The whitewashed staircase looms before her. She hesitates and tries to calm her elevated heart rate, “Breathe. You’ve done this before. It’s going to be ok.” But is it really? It’s been so long since she has stepped foot in such a place. Mixed emotions swirl as her foot slowly steps on the first stair.
On the other side of town another thirty-something, also motivated by guilt, stands before a different edifice staircase. She postponed this defining moment, not knowing if she would be accepted. Her heart races, as well, as she digs deep searching for courage. Her hand catches the rail to steady her slightly week knees.
The two women share a common fear: is it going to be all right? Past experiences berate their minds and cloud their choices. They know the correct thing to do; but the thought of following through seems too great to bear.
They may have shared fears, yet set before them are very different prospects. One woman is standing before a gym, the other before a church. Both ask themselves if it is worth it. Both scrutinize themselves as past hurts and failures berate their subconscious.
Both choose to enter.
The first woman receives with her gym membership a complementary medical evaluation. At the end of the appointment the doctor smiles and tells her that she should continue with the exercise and a healthy diet. Then he says the words that bring relief to her worried mind, “You are in the normal range with all the examinations we performed.” She makes him repeat himself to be sure she heard correctly. In other words it is going to be ok. She is ok. Normal. Acceptable.
The second woman climbs the steps to the church building. She arrives late in hopes to hide in the back. She bends her head in shame. Maybe they will mistake the shameful posture for reverence, she hopes. The back row also affords a quick escape. Then a phrase in the message catches her attention. She pulls her head up so as to be sure she heard correctly. Is this man saying the truth? Amidst all her faults, shortcomings, and blatant sin, she is loved? Yes, that is what he is saying. God chose her, called her precious, and loved her. In other words it is going to be ok. She is ok. Normal. Acceptable.
The first woman’s fears were calmed when she learned that things she had done placed her in an acceptable rank. Deeds saved this lady’s self worth.
The second woman’s fears were calmed when she learned of an all-powerful love which covered her past deeds. The deeds of One offered this lady complete salvation.
Where do you find your sense of self worth? Do you find yourself trying to ‘be enough’ or ‘do enough’ to be accepted? When was the last time you deliberately extended the grace of God to someone else? To yourself?
- Angie Washington, missionary living in Bolivia, South America