Carrie Soukup knows from experience that people who are filled with faults can still flourish.
Yesterday, I sent out an email to 50 people wishing them a Merry Christmas and in big red italic letters, I spelled “angels” wrong. Ugh. Have you done that lately? Not so much mistaking two intercepting lines with heavenly messengers, but blundered in an obvious way in front of people you wish would respect you? Maybe it was something at work or maybe in front of your family. Maybe it was a mistake only you knew about but it bugged you.
I have A LOT of experience making mistakes. Probably I make about 100xs more than most people I’ve met. Do you think you have me beat? Maybe we could swap stories someday and one-up each other on our errors.
But you know what? Actually, you really might know this. If you do, you can celebrate with me. Because …
We can be happy – flaws and faux pas and all.
Think about Mary and Joseph – they failed to get the room painted before Jesus was born, they didn’t execute a birth plan, didn’t but … their Christmas was pretty good, right?!
St. Therese knew she was not exactly a superhero. She says that she is “little.” In her littleness, she looks to God who picks her up.
I say I am “lame.” In both senses of the word. Because I am. And God picks me up. He plays with me and I delight Him.
There is terrific research out there about mindset – how you frame your experiences and the stories you tell yourself. If you are stuck in a negative pattern of thinking, these positive techniques can dramatically change your life. I was just talking with a friend who went through the woman school where many women have made small mental shifts, reframing their “self-talk,” which has unlocked amazing personal growth. I think this is so powerful. When I see a woman who knows her worth, she is free.
And your worth, and my worth is not in what we do, nor in the mistakes we make. It is not in the meat that you had to throw out because you didn’t use it in time. Your worth is not measured by how well your children know the Bible. Your worth is not in what kind of compliments your husband says of you. Nor in whether you sent your kid to school with a super healthy lunch. Nor whether you can keep track of your finances.
You are worthy because you are loved. You are worthy because God put his Spirit in you. Because he put a banner over you that says, “love.”
We are happy because we are loved. And because we are loved, we can stay in the game. We can continue the parade of life, making mistakes, making miracles. Loving others.
But … How do you get to that state of mind? How do you receive God’s love?
Maybe you “know” that you are loved but you certainly don’t feel free. Your mistakes feel much more close and real to you than this “banner of love.” Well, sometimes that deep freeing sense of love and worth comes through a friendship, or family. Sometimes it is just given to us -- almost naturally -- through our personality. Sometimes it is through a series of experiences.
But for me, day in and day out, it is given through prayer.
Frequent, freeing and flexible prayer.
This life of prayer is revolutionary in a slow, stable way. It helps in the short run to feel better in the moment but in the long run, it roots your core being in God. Hey, why not start now?
“Jesus, I want to live a life close to you. I want to know your love. Please help me to walk with you each step and to experience your vision of me. Amen.”
In 2021, may we all let God’s love loom larger than our faults!
Copyright 2020 Carrie Soukup
About the Author
Carrie Soukup writes at GraceFinders.com, compelled by St. Therese, Brother Lawrence, and St. Ignatius to help others connect intimately with God in and through the craziness of life. She has served as a curriculum writer, campus minister, high school theology teacher and retreat director. On a great day, you can find her hiking or cycling with her husband and four children.