Living the Reclaimed Life

#49 Receiving Grace ~ Valerie L. McMahon

February 07, 2022 Season 2 Episode 49
Living the Reclaimed Life
#49 Receiving Grace ~ Valerie L. McMahon
Show Notes Transcript

Can we ever perform well enough, be successful enough, to achieve God's grace? In this episode, Denisha and Valerie talk about their personal struggles with perfectionism and achievement. "Give yourself grace." is a phrase we often hear in Christian circles. Yet is it really possible to give yourself grace or is it more about learning to receive it?

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God, love, abandonment, distorted, grace, talking, grew, valerie, mom, realizing, people, receive, shift, performance, relate, life, earn, interesting, wound, felt


Valerie McMahon, Denisha Workizer

Denisha Workizer  00:01

Well, welcome back. I have Valerie McMahon here with me today. Hello. And we are so excited to kick off season two. So that is pretty awesome.

Valerie McMahon  00:13

That's amazing.

Denisha Workizer  00:14

I know we're excited about this, we took a little break in January, just because life in December was a little crazy. And that got us ready to launch season two. And I love the topic that we're going to be talking about, we're actually going to do a two part because we know us. And we know that we're never going to be able to cover everything that we want to share with you guys in one episode. When you think of February, you think of love, right. And we know that that can be a hard subject, right? Some of us really want love. Some of us have love some of us are grieving love that we had. And it can be a really tender topic. And so as Valerie and I were kind of processing what we would be talking about in February, on both our blog and the podcast, we were talking about distorted love. And I think you know, when we think about that there's so many different ways that we can either experience love that's been distorted, or we can even give distorted love. And so today, Valerie and I thought we'd kind of kick off this by talking about some different ways that our understanding of God's love can be distorted. So we're kind of going to talk about the vertical right now. And then later on in the month, we're going to talk about more horizontal and our relationships and things like that. But for today, we're going to kind of share Yeah, distorted love like that, Valerie, for you. What comes up when you think of distorted love?


Valerie McMahon  01:44

Well, I think when it comes to God, first and foremost, because I was going to say how are the distorted love that can happen in our horizontal relationships really starts with our view of God, and our view of God and our view of how he loves us. I think, to me, when distorted love as far as distort love of God, you know, distorted view of God's love. I think about what do I need to do for that love. And I think that's one of the number one lies. I know, for me, as, as some of you know, as I've shared, I grew up in the church Tanisha I grew up and a Christian home, love my parents wonderful parents. wonderful church experience. But I think for me, as I've looked back, and how I understood God's love, I knew God loved me. I knew that He created me. But somewhere along the way, in my childhood, and even as I grew up to adulthood, there was a shift where I felt like I had to do something to not only earn that love, but remain in that love. Hmm. So that's that distorted view.


Denisha Workizer  03:07

So how does that How has that played out for you, like as a child and as an adult?

Valerie McMahon  03:13

Well, you know, it's interesting, I look back at my childhood, and I said, I definitely felt loved for my parents and felt love from God. But from a very early age, for me, it was, I could see a threat of performance in almost everything I did. I mean, I, I was a good student, I wanted to earn the a and I everything I did, whether it was softball or performing arts, like I wanted to do the best that I could, but I remember how I always felt like things had to be just so like, even in fifth grade, I remember like, my teacher had to have a meeting with my mom. It's like she's working too hard. No, I was like, what, you know, I thought that was a good thing.

Denisha Workizer  03:57

Some parents are listening, right? Yeah, I wish that was what 

Valerie McMahon  04:02

like you're doing you know, she, she just gets I literally didn't each I would get wound up in knots, like, like stressful knots over like, not having a blank on my homework. Like, you know, I mean, and I think looking back, it's like, okay, why, like, Why was there that need to, to have it all figured out to have it all right. And so there wasn't I don't think there was a particular event. I didn't really have a lot of trauma or tragedy growing up. But but somehow and and I believe even sometimes, generationally, I know my mom and dad you know, there's even just when they were growing up just you know the need to you know, you do the right thing you you know, you obey God and it was more like, this is what you do to please God and this is what you do to not please God. So I think sometimes even the church, you know, sometimes the message that is sent in the church you know, can get It distorted even as we receive it. So yeah, I it's, it's something that I continue to even struggle with in in that that performance based kind of perspective is what you know, we see God more as what a master, right? Like you do this, you're in my favor, you don't do this you're not in my favor and that's not that's not who God is right we know God is a loving father, but how? How do we change that? That view?

