I was in third grade. I remember this day like it was yesterday. It was my birthday and so I got to bring in birthday treats for the entire class. I was so excited to bring in one of my favorite types of cookies- oatmeal chocolate chip. I helped my mom bake them the night before and couldn’t wait to pass them out to all my friends. Well, the next morning I bounded onto the bus, oatmeal cookies in tow and smiling from ear to ear. The day seemed to crawl by as I checked the clock every couple minutes… After lunch and recess, we all came back into the classroom. It was the moment I had been waiting for. Birthday snack distribution time. I walked around placing a napkin on each person’s desk. Then I began to pass out my prized cookies. Everything was going great until the second kid I gave a cookie to asked what kind it was. “Oatmeal chocolate chip!” I said proudly. The kid made a face of disgust and shook his head. I then proceeded to go down the row of desks, with one classmate after another turning down my chocolate chip cookies because it had oatmeal in it. I felt crushed. Here I was, letting my classmates down. I had wrecked what was supposed to be the greatest snack time ever by simply adding oatmeal to the mix.
I tell you this story because it demonstrates something about me that I have wrestled with my entire life. And that is this-I hate disappointing people. I absolutely hate it. The fear of letting people down always creeps up on me. I know that it’s an unhealthy fear and that I shouldn’t be living to please others, but I cannot stand the thought of letting the people down in my life.
There are times when I feel like I’m disappointing people. Whether it be by my actions or words, I feel like I come up short. Like what I’m doing isn’t good enough. Like I’m messing up time and time again with no hopes of getting it right.
Not only do I feel as if I’m disappointing people sometimes, but there are times when I feel like I’m disappointing God. And that’s a whole lot worse. This week, I felt the inner tension of disappointing a God whom I love and serve. I said things I shouldn’t have. As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I wished I could take them back. I immediately knew that the words that I said were not God-honoring nor uplifting. Lately, I feel as if I’ve handled situations with those around me in ways that could have been more God-honoring.
I mess up. A lot. But God reminded me of something so powerful this week that I had to share. Because I know that there’s at least one other person out there (and probably many more) who have felt like you let God down. But here’s what He reminded me. While our actions and choices may be disappointing, God is never disappointed in us. While we may mess up, He never looks at us through the lens of our choices. If we believe that He sent his one and only son to die on the cross for our mistakes and sins, He looks at us through the lens of Jesus Christ. We are forgiven because of the cross. And no matter how many times we mess up, God will never be disappointed in us. He is cheering us on. He is on our side. And if you make Him cookies with oatmeal, He will gladly accept them.
He accepts us and our oatmeal cookies because He loves us so incredibly much. While I may let people down, I will not let God down. We aren’t perfect. But Jesus Christ is. Therefore, God looks at us as righteous. Not as guilty and coming up short.
While we may disappoint others that come across our path, we can’t live in fear of it. Letting others down is bound to happen. We are all imperfect and messy people, leaving a trail of cookie crumbs behind us. However, I rejoice in the fact that I don’t have to live in guilt or fear. I am forgiven. What a reason to celebrate! We don’t come to God through good works and a passing report card. We come to Him broken and in pieces. God demonstrates an unconditional love in a world that is based on conditions. While people say, “I will love and accept you if you bring me the right type of cookie,” God says “Bring over that cookie tray. I accept you because I love you and I sent my son for you.”
Now that’s powerful.
“Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” Psalm 34:5