You Don't Deserve That
Updated: Aug 21, 2019
When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
~ Deuteronomy 6:10-12 ~
“It must be nice to have a husband who is so supportive of your writing.” The words were kind, but her tone was clear. She really meant, “You don’t deserve an encouraging husband.” I immediately wanted to pull her aside, Power Point in hand and lead her slide through slide about all the ways I did deserve to write and how hard I worked to earn the right to speak into other women’s lives.
The more you and I walk in our God-given destinies, the more God’s grace, those gifts we don’t deserve, will shine through us. But when others use God’s grace to dismiss our success, our first line of defense is to count all the ways we DO deserve it. “But you don’t understand. I’ve worked so hard. Sit down and let me explain all the ways I’ve earned it.”
But deep within us, we know they’re right. At least partially. We may have worked hard for our success, but there was always that little something extra that pushed us over the top. I could write all day, attend all the writer’s conferences in the country, and in the end if my husband was not supportive, my career would dry up. Worse than that, I knew I didn’t deserve a supportive husband. Girls like me whose families have known nothing but broken homes for over three generations don’t find warm, encouraging husbands of our own. And yet I did. Opportunity, good timing, even the ability to create are gifts from God. We can’t take complete credit for our success. Some part of it is a sheer miracle.
Then the guilt sets in. I shouldn’t be proud of my success. Either I disgrace God by pretending I deserve everything or I despair into guilt because I know I don’t deserve it.
Here’s what God taught me about success: if you are searching for your destiny or actively living it out, you are going to have to embrace God’s grace for you. Yes, you didn’t do it all on your own. Yes, you don’t deserve it, and God is perfectly OK with that. You should be too.
In fact, God prepared the ancient Israelites to receive everything they didn’t earn. Read Deuteronomy 6:10-12. Does God ask them to feel guilty? Does He insist they give all of our blessings away or pretend that we worked hard enough to earn this?
So what does God ask us to do when we are on the receiving end of grace? God simply asks that we remember who brought us to the party. He doesn’t ask that we make guilty atonements for what we don’t deserve. He doesn’t ask that we give it all away and apologize for ever having it. Instead, God simply asks that we remember Him and say thank you.
So the next time someone points out how easy your success comes from things you didn’t do, say, “You’re right. Isn’t God gracious?”