I’m Thankful for…Being Given the Grace to Mess-Up

(Photo by Jess Sanchez)

I’m Thankful for…Being Given the Grace to Mess-Up

By Katie Berry

21 Celebrities Who Fell From Grace… Hard,” “Celebrities That Killed Their Career In A Matter Of Seconds,” “15 Messed-Up Celebs Who Will Never Bounce Back”—these are the headlines we see as we scroll through Facebook, watch Entertainment Tonight, and browse the magazine rack while waiting in the grocery store check-out line.

My heart breaks to know so many people think)their lives are permanently ruined and they are less valuable if they are not perfect.

My heart is heavy in respect to this worldly perception because I know it well—I felt the same way. As a recovering perfectionist, who is only being healed through the constant forgiveness and mercy of Jesus Christ, I carried a heavy backpack of expectations.

I grasped onto my navy Jansport for dear life. I couldn’t bear to not be perfect because that meant I was worthless. If I didn’t do everything according to these expectations, perhaps I would forever fall out of the grace like these celebrities.

These expectations I held onto were a culmination of so many aspects of my life: society’s values, what I saw in the people around me, what my family thought, and most of all, the lies the devil told me.

A toxic mixture of requirements became the poison I readily drank each and every day. I processed these expectations and became my own warden, making sure I labored each day to achieve them. I was trapped by the backpack of things I thought I had to be and possess in order to be considered valuable.

Racked with anxiety, I struggled to walk around the corners of life because I didn’t know if I would be prepared for what was on the other side.

What if I failed? What if I messed everything up? What if for each mistake I made, I would be worthless as a human being?

The warden inside me allowed the fears and insecurities to dictate my life. What people saw was simply the outer shell of a young girl who was ashamed of herself—shriveled up into a ball on the ground of her heart out of fear of missing the mark.

While the shell seemed happy-go-lucky and positive, the inside was full of self-hatred and shame.

Comparison.

I compared myself in every aspect to others. My academics, my talents, my appearance—anything and everything. As a result, I held myself to an unattainable standard that left me feeling empty and worthless.

I didn’t feel like Iwas enough.

And then, my life was forever changed. I was given the gift of freedom—a freedom I never thought was possible to attain.

Although I never will be perfect, God still loves and desires to use me. Although I mess up, grace will always be the truth I cling to. I pray you choose to let these truths be the same ones you hold onto today.

I was given grace.

Jesus gave me the grace to mess up.

I have a Savior who loves me, a sinner, and died for me.He paid for every mistake I have, and ever will, make when He was crucified.

My Savior went to the Father and paid my ransom. I no longer have a warden forcing me to live behind a shell of shame. I have been set free from the bondage of sin. The chains that once bound me have been broken.

I have been forgiven.

My sins were lifted and replaced with grace. I now had the choice to let go of my backpack full of the world’s expectations and cling to the grace He paid the price for—you better believe I took that offer.

And I will never look back.

Now, if I mess up, I know that I am forgiven. If I make a mistake, I am confident that my worth will always stay the same in Christ. I no longer feel the need to compare myself to others.  Through His constant grace, I am comfortable in my own skin for the first time in my life and content in my identity through Him.

This realization has been an incredibly humbling experience. I will never deserve this gift, but I will spend the rest of my days giving thanks to Him for it.

I now can live my life with the freedom of being who God made me.

Through this grace, I now see life differently. I see Hollywood headlines like these and feel empathy for the people in the world who feel like they truly have messed up their entire lives.

In pop culture, this is a constant theme. Everywhere you look, people are being criticized by media for not meeting the unattainable expectation of perfection.

When news hits about the latest celebrity divorce, the media is so quick to take one side and begin to villainize the other without taking into consideration the fact they do not know the intimate details.

The moment there is gossip circulating that another childhood star has checked themselves into a rehab center, there are articles plastered all over magazine racks. The stories condemn them without recognizing that mistakes do happen.

Celebrities who make a mistake are forever considered the black sheep of the industry. They are unable to find redemption and are made a cautionary tale for those who do not hold themselves to the standards of pop culture. Instead of being built up in these times of failure, they are mercilessly torn down.

Some days, I wonder if these celebrities know they have a choice—that they don’t have to cling to their backpack of expectations.

Pop-culture survives on a constant wave of these ideals. This comparison breeds only the worst attributes within us—pride, envy, discontentment, hatred, etc.—that can consume our lives and leave us as shells of the people we once were.

Grace.

When you accept the gift of grace, the fear of drowning when the waves start to hit is gone. No longer do you have to be haunted by the mistakes of your past that have been, for so many years, dictating your present. You can live freely in the blessing God has wanted to give you from the moment you were born.

I encourage every single one of you reading this to make the choice to let go of the backpack—to let go of the poison of unattainable expectations you’ve allowed yourself to drink.

Instead, cling to the grace God so willingly wants to give to you today. Trade in the outer shell of yourself you’ve been hiding behind so you can become whole once again.

I won’t lie to you, I still have moments where the backpack looks appealing. Some days, I go into my metaphorical closet and unconsciously walk over to the tattered backpack sitting in the dark corner.

But as I begin to pick it up, I am reminded of the grace I have in God. I am undone by the fact that the love He has for me when I am at my absolute best does not decrease when I am at my absolute worst. The forgiveness He gave me when I first became a Christian does not run out after each mistake I make. The worth I have in my Father will never change, no matter what culture deems as worthy.

Although I never will be perfect, God still loves and desires to use me. Although I mess up, grace will always be the truth I cling to. I pray you choose to let these truths be the same ones you hold onto today.

For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”

– John 1:16