By: Holly Reimer
Psalm 32
Reflection—v. 1 ‘The one whose wrongdoing is forgiven, whose sin is covered over, is truly happy!’

I am a perfectionist and a people-pleaser. I want to do everything correctly the first time and make sure no one is ever displeased with me. It doesn’t matter how many times I am told that I can’t be perfect and I won’t always get it right, I am determined to be the best and never make any mistakes. Then, of course, there is the shame when I don’t get it right. Shame is one of those things that follows us, particularly in faith and in the church, when we speak of sinfulness. God does not want us to live in shame, beat-down because we are inevitably going to get it wrong. God wants us to be happy and well. True happiness is not never making mistakes or ensuring that no one is ever displeased. True happiness is in finding peace within ourselves and knowing that we don’t have to get it ‘right’ all the time. We often have conversations about relationships at Mercy being ‘mess-up safe.’ In other words, we will inevitably make someone mad, hurt someone’s feelings, or just generally mess up. However, as with God, there can be forgiveness and healing when those things do occur. Knowing that I have a space where it is safe when I mess up—because yes, even pastors get it wrong—brings me joy. It’s not that everyone is happy with me all the time, because they are not. It isn’t because I’ve not made a mistake; I have. It is because there is a process where I acknowledge that I will not always get it right and I will not always make folks happy. It is a process of being my best self. And that is true joy.

Prayer: Lord, help us to see that true happiness comes from you, and is free from guilt or shame.

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