My daughter is at an age where she demands a certain exactness from everyone around her. It is not acceptable to tell her it’s 3:00, when it’s actually 2:57. She also feels she deserves credit for any part of a project she’s helped complete, no matter how small. If DH thanks me for making dinner, for instance, DD will make sure everyone knows that she participated in cooking, even if all she did was shred a carrot. To my chagrin, I’ve noticed I share in this latter tendency.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9, NIV)
I don’t think of myself as a boastful person. In fact, I usually focus more on the negative things about me than the positive. But, that doesn’t keep me from craving accolades for my efforts, no matter how insignificant they are in the scheme of things. When the people around me don’t step up and acknowledge what I’ve done, I get cranky. And when time passes and still no one remarks on my contribution, I start getting angry. The silly thing is, often, my family and friends appreciate whatever I did, they just didn’t make the big deal out of it I was hoping for.
You saw this coming from miles away and stopped it all in its tracks. You shower Your grace on us when we have done nothing to deserve it. Not only that, but You provide the faith we need to believe Your promises and receive Your blessings. You made sure there was no doubt, no possible way I could imagine that I’m doing this on my own.
My first response, honestly, is annoyance. God, I want to do it! Why don’t You let me? Why is it always all about You? And yet, when I stop to consider, I realize: this is not Your way to thwart my abilities and talent, but to provide for me what I could never manage on my own.
Your desire is to give me these gifts that I could never earn for myself, not if I spent my whole life trying. You have better dreams for me than to spend my days trying to curry favor. You have already given it to me, more than I would ever have dared ask.
Thank You for this incredible generosity, for Your grace and faith and favor. Thank You for not letting anything, even me, get in the way of Your incredible plans. Help me to remember that even though You don’t need me, You want me. You invite me to participate in Your adventure.
And thanks for giving me all I need to complete the work You call me to do. Even when I forget to acknowledge You.