Denisha Workizer  05:35

Yeah. And you know, I think I find it interesting that you grew up in a Christian home. And so you had all of you had the Bible being tied you had you know, the the love of your parents leading you into that relationship with Christ. And for me, I can relate to so much of what you said, however, I didn't grow up in a Christian home. And I think we're kind of that distortion for me came in obviously, I didn't know the Lord I came Lord when I was 21. And so for me, growing up, I was a big time perfectionist still am, I'd like to say recovering. But sometimes, I think I still might be an addicted perfectionist. I'm working through that. That is something the Lord constantly has to attend to me. And, you know, when I find myself getting to those places, I've done a lot of work, you know, kind of some story work, figuring out where in my story did that start coming in, where I thought I had to be perfect. And, you know, my parents, and this isn't to blame them. It's just as I was tracing back in my story, like your parents are still married, my parents were divorced when I was a couple months old. And for me, I think I really deal with rejection and abandonment. And so I feel like to achieve to perform to be the best to be competitive that those things somehow fill that space in me where I feel abandoned or rejected. And recently, I saw a study that does that said that 90% of people in the world you guys, like 90% of people in the world that have those types that have those wounds, their wounds are abandonment and rejection. And so I think for me, it came in at an early age not because not just because my parents got divorced, if you've been divorced your kids do not doesn't mean they're going to struggle with abandonment, rejection, this is my personal struggle. But I think growing up with my mom and not my dad, I think that did something to me, where I always yearned for that dad and thought if I'm a good enough little girl, maybe, you know, my teacher will let me maybe all find favor here or there. And, and so I think it played out in my life a lot. And to where, I guess that strive for praise or approval acceptance from people is where I think I distorted love a lot like if the better the higher my paycheck was, you know, I was in the jewelry industry at a young age. And so I was making really good money, like at 20 years old, and I think I had a lot of my identity wrapped up in, I'm doing well, I'm successful and this but really, I was just striving to try to meet some sort of God spot in my heart. That was never going to be filled until I met him.

Valerie McMahon  08:13

Yeah. Yeah. And I think there was, it's interesting you talk about rejection, because I, I think one of the first pain points in my story was I had a best friend from I move schools in third grade. So she was my best friend from third grade. The school went up to fifth grade. I mean, we did softball together. I mean, we dressed alike. I mean, we were best friends. And I told you about this time in my life in fifth grade, where my teacher had had a meet with my mom, because like, I was just tying myself up and, you know, stressful knots over, you know, my homework and all that. And it's interesting, because after that time, you know, my my best friend salts like, you know, Valerie is getting this attention, you know, from her teacher, the special attention, she ended up kind of rejecting me as a friend. And, and I was doing some story work story work a few years ago, too, and just realizing, like, I never realized that was still a wound that I was rejected for this performance based, you know, life I was living and it's like, gosh, there was so much shame in that and that like, oh, like, then then this is not right. And it's almost like I got kind of this last like, Okay, what like, like, I thought this was the right thing. And then now my friends rejected me because, you know, I'm, I'm, you know, getting help for this or that. And so, it's like, it's amazing how this feeling that we're talking about this feeling of, you know, rejection, abandonment, you know, it can start so young, and we don't always realize at that time the lies that are sown, just from Even just a moment like that, and how that can carry if we can't, if we don't, that's why, you know, story work we're talking about. It's so important to go back and be, you know, we don't want to go back, right? We don't want to open up those chapters again. But yet, there's connection there. There's connection to like, Where Where was that first lie believed? Where was that first wound? And we have to allow God to speak truth in that moment in that memory, and that, you know, that's what's been, that's what's been helpful for me.

