Meet Erin and welcome to her journey through discovering grace and finding strength in her imperfection. I think Erin is pretty perfect, but I'm partial to a sweet, gentle spirit like hers. You don't have to be a pastor's wife to relate here. With illusioned perfectionism surrounding our every turn, it's no wonder we compare and strive and disqualify ourselves based on a bunch of false realities we're convinced exist. Find comfort in your imperfection today because really, it's right here when we recognize our own brokenness and need for a savior that we can live perfectly whole. Healed. Free.
- BY ERIN GUTOWSKI
One year ago today, we found a house we loved. It was everything we wanted. The right number of rooms, the right size for our ministry, the right price. It was even in our current neighborhood, meaning the kids wouldn't have to change school districts.
Quite the dreamy scenario.
Here we are one year gone, and we are still waiting on this house. It has caused a type of stress in me unlike anything I have experienced before. Raising three children and finishing college have added to the pile, not to mention pastoring a ministry out of our home.
There have been days that have made me cringe at my own behavior…MANY days. I place expectations on myself that are unobtainable. Our agent would call for permission to display our present home, and I would morph into a crazy frenzy, yelling at the kids, spitting sarcasm, and condemning myself to no end.
The thoughts would come like a flood. Why don’t you take better care of your house? You are a terrible mom! You are NOT useful in ministry! You are a hindrance to your husband! You can’t do anything right…you can’t meet God’s standards for you! My thoughts became accusations, and the torrent of emotion they brought with them turned me into someone I no longer recognized.
Every area was covered by a shadow of condemnation, of not being able to reach this imaginary mark that I had set for myself. I would constantly compare myself to others, even comparing myself to my own husband.
When you strive to become something God has not created you to be, you will dwell in unchanging misery.
And this is where I landed. Rarely measuring up, feeling as if I could never be enough. Not smart enough. Just all together NOT ENOUGH.
And then it hits me. Grace. Oh how I need it. Grace comes in, and God, He leads me on a journey of finding out what this grace means for me. This grace I had always comprehended for others, encouraging them in it and through it, but never for me. Never for my own life.
My eyes were becoming enlightened to the self-condemning nature I had adopted and how I had become so dependent upon what little strength I possessed to manage this life.
Grace. Typing it into the search bar of my bible app, writing it, picking it apart, meditating on each verse, applying it to what I’m experiencing. I will never be enough within myself, but His grace washes over every detail of my life.
He has not set unreachable standards of perfection before me. He already knows how completely IMPERFECT I am, and He is fine with that. In fact, He uses all of those imperfections so that HE can be glorified.
There's a guy name Paul who was given a “thorn in the flesh” to keep him from becoming boastful. He pleads with the Lord to take it away, but Christ says to him, My grace is enough for you, because my power is made perfect in weakness.
My journey towards grace presses on with a long road ahead, but I have already begun to taste the peace that comes from knowing I will never measure up to the standards I have set for myself. God longs for me to take rest in Him and lean on His strength alone.
I don’t have to try so hard, and this gives me such freedom and contentment. That old stress still attempts to taunt me on occasion, but I know that it is God who will ultimately sell our house. And it is God that will give me the wisdom and patience to be a good mother, and God is the only one who will direct our steps where ministry is concerned. It’s all about Him anyway, not about you and me. I pray that HIS goodness and grace shine through each weakness in my life to bring glory to Him alone. And that is enough.