
And sometimes He wants me to check off all the things on my to-do list. But there are even more days that He wants me to abandon some or all of my plan for the benefit of my son, my husband, my family, my friends, the sweet mama on the other side of the computer screen. And if dishes remain unwashed and laundry unfolded because of that, so be it. Being Jesus to someone is far more important than running the vacuum. And it is infinitely better. And some days, the best thing is just to rest and read and soak in the goodness that is my life. And that's a pretty great use of my time too.
I hope this helps you as much as it did me. Go freely under the grace that says, I know you. You did not disappoint me today. You did exactly what I wanted you to. Rest easy, dear one. We'll have another good day tomorrow.
*Scripture does not indicate that God feels disappointment toward us. But it is very clear that God can be disapproving and does disapprove of our sin. For the record, not finishing a to-list is not a sin ;)