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What you miss when you give grace to everyone but you

By: tucker ficklin

We’ve all had a moment of defeat. Maybe it was the middle school moment you haven’t been able to shake for 15 years or the promotion you were passed over for again. 

Defeat reminds you why you don’t play that sport. It reminds you why you don’t open up to people. It’s the voice that warned you that you shouldn’t have risked it. 

Defeat sends shame dripping through your body like it’s on an IV. It keeps you scrolling on Instagram trying to figure out how that person is doing it better. 
I should have spent more time practicing my speech.

I was totally underdressed.

I didn’t know what to say to my friend that just lost their job.
I didn’t deliver on this project like I could have.
I ask for help too much. When
I am ever going to learn how to fix my own car?
Defeat is deafening, and it’s companions, shame and doubt, can be equally as loud. 

How Grace Overcomes Defeat

Grace is the remedy for defeat. But too often, we stop short of receiving its full benefits. Knowing God has given us grace is not the same as receiving it and living in it. 

Knowing God has given us grace is not the same as receiving it and living in it.

Until we learn to let God’s grace sink deep into our hearts and change how we think about ourselves, we’ll never experience true freedom in Christ. Giving ourselves grace is important for two key reasons:

  • Receiving God’s grace helps us see ourselves how He sees us. 

Experiencing defeat doesn’t just look like losing a game or not getting into your first choice college. Many times defeat isn’t even tied to an event where you tried and failed. 

Defeat can come as you look at your Facebook feed and realize your friends had a great time last night, but you were never invited. Defeat sneaks in when everyone has a date to a wedding but you. Defeat gnaws at us when we see other artists, musicians, writers, pastors, or leaders doing what we do better than we think we ever could.

Ask yourself in those moments: “What would Jesus say to me right now?” 

I think His answer might sound something like this:  “[I am] able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8).   

God thinks you’re great. You are His masterpiece and He loves you (Ephesians 2:10). God never brings any challenge or situation without a divine purpose. Even defeat is an opportunity for God to teach us about His love, revealing where we’re finding our value or worth, and any lies we’re believing about ourselves. 

Defeat says, ‘Wow. You’re never going to write a sentence that impactful.’ But when I let God’s grace change my perspective, I can read the same writer’s work and believe God will use me to write something great someday, too. And that He loves what I’ve done so far.

When I look at myself through God’s eyes, I can see a beloved, talented, and hardworking son. What have you missed God saying because you were too deafened by the voice of your own defeat? 

  • Denying grace grieves God 

I think plenty of people are great, but they don’t see what I see. All they can see are their shortcomings. Defeat, shame, and doubt have stolen their focus, making it hard to accept love and encouragement from anyone else. 

It grieves me to see them question their talent or worth. I think that’s how God feels when He sees us beating ourselves up. God’s heart aches when He sees us believing we are worthless because of this or that. He knows our most fulfilling life is in being the person He created us to be. 

When we refuse to accept God’s grace, we aren’t saying “God, I’m not worthy.” What we’re really saying is, “God, I don’t need you.” 

Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us have confidence, then, and approach God’s throne, where there is grace. There we will receive mercy and find grace to help us just when we need it.”  To dismiss God’s grace is to deny the power of Jesus’ death on the cross. If we were perfect, if we didn’t fail, Jesus’ death and resurrection wouldn’t have been necessary. 

Eventually, I realized letting defeat define me wasn’t just holding back my personal life, it was holding me back in my relationship with God. A huge part of extending grace to yourself is realizing that rejecting grace is keeping you from your truest self, the beloved son or daughter God created you to be. 

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