I have been thinking so much lately about the immense pressure (and also guilt) I feel as a mom, wife, friend, daughter, person to get it all right in life. The weight of perceived expectations I feel from myself and others feels unbearable most days. Even if it feels like I’m getting one thing right, I have a steady list of all the ways I’m failing in the back of my mind.
God’s been speaking to me a lot about the control I think I have over my outcome. And it is freeing me each day as I give into the reality he is ultimately in control. When I resist my own humanness–my own frailty–the stress and pressure of life becomes insurmountable.
I am a perfectionist. I always have been. I put immense pressure on myself with everything. When I operate in this perfectionist mode, I deny my humanity. I deny my pain. I deny my frailty. And ultimately and most importantly, I deny God’s grace.
Recently, I came face-to-face with my own control issues. We were hoping to get our boys both into a great, smaller preschool in the area. I knew there would be tons of competition because of the sheer volume of kids in our neighborhood, but was bound and determined that this was the right school for them! The stress and worry I felt over their outcome was causing me to lose sleep and live with a constant sick feeling in my stomach. I just knew that if they could get in, everything next year would be perfect! I called the school, explaining to them my situation, and asked what I could do to assure them a spot. I told them I would do anything in my power to make it happen. Have you ever felt this strong need and urge to literally move heaven and earth for what you think is best?
As I drove to the school registration meeting with knots in my stomach, I decided I should probably pray (don’t you love how that was my last resort?!). I began to pray a prayer of favor and blessing over my boys, that somehow miraculously when the school administrators seeing my sons’ names on the forms, they would just KNOW my boys were meant to be a part of their school and admit them. I know, it’s laughable. My prayer was full of control. None of it echoed our Lord’s simple, perfect prayer – “Your will be done.” (Matthew 6:10)
As I rambled and rambled in an attempt to ease my anxiety, the Lord stopped me in my tracks. So clearly, he spoke, “Baby, they’re going to end up right where I want them.” Instantly, his peace swept over me and changed my perspective entirely. In that moment, it genuinely no longer mattered to me whether or not my boys got into this specific school because I realized that God cared even more than I do about their lives, and they will truly end up right where he wants them. It is true of their school situation, and also the entirety of their lives.
When we realize God is control of the outcome, the pressure is off of us.
Can you relate to this at all? Do you feel the weight of life too much to bear most days? I want to help free us up today to embrace our weakness, brokenness, faults, and complete lack of control so that the grace of God may rest strong upon us as children of the most gracious King.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.’” –2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Are you the type of person that boasts and is content in your weakness? If you’re anything like me, you try with all your might to hide and deny your shortcomings completely, let alone put them on display to boast of! Sure, it is important to do your absolute best, and work hard to be the best version of yourself. But more than any of that, I hope we catch that the point isn’t constantly fixing yourself, it’s the realization that you will never be perfect, and it’s time for us to change the way we see ourselves. It’s time to get off the hamster wheel of striving for perfection. The only way to be fully human is to fully let God be God. He isn’t putting the pressure on us to get it all right and be perfect people, folks. So it’s time we do the same.
“He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities… For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.” –Psalm 103:10-14
Embracing the reality of your frailty and trusting God with all control is how you be fully human in life. As you tap into your lack, hurt, imperfections, stress and bad moods, allow it to shape who you are. Be real with your family, friends, and co-workers, and repent to them when you mess up. Let them know if you’re having a bad day. It is okay to be human. The things you’ve gone through in life and are going through help make you who you are. They are the lessons you’ll share. Give those feelings and experiences weight and let them matter. Show your people what it looks like to apologize swiftly, because you will never get it all right.
And that is the key. To release yourself of the pressure to get it all right. You won’t. God will. I will say that again, GOD WILL. He will get it all right, friends. Let him fill the gap. He’s really good at that.
Deep breaths, brothers and sisters. You guys are doing a great job. And as we point people to sweet Jesus in all our brokenness, we will take our rightful place in his kingdom. And he will be on his throne.