Saturday, May 7, 2011

The God of Do-Overs

The truth? Sometimes I still secretly (or maybe not so much) wish I were Perfect Woman. You know her; you know her well. You envy her. She has perfect hair, the perfect body, the perfect husband, perfectly-behaved children who never mouth off or sass back or put their muddy shoes on the back of her leather seats in the car. She graduated Summa CumBaya with her PhXYZ from The University of Amazing Awesomeness. She is a professional. And a mom. And the best friend anyone could hope to find. Oh, she makes mistakes of course; if she didn't, you wouldn't want to be her friend because she wouldn't be "relevant" and "approachable" and "down-to-Earth." Oh yes, she makes mistakes. Once.

Okay, the jig is up: I am so not her. And this week, just to keep me good and humble, I was reminded of that.

I screwed up on a promise I made to myself this week. It's really not important for our purposes here to share the gory details; suffice it to say, right at this moment, my humanness is showing. And it's a little embarrassing.

Perfect Woman makes mistakes once. Imperfect Me makes them over and over, as many times as it takes, evidently, to remind myself of my desperate need for mercy. For grace. For friends who love me anyway. For the heart of Jesus, who is such a fan of do-overs that He commands us to forgive one another 490 times a day (70 x 7, for the non-mathletes out there). So why is it that each time I screw up, I tend to think it must be my 491st foible of the day, and that surely this time He'll be good and ticked off at me?

Truth is, I am so much harder on myself than God is. He already took my punishment, all those centuries ago on a stormy Friday afternoon. And I believe that as He hung there, thinking of you and me, doing what He did for us out of obedience and unfathomable love, He knew even then that I would mess up and go back on my word this week.

So there I sat, in my neediness and imperfection, looking around me at the pieces I'd have to pick up from my latest mistake. At first, I started gathering up the pieces quietly, hoping no one would see. Hiding the pieces with my silence, my isolation. But have you ever tried to isolate from God? It isn't easy. Like every good parent, He has eyes in the back of His head. And He is so big that He sees all from where He sits. He tapped me on the shoulder last night around 10:00, just as I thought maybe I had found a good hiding place from Him under my covers in bed. But, metaphorically speaking, He gently pulled my blanket off of me, exposing all those pieces I was attempting to hide under there.

"Give those to me," He said, His eyes smiling tenderly.
"Don't look!" I gasped, hurriedly pulling the covers over the pieces.
"Give them to me," He repeated, just as gently as before. "We'll fix it together."
"I made a mess," I cried.
"I know," He said. "Would you like a do-over?"

I hesitated.
I closed my eyes.
I felt the tears come.
I nodded.

The God of Do-Overs is infinitely more forgiving of me than I am. How I long to be more like Him! In fact, I think I'd do better to be more like Him than like Perfect Woman. She is a myth. He is the real deal. In fact, Perfect Woman doesn't think she needs the God of Do-Overs.

Tragic, really, to be so self-sufficient. She will never know Him like I do.


  1. I don't think Paul could have preached this message better! Holy Spirit take it to the winds. Draw every person who needs to read it... and believe!
    Thanks Jena. Your imperfection is spreading the gospel well. :)

  2. What a lovely thing to say, Colleen. Thank you.

  3. I had a very similar experience this week. God's been talking, I've been arguing back saying "I'm not good enough" "I don't deserve you're help." But now that I'm finally allowing His hand in a little, I'm realizing that my robotic life I was living the last couple weeks doesn't have to be that way. It's ok to have made a mistake, again, and to ask for help, again. Thanks for sharing Jena!

  4. Stay in the game, Jenn. He hasn't brought you this far to drop you now. Every little victory you've had along the way totally COUNTS. You have ruined nothing -- except maybe the illusion of this being a seamless, perfect journey. It is what it is, you are what you are: Beloved, redeemed, chosen, and destined for an abundant life. Trust!