My thirteen-year-old son wrestles for our high school’s junior team and on Friday had a school day tournament. All wrestlers were to arrive at the host school at 6:45 that morning for weigh-ins. So at dinner the night before we discussed what time we needed to leave and what food and drinks I would have ready for him to take. What we did not talk about was his gear.
He went up to bed early wanting to be well-rested for the long day of matches ahead. But, an hour later came back down the stairs with a look of panic.
He left his head gear at school, in his gym locker. Could we leave earlier to go get it, he asked.
I reminded him it would be too early for his school to be unlocked. Then he really panicked, admitting it wasn’t just his head gear, but his wrestling shoes left in his locker!
Thankfully he could weigh-in without either and my husband could get them before warm-up started. This reality didn’t matter to my son. He put his head on the kitchen table and proceeded to beat himself up over it.
Coincidentally, at dinner the night before we had just talked about how he needs to work on his organization and preparedness. Case in point. While I was tempted to revisit that conversation, this is not what he needed to hear at that moment.
What my son needed to be reminded of was Grace. He needed to know who he is in Christ and rest in this identity that does not change based on his performance.
Now skip over to my sixteen-year-old daughter who has been overwhelmed with stress all week. She was in charge of a Student Council charitable fundraising event – a swim-a-thon – that had not ever taken place before. Putting it together had been challenging, especially without having a previous event or the experience to draw from.
As a former event-planner I could see things that could’ve been handled differently. But in this moment would it really benefit her to tell her what she should’ve done instead or what I would’ve done to make it better?
Absoltutely not! Doing so would actually add to her stress, fear of failure and temptation to beat herself up for not measuring up.
What my daughter needed to be reminded of was Grace. She needed to know who she is in Christ and rest in this identity that does not change based on her performance or the success or failure of this event.
It’s not just my children who beat themselves up over a mistake. Don’t we all – at times?
Why do we treat ourselves so harshly?
Could it be we are often not okay with making mistakes or being less than perfect because our identity is tied to it?
What if this wasn’t the case and instead we really rested in who Christ declares us to be? What if we stopped beating ourselves up, berating ourselves and bottom-line – believing Satan’s lies? What would that look like?
Freedom from fear, rest from worry and peace for our anxious hearts.
We would be free to make mistakes and learn from them without feeling like failures. We would be free to confess our sins without condemnation. We would be free to live as deeply loved imperfect sinners!
This is what I want my children to wrap themselves in – not their failures or their successes!