Hey Bloggy Friends! Long time no see. This week has been a crazy-busy. Plus I’ve been fighting off a downward spiral of self-doubt.
You know those days when you feel inadequate at everything you do? Throughout the week, I’ve come up with a laundry list of areas where I’m clearly sub-par:
I’ve felt like an inadequate mom, wife, housekeeper, writer, blogger, discipler, mentor, discipliner, exerciser, launderer, healthy-eater, Christmas-decorator, clothes-shopper, dog-owner etc.
(All-or-nothing, anyone? Why yes, please.)
It came to a head last night, with a venting, crying phone call to the husband (who had ditched me to do a massive catering job. Totally heartless.)
After we talked, I regained some perspective and made it through the evening. (You’ll be glad to know that I still have three children and am not on the run from the law.)
Today I’ve been pondering my meltdown, and I’m reminded of some truths that I need to cling to.
1. God doesn’t expect me to be perfect.
At down times like this, I regress to an old belief: that God is disappointed with me for my inadequacy.
I’m reminded now of this: I believe God can’t be disappointed, because disappointment comes out of unmet expectations. God knows everything, so he can’t be surprised. So at least in Stephanie-logic, it follows that his expectations are 100% realistic and never unmet. He knew I was gonna yell at my kids last night. Does he like it? Of course not. Is he disappointed with or mad at (and thus rejecting) me? No.
For some reason, that makes me feel really relieved.
2. God doesn’t expect me to succeed at everything on my list.
His “list” for me contains no more than one thing: the next step. And he gives me all the tools/skills/knowledge I need to take that step. I do that, and God replaces it with another step. And so on.
So it’s reasonable to expect some things on my list to totally drop off of it. (I don’t think God puts a lot of stock in my clothes-shopping skills.) And others, while they continue to be important, will appear on God’s list in incremental steps of obedience. I don’t have to figure them out now.
I need to be like Billy Crystal’s character in City Slickers, keeping my eyes on One Thing. Whew. That already feels more manageable.
3. God expects more of me than I feel capable of.
Sounds contradictory, but it’s not. God never asks anything of me that he doesn’t also equip me to do. But unequipped by him, his vision for me is too big. So on my own = impossible. Relying on God for his empowerment = totally, supernaturally possible.
It’s so easy to drift away from reliance on God. The vision shrinks to something I consider achievable. I start operating on autopilot, doing what seems right to me. And life becomes a journey of surviving.
You know what I’m thankful for? God’s pursuit of me. Not only does he not reject me; he never stops pursuing me.
Inevitably, my cycle of God-reliance/self-reliance/God-reliance looks like this:
Rely on me. Come up with goals I can accomplish. Start pursuing them. Recognize other important goals. Add them to the list. Recognize more priorities. Add them to the list.
[This is where God's pursuit comes in!]
Suddenly notice the whole list I’ve created. Panic because I realize it’s no longer achievable. Feel hopeless and alone. Oh! Remember that I’m not alone; I just need to turn around to see that God is beside me.
Run to him.
Give him my list.
Question for you: Are you carrying God’s list? Or yours?
[Jesus said] “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”