Not my goodness

I am not good.

That might be the hardest thing I’ve ever had to admit. I know that because I’ve deceived myself into believing the opposite for so long. Denial, blindness… whatever it takes.

I didn’t want to see it because of the ramifications, the implications, the judgement that would follow.

If I’m not good, what am I? Who am I? What will become of me?

But I’m not good… there is no “if.”

I’m not good at keeping up appearances.

I’m not good at keeping up standards and expectations.

I thought I was good at it, but my mind spins as I lay in bed at night with thoughts of what I didn’t do, what I still need to do, what I shouldn’t do… how to do it all, balance it all, make it all work out?

I let people down. I let myself down. I let God down.

I sin. Often.

Saying it, admitting it, denying it has been crushing until recently.

“Lord, I never feel good. At the end of the day it’s way more obvious that I should be disappointing to you, rather than pleasing to you. I keep doing what I know you don’t want me to do and what I do want to do but shouldn’t want to do… I’ve always been this way… I don’t deserve you, I don’t deserve this life with these blessings and you know this, but you keep blessing me. It doesn’t make sense… It’s torturing to know this truth, but to not know why…”

Two weeks ago, as I was walking out the door of my house, out to my car, thanking God for all the amazing things He’s doing and simultaneously feeling guilty for not deserving all the amazing things that He’s doing, it hit me:

It’s not my goodness.

It’s like You said so clearly, gently, softly a truth that has been eluding me for so long up until that moment, “Katie, it’s not because you’re good. It’s because I’m good.”

And it stopped me mid-stride.

“Oh, wow. That makes so much sense,” I thought as relief immediately flooded my entire being through an exhale that unlocked the masks of self-protection, self-deception that were shackled to my identity. Sweet, sweet, mercy… peace, relief.

It’s not my goodness. I can say it with joy now. I’m not good. Praise the Lord, oh my soul! He is! Jesus is good, so good that I can come to Him freely and accept His goodness with open hands rather than with closed fists clutching my own merit. Wow, God is good. Now I can simply live in response to that goodness… which is easier said than done after living to earn love for so long, but God’s working – He always has been. He’s working to open my eyes to His love that doesn’t cost me anything, but cost Him everything. And I don’t have to pay Him back. He desires mercy, not sacrifice. (Matthew 9:13) I bring nothing to the table, and yet He joyfully fills my cup until it overflows – and then He keeps pouring.

Myanmar: Girl catching rain drops in one of the first rains of the year. Monsoon rains fall from June to Oct, bringing over 200 inches of rain to some regions. Daily life is conducted amidst the deluge. (Photo Credit: Steve Winter//Life Force Magazine)

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” -Romans 5:6-8

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