When It’s Hard To Extend Ourselves Grace For Our Own Limitations

We can be so hard on ourselves and forget to give ourselves grace. But God readily gives us grace because He understands our limitations.

When It’s Hard To Extend Ourselves Grace For Our Own Limitations

April 21, 2022

Sighing, I closed the email as I tried to identify my feelings. Disappointed? Discouraged? Defeated? Definitely deflated. 

Just a few days earlier I had completed the first stage of a long and complicated writing project. To move it on to completion, I needed to enlist the help of an expert. At first she didn’t think my work would need much help from her. But then she sent me an email which said otherwise. 

It wasn’t the extra cost making me feel mopey. Instead it was that ambiguous sense that I somehow failed –  all because I needed more help.

Years ago I watched an interview with Marie Osmond. She shared how her family earned the nickname “one-take Osmonds”, because they always delivered a perfect performance. Trying to live up to that expectation became a huge pressure in her life.

Although I’ve never participated in the performing arts, I can relate to Marie. So often in my life I feel like I should be “one-take Shirley”. I put pressure on myself to do everything well, even when I’m learning something new. I don’t like the feeling of letting someone down, even if it’s myself. And while I often remind others to give themselves grace, I find it so hard to extend it to myself.

It’s during times like these when I turn to this passage:

As a father has compassion on his children,
     so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;

for he knows how we are formed,
     he remembers that we are dust. (Psalm 103:13-14 NIV)

The entire psalm praises God for all of His blessings to us. But these verses hold the words of a special truth: God has compassion for us because He understands our limitations. He doesn’t place unrealistic expectations on me ~ I do

When I remembered this, I could laugh at myself. Of course I need help ~ I’ve never done this before! As I reconciled my feelings and accepted God’s gift of grace, I leaned in and learned. As I worked with the expert, she helped me reach a higher level of excellence than I ever could have done on my own. 

I may always struggle with setting unrealistic expectations for myself. Left to my own devices, I make a rather harsh judge. Fortunately I don’t have the last word. Our compassionate Father sees my need for grace and excels at giving it. I need to lean in and learn from Him.

Wherever our life’s journeys take us, I pray we can remember to accept our limitations. And may we also lean in and learn from the One who always extends us grace. 

When It’s Hard To Extend Ourselves Grace For Our Own Limitations

April 21, 2022

We can be so hard on ourselves and forget to give ourselves grace. But God readily gives us grace because He understands our limitations.

Sighing, I closed the email as I tried to identify my feelings. Disappointed? Discouraged? Defeated? Definitely deflated. 

Just a few days earlier I had completed the first stage of a long and complicated writing project. To move it on to completion, I needed to enlist the help of an expert. At first she didn’t think my work would need much help from her. But then she sent me an email which said otherwise. 

It wasn’t the extra cost making me feel mopey. Instead it was that ambiguous sense that I somehow failed –  all because I needed more help.

Years ago I watched an interview with Marie Osmond. She shared how her family earned the nickname “one-take Osmonds”, because they always delivered a perfect performance. Trying to live up to that expectation became a huge pressure in her life.

Although I’ve never participated in the performing arts, I can relate to Marie. So often in my life I feel like I should be “one-take Shirley”. I put pressure on myself to do everything well, even when I’m learning something new. I don’t like the feeling of letting someone down, even if it’s myself. And while I often remind others to give themselves grace, I find it so hard to extend it to myself.

It’s during times like these when I turn to this passage:

As a father has compassion on his children,
     so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;

for he knows how we are formed,
     he remembers that we are dust. (Psalm 103:13-14 NIV)

The entire psalm praises God for all of His blessings to us. But these verses hold the words of a special truth: God has compassion for us because He understands our limitations. He doesn’t place unrealistic expectations on me ~ I do

When I remembered this, I could laugh at myself. Of course I need help ~ I’ve never done this before! As I reconciled my feelings and accepted God’s gift of grace, I leaned in and learned. As I worked with the expert, she helped me reach a higher level of excellence than I ever could have done on my own. 

I may always struggle with setting unrealistic expectations for myself. Left to my own devices, I make a rather harsh judge. Fortunately I don’t have the last word. Our compassionate Father sees my need for grace and excels at giving it. I need to lean in and learn from Him.

Wherever our life’s journeys take us, I pray we can remember to accept our limitations. And may we also lean in and learn from the One who always extends us grace. 

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8 Comments

  1. Joanne on April 22, 2022 at 3:59 AM

    So true, Shirley. Thank you for pointing us to God’s love for us.

    • Shirley Desmond Jackson on April 23, 2022 at 10:53 AM

      Thank you Joanne. I need constant reminders of His love! 💕

  2. Armelle on April 22, 2022 at 10:23 PM

    Thank you, exactly what I needed !

    • Shirley Desmond Jackson on April 23, 2022 at 10:54 AM

      I’m so glad, Armelle! Obviously I needed it too. 😊

      • Cindy on April 30, 2022 at 8:26 AM

        Thank you for this reminder to give myself grace! I struggle with this too, sometimes to the point of debilitation or fear of even getting started.

        • Shirley Desmond Jackson on April 30, 2022 at 3:13 PM

          Thank you Cindy. I’m glad this reminder helped you. I know I needed it as well. 💕

  3. Mysty on April 26, 2022 at 3:12 AM

    Perfect timing for me as I submit my writing to an editor! Thank you, for this gentle reminder!

    • Shirley Desmond Jackson on April 29, 2022 at 9:46 AM

      You’re welcome! I’m praying for you as you take this next step! 💕

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