By Chris Lautsbaugh: I was a good kid. My list of I never ranged much longer than my list of have done.

Where I grew up, maturity was keeping the rules and doing the right things, marking your checklist of spiritual accomplishments and sins avoided. On the outside, I was doing well.

But inside, I was dying.

My accomplishments never felt like enough, and I was being crushed under the weight of my own expectations. I used faith like a self-improvement plan, but ignored my heart in the process. As I cried out for acceptance, inadequacy and inferiority were my constant companions.

Yet when I was exposed to the message of grace as a young adult, I struggled to believe it was for me. Even though it was like a breath of fresh air to my soul, and spoke to my heart in a way that accomplishments and discipline never could, deep down I believed I could manage without it. I’d heard of dramatic turnarounds -- stories of radical sinners embracing the grace of God out of necessity. But me? I followed the rules and tried hard; I didn’t need it. I could figure it out on my own.

I was wrong.

I’ve come to realize that striving for acceptance has kept me in bondage. Performance and appearance were my chains. I’ve slowly begun to loosen them, accepting and admitting my failures. It’s brought freedom, and I’m finally becoming comfortable in my own skin.

But it’s a journey I will be on for the rest of my life. My gospel of the second chance is a moment-by-moment reprogramming of my mind and heart. By falling and getting back up again, I’m learning to embrace second chances and walk in the grace of God.

My soul is desperate for the sweet wind of grace -- something I’ve learned to accept, instead of achieve. What is the prevailing wind if your life ... grace, or achievement?