"And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:6 [ESV]
Philippians 1 verse 6 will forever be my reassurance, especially when I fail. Jesus has begun a good work in me and he will complete it - this means He hasn't yet, I am a work in progress... and that is okay! As much as I want to be that perfect superwoman of Proverbs 31, a perfect reflection of Christ here on Earth etc etc, let's face it, I'm not! Not by any stretch of the imagination. I am human and my ugly human flaws are here for all to see! I can be super stubborn when I want to be to name just one flaw, but trust me the list goes on and on. No, hands up, I suck at being a reflection of Christ here on Earth. I'm not even that dim reflection they talk about in 1 Corinthians 13 - more like a really muddy puddle! But I am trying, with God's help I am trying to be less of a muddy puddle and more like Christ. Sometimes this can be incredibly frustrating, I don't want to keep failing and messing up I want to be that perfect reflection that I am called to be right now! But Philippians 1:6 gives me hope, hope that I'm not perfect yet but I am on my way and Christ is working in me. So when I make mistakes, I do the wrong thing, actually it is okay. Let me be clear - I am not saying that this is an excuse to do the wrong thing, not at all! But when we do make mistakes, the wrong choices etc and come back to the cross with them, we can be assured God will accept us and it is not the end of the world that we didn't get it right at our first attempt, or even our second or third! We are working out how to be like Christ, and He is working on it with us. So next time you mess up, how about having a little grace towards yourself for a change.
By the same token, this also means that those around us are works in progress too and that is also okay [I need grace towards myself when I mess up, but I also need it towards those around me who mess up - especially when their mess up effects me]. People can hurt us with things they say, don't say, do and don't do, because they too are human and works in progress. I think we often expect people in our church to be perfect, to do all the right things, say all the right things, and do what we expect and think is right - but it does not work like that. They are also a work in progress, even church leaders, the people around us we put up on pedestals and speakers at huge conferences who seem to have it all worked out - they too are still Human and still works in progress. Coming to terms with and accepting that the people around us are also in fact still works in progress too has brought a lot of peace to me over the years and peace brings healing.
Reading through "The Little book of lent" compiled by Canon Arthur Howells, there is a section by Maria Boulding entitled "The Marked life". Part of the prayer at the end of this section says:
"Take me into your peace, Lord -
your peace which brings me healing"
Which I think, even on it's own, is a great little prayer to embrace.