My best of friends, v, is going through a bit of a rough patch right now. Her and I both bounce back and forth between joy & exhaustion, and it seems like God always gives one of us the "right" perspective at the other's down moments. It's one of God's greatest gifts to me, to have a friend who understands being up, and being down, and who knows the One who is greater than my feelings.
Yesterday, she came to me feeling a way that I have felt a million times before, and I think most moms feel a million times. Adequacy. Or lack there of. How many times do we go through the motions, and feel like we aren't measuring up? You unpacked the dishwasher (three times today) swept the floor (it still looks dirty) made three meals (and somehow half of it ended up on your shirt...) but the kids wouldn't eat it. You ended up raising your voice and losing your temper, and now your husband's on his way home, and frankly, you think this could be all his fault, but aren't really sure how yet. Don't worry, you'll think of a list of reasons while he's driving.
Our longing for perfection is deeply ingrained in us. And we all fall short. Every day.
I had the chance to attend an amazingly relaxing womens' retreat this weekend. The speaker was Jane Rubietta (and most of my thoughts will pertain to her talks she gave from her book, Come Closer... though I have not read it so can't endorse it fully!)
She spoke of the longing we all have for perfection. We were made for a perfect world, and despite our attempts, we can't recreate it the way we want to.
When you think of "home" and what you had hoped for.... are you there yet? Are you the mom you thought you'd be? Are you the wife you thought you'd be? The volunteer you think you should be? The perfect daughter, sister, friend? Most of us aren't.
Jane concludes that at the root of our longing for perfection is actually a longing to be loved perfectly. To be loved better by our spouse, our children, our parents, our friends. But God's response to this desire is surprising. Because He actually DOES Love us perfectly! But, He loves us perfectly through imperfect people.
The Thief steals the joy from these moments by planting seeds of doubt, of frustration, of reminding you of the ways that the people in our lives are falling short. The way that our life doesn't measure up to what we think we "deserved"... and we our emotions get taken for quite the ride. We get indignant, we feel tired, we try to distract ourselves by staying busy.
But there is a way to break the cycle, there's a way to draw closer to the One who can love us perfectly. First, we have to cling to what we know to be true. That means a) Knowing God's Word. and b) Reminding ourselves of what we know about God when we don't feel like it. Here is my go to list: He is Creator. He is All Mighty. He is All Powerful. He is Good. He is a Potter, and I am His clay. He wants good for me. His ways are better than mine.
Second, We have to create room for God to work. This means taking a breather. Giving yourself a moment to think, to reflect, to pray. It means letting God do what He wants to do by not trying to overly control every detail in every moment.
Third, We have to Call Out. We have to call out to our friends, family, our spouse... when we need help, we need people to turn to. After creating all of the world, calling each and every thing Good, the very next thing God says.... it is not Good ... for man to be alone. It is not.
Jesus tells us that he came so that we might have life, and have it in abundance. Living life feeling like we are failing is no way to live life abundantly. We can't experience God's peace and joy that He desperately wants for us if we are constantly feeling like we are Failures.
To continually draw on God's strength, His love, His grace... it leaves little room for feeling desperate, exhausted, joyless.
So who's voice is it that you hear when you feel like you are not enough? Not a good enough wife, not a good enough mother, not a good enough house keeper, home maker, food preparer....not a good enough music leader, not a better teacher.... Is it a parent? a spouse? a friend? a teacher? Maybe it's just your own voice, your own expectations that you can't live up to.
But God has told me who I am. He has told you who You are. We are His. We are loved. We are created in His very own image. He wants what is good for you. You are wonderfully and fearfully made (Psalm 139) You are the apple of His eye (Psalm 17) You are his treasured possession (Deuteronomy 7)
Who are you going to choose to believe?