Wisdom Relies on God’s Grace
Do you ever feel you can’t keep up, can’t give enough, or spread yourself to be in all the places you think you need to be…and then beat yourself up? And this response only adds to your list of ways you feel you disappoint God, yourself, and everyone else! Peggy Malutinok describes this dilemma well in the following words she contributed to Wednesday Wisdom With Wyndham. Peggy, who has faced family tragedy with courage and Godly wisdom, is a wise woman and dear friend.
Thank you, Peggy, for sharing:
I have had a passion to please God for many years, which began when I was in the campus ministry at West Virginia University, attending a church where Wyndham was the preacher. As God would have it, I became a part of a campus ministry there that totally changed the course of my life.
I was introduced for the first time to the focus of living my life to please God. I was no longer worshiping God just on Sunday morning. I was no longer praying to God just during a tragedy (or to get a better grade on accounting tests)! I was now sharing my love for God with others, rather than abiding by the age old treatise to never discuss religion.
Years later, our paths crossed again, I was working in the full-time ministry, with ministry responsibilities overseen by Wyndham and Jeanie (I can’t write about Wyndham without including Jeanie’s incredible impact.) As a mother of two young children, ages 1 and 4, I wondered how much ministry work was enough? There were always people to comfort, encourage, teach, or advise. My schedule included meetings to attend, classes to teach, and personal Bible studies. Of course I wanted and needed to spend quality (and quantity) time with God, with my husband, my children, and friends.
How much was enough to please God? How much should I expect of myself? I didn’t feel like I was devoting enough time to ANY of these areas, and of course there weren’t enough hours in the day to perfectly juggle the expectations I had of myself.
Pressure mounted…I wasn’t happy with myself, felt that I wasn’t excelling in any of these areas, and couldn’t see practically how I could change things.
I was so thankful for a discussion my husband and I had with Wyndham and Jeanie about the utter defeat I was feeling. I can remember clearly, almost like yesterday, Wyndham’s question to me, “You don’t feel happy with yourself, but do you feel like God is happy with you?” His words helped me step out of judging myself, and to ask the only important question. He helped me understand that God’s grace was sufficient, and as I lived my life to please God…that was enough. God was pleased with me. As I was able to step out of my shoes to look at my heart, my schedule, and my intentions though God’s lens, I quickly answered, “Yes, He is!”
I can still feel the joy and relief of such a burden taken off of my heart.
Wyndham wasn’t offering me what some have termed “cheap grace.” I take seriously the admonitions in Romans 12:1, Romans 14:12 and in other scriptures regarding how we spend our lives and our time. I also take seriously the importance of “working as unto the Lord” as an employee (Col 3:23 and Eph 6:7).
Rather, the gift he (and Jeanie) gave me that day was to dig deep, to consider in stillness before God — how best to serve Him in each of the many areas of my life. And to learn that when it seems like too much, I need to re-adjust. Though I certainly need to get advice from time to time, I can’t let myself (my strictest task-master) or someone else be the judge of what is most pleasing to God.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
As I strive toward hearing that final “well done, good and faithful servant,” still with not enough time in the days to do all I want to do for God — this lesson has helped me understand that God wants me to hear Him saying these words often, not just on judgement day.