Denisha Workizer  10:36

So good. You know, as you're saying that I'm actually thinking back that isn't it interesting, like rejection and abandonment, right, I can find many places where my story intercepted with those feelings. And I, I chose, I chose to hold on to them, they just sort of made that impact in my heart. And but it's interesting, my mom being a single mom being super super driven. She worked a ton. And so I saw her work as I would be upset that you know, she would work and succeed and do things like that. But at the same time, my heart I thought, rejection, abandonment, isn't it interesting that I'm choosing that same path, you know what I mean, like that achieving that I'm going to be successful, like my mom, but yet, those were the very those very actions that led to those emotions bubbling up in me at a young age. And, like, still even, you know, now it's like, oh, I can achieve, I can kind of fill that hole. But the truth is, like, we're totally accepted in God's love, right? We're justified by grace, like, our serving our performance, our achievement should be motivated, like, by a deep gratitude for being unconditionally loved and accepted by God not trying to fill some wound or something, like you said, that comes in at such an early age.

Valerie McMahon  11:49

Well, and I think, I don't know, I mean, we can say it's our culture, which I do, I do believe, you know, obviously, we're products of, of our culture in many ways, but we, we do have such a how do you put it like, people applaud, and praise what you do, and not just who you are? And, you know, I think it's, it's leaked into every part of our society, even our churches, and even how we, you know, the, the idea of serving, you know, my bringing back to my mom's upbringing, she said, you know, we were taught, you know, you're the hands and feet of Jesus, which we are, but it's like, you know, we are not loved any more any less by how we serve, or what we do for God, you know, we should do for God, out of our love for Him out of His love for us, but we don't do for God to get that love. And I think that, but yeah, I think I think a lot of it when we, you know, think about identity, it's like, you know, a lot of times you say you at even ask people, What do you do? You know, on an airplane, what do you do? You know, we never really asked people who are you? With me? You know, we should, they should do that?

Denisha Workizer  13:09

Are you are? Valerie,

Valerie McMahon  13:12

tell me who you are? I mean, to really get but I think Denise, I think that's, you know, in addition to these pain points, we've talked about our childhood, where we attached a certain belief, a certain lie, it's, it's just, you know, as Christians, can we make that shift? I mean, we are as believers, can we, can we be that influence in the world to say, hey, you know, I'm not, I'm not just going to point out, you know, even like, with our children, you know, from a very early age, or early my parenting, I, I started shifting from, you're a good girl to, you know, like, or, like, just, what am I trying to say, like, trying to focus on who they are not just like, Oh, that was good. That was good, what you did, but like, no, it's like, You are precious, you are beautiful. You are loved. And I think that's, you know, that's where it starts in our own thoughts of realizing that God loves me. Just as I am, as I get up in the morning, and breathe and wake up, I am so loved, whether I open my Bible first thing in the morning or not, whether I speak a unkind word or not, whether I go in, in serve the poor or not like, I am loved. And as we know that love that's like, that's what compels us to do all those things. You know, like that, and that is still I'm in a Bible study right now going through the spiritual disciplines. And we were just talking about the study of God's word. It's like how do we approach the study of God's Word? Do we actually This was kind of a cool connection. Jesus is called the word Jesus is the Word, the logos. And, like, if you look at every word of the Bible being the Word of God, then as we come to Scripture, see it not as something we're doing, but as that we are actually, every word we read, we are with Jesus, we are with the word like, we are having relationship with him. Does that make sense? Like that still, that it's not about doing? It's about being with no, that's good. The presence of God. So yeah, that's just oh, that's what so some of the things that God is just working in me right now. So

Denisha Workizer  15:43

I love that it's like, do we want to live by the love of the law? Or do we want to live by the law of love? Amen. Yeah. And, you know, we, as you were saying that it kind of reminded me of the prodigal son, you know, that he the prodigal son goes out you know, does just makes a mess of his life right? Comes back and the fathers welcoming him home the father's like, what relationship part that love love, you know, you just see this love this embracing that's let's throw a party. And then you have his older brother, who's like, but wait, I followed all the rules.

Valerie McMahon  16:16

I did all the right things. Yeah, no, that's me. I really,

Denisha Workizer  16:22

he's like, I served you. I've been with you, I all these years, I've served you. I've done all the right things. And yet you, you know, kill the fatted calf and throw a party for my brother who went out and squandered his inheritance and all of this. And, you know, I think a lot of times when we hear that story, we can relate with the prodigal son, right, we can relate with, oh, I can come thank goodness, because I messed up a whole lot. Yes, I can run home to the arms of the Father. And I remember, and I don't have it open right now. So forgive me if I am off a little bit. But I remember one of the things the father says to the older brother, a lot of times we relate to the prodigal son, but I think the the more I've been studying the more I've been looking into things, the more I think I relate honestly, I realized my heart is probably more aligned with the older brother than the running home to dad with you know, you know, you're gonna throw a party like in bracing that love that He has to offer but and I'm working on through that right but that's real. And I think I can relate a lot to the to the older brother who's like, but wait, I've done this, this this but I love there's some part in there where the father says, but everything I have is yours. And so it's almost like saying no matter what you did, you could go squander come back, not that we want to do that. Because you know, there's there's consequences. But like, everything I have is yours. And I just always remember that piece going. That's so cool. You know that everything God has all the grace, all the love, all the everything that we don't have to earn it and follow that law. I mean, of course we want to write like, because there's there's consequence to that relationship. There's things but like, we really can live under that law of love versus the love of the law.

Valerie McMahon  17:57

Yeah. Well, it's interesting. You you just brought up about grace. And I'm going to challenge Um, can I say something challenging, even challenging our own and I, I've said this phrase many times myself, but you know, we often say the, say the phrase to encourage somebody else, give yourself grace. You know, if you think about that phrase, there is a lot of performance kind of under lining that because Can we really give ourselves grace? Because where does Grace come from? Grace is a gift, a free gift from the father that he has lavished on us. And that's an Ephesians one. And so I'm going to challenge you. No, that's okay. There's nothing wrong. If you say this phrase, I say it, too. But I just want to challenge our listeners. When you think about that word, you know, give yourself grace, that puts you in the seat of having to do the work, the work has already been done. You. You cannot earn grace, you can really not give yourself grace. So I want to challenge our listeners, as we're kind of talking about this shift in perspective is change the word give to receive, you know, and just being able to say, God, I receive this gift of grace today, because Denisa I said, I grew up in the church and you know, there's many scriptures that talk about the grace we receive our salvation, which that is what salvation is, it's a gift. It's something we cannot earn. And so, you know, Scripture talks about we receive this gift of grace as salvation. And I think some of what's played into that distortion that we've been talking about for me is that realizing that grace is not a gift just given us salvation, that grace is something we literally receive every single day. You know, we we I love the scripture, and we often quote you know, his mercies are new every morning. And you know, you think if You can kind of interchange grace in that too. Like, he gives us new grace. Every single morning, like, we don't have this gift like this present, we open that salvation. It's like, okay, you know, when it's gone, it's gone. You know, when it when it wears out, you know, but something like his gift of grace is new every morning. So, so just you know, as we're, and I know, we'll talk about more in our second part next week, but just again, that that shift, sometime that little shift of language, can make all the difference in how we view God, you know, that we can't give ourselves grace, we can receive it, we can give it to somebody else, because God's given it to us. But we really just have to open up our hands. If you have to do that physically or our hearts and say, God, I receive this, there's, there's power in that, because he's already given it. We don't have to earn it. But we do have to, you know, we receive it, we we openly say, God, yes, I acknowledge that this is something I cannot earn. And I receive it. So I wanted to give that challenge.


Denisha Workizer  21:08

As my that's a great challenge. I love the word receive. Mm hmm. And we can't give what we don't have. So if we receive grace, we can have we have grace to give. Amen. I love that. All right. Well, we're going to come back next week, and we're going to talk about a few more lies that we believe to know today we hit on performance, achievement, perfectionism. And next week, let's tackle some more. And because I know we're not alone in this, and neither are you. So if you can relate to what we talked about today, you're not alone in this and we'd love to connect with you more. We have you can go to reclaim We're a nonprofit organization in Tucson, Arizona. And there's blogs on there. And this is our heart right that we can find hope and healing from our past through a vibrant relationship with Jesus. And so as you go on there, there's blogs, there's we have a jewelry line, to help just affirm your identity in Christ and all sorts of resources. You can read other ladies stories of transformation on there as well, of just different things that Jesus has done in the lives of women. So we hope you're encouraged by that today. And we'll see you same time, same place next week.