Monthly Archives: May 2014

She’s Outta My League

Standard

I’ll never be good enough for her. She will never be pleased with what I do or how I do it.

No matter how much I accomplish in a day it’s never enough. According to her, there’s always at least one more thing I could’ve done.

She always has a To Do list for me that I can never seem to complete. And even if I do happen to finish everything, she guilts me for not paying enough attention to my kids.

She’s such a tyrant. Everything must be perfect. And no matter how early I start, I’m a procrastinator to her and I should be able to get everything done faster.

She is never satisfied. She constantly stands over my shoulder pointing out the spots I’ve missed or the ways I could’ve done it better.

“You should’ve done it like this,” she says. “Why can’t you do it right the first time?” she asks. “Why are you always in such a hurry and so unorganized?”

I am sick of her. She’s making me crazy. Her voice grates on my nerves like nails on a chalkboard. I get a knot in my stomach when I think of her and yet I can’t seem to deny the desire for her approval.

She tells me everyone should like me, think I’m fun. I should light up every room I walk in to, blazing with love and joy—regardless of how I feel at that moment. And even when I think I’ve done that, she tells me I missed my chance.

She makes me analyze every conversation, reevaluate every encounter to assess whether I said or did the right thing.

“There’s always room for improvement,” she says. I can always be a better wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, employee, hostess, driver, citizen…

She’s with me all the time so you’d think I’d be used to her by now or able to tune her out. But she’s like a siren I can’t silence; a piercing sound in the night and a steady ringing in the morning.

Believe me, I’d LOVE to get away from her but I can’t. She’s everywhere, all the time. I cannot escape her presence. She is powerful and extremely influential. She governs my thoughts and directs my steps.

Will she ever give up on me and let me be? Why does she find such pleasure in taunting me? She is cruel and brutally honest. How do I get rid of her?

I have kindly asked her to leave, dropped subtle hints, even flat out demanded she go. I’ve tried every approach but nothing has worked.

I am left with only one option. It’s not a pleasant one but it’s the only choice I’ve got left.

I have to kill her.

She won’t go down easy, that’s for sure. I know because I’ve done it before. Killed her, that is. But it’s like she’s got nine lives. She keeps coming back.

Who is this woman, you ask? And why do you associate with her? Is she your boss? Your mother? A so-called friend? An enemy? The Devil? Why do you allow this person into your life?

Because she is Me.

I am the bane of my existence.

I am my own worst critic. I make ridiculous demands of myself and hold myself hostage until they are met.

Oh, I cutesie it up by calling myself an Over-Achiever or Type A Personality, but what I actually am is a bully. I beat myself up and compare everything I do to the “ideal” way it could have been done.

I wish I could blame this tendency on Momma or some traumatic experience I endured as a child but I can’t. My childhood was happy and pretty much a yawn fest when it comes to drama.

I am this way through no one’s doing. (Well, perhaps we can toss a little blame to the ad exec’s and air-brushed magazine images.) I am this way because it is my nature—my sin nature.

I am the only one torturing me. No one else has these expectations of me, only I do. I am the one I am trying to outperform and impress. I am the one who has created these absurd requirements for living. Me.

In fact, I am harder on myself than God is.

“As a father has compassion on his children, so The Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust.”~Psalm 103:13-13

My heavenly Father knows who I really am. He does not demand these things of me. All He requires is that I love Him above all else and that I love my neighbor as myself. That’s it. (Matthew 22:36-40)

He doesn’t tell me my house must be spotless and my flower bed weeded. He doesn’t say my parties have to be Pinterest-worthy and my décor HGTV-ready. He doesn’t demand my car be clean and my kids wear matching outfits. He doesn’t even require I maintain my ideal body weight or that I move up the ladder at my workplace.

These are lies from Satan and Myself.

C.S. Lewis said, “Oh to be free from myself just for a moment, from all my silly posing and posturing and look at me and aren’t I a good boy. Just to be free from myself for a moment is like a drink of cold water to a man in a desert.”

Oh, Mr. Lewis. You hit the nail on the head with that one.

“Shake off your dust; rise up, sit enthroned, O Jerusalem. Free yourself from the chains on your neck, O captive Daughter of Zion.” ~Isaiah 52:2

I do long to be free from Myself, my captor. I want to wage battle on this fleshly part of me and end the war once and for all. I want to be at peace with Myself and have patience with Me. I want to finally see myself as God does, a precious daughter whom He loves enough to die for.

“Jesus said, ‘You are truly my disciples if you live as I tell you to and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”~ John 8:31

I AM the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” ~John 14:6

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” ~Galatians 2:20

Jesus is The Truth and it is He who frees me from Myself. He is my defense; Truth is my weapon. I must die so He can live. I therefore have no other choice but to bludgeon Myself with Truth.

“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?”~James 4:1

Before you join my battle cry, let me warn you—the truth hurts. When we allow The Holy Spirit onto the battlefield of our heart it gets touchy and uncomfortable. He’s a warrior and He doesn’t hold back.

But if freedom is what we’re after we must forge ahead and realize the truth of who we are, both in Christ and in our flesh. This truth is both atrocious and beautiful.

My quest for truth has uncovered an unrelenting and embarrassing need I have for validation. The People-Pleasing-Over-Achiever in me never feels I’m hitting the bar, so I am desperate for someone to tell me I am. I want others to appreciate and commend all I do so I can feel I’ve finally Done It. I want someone—everyone—to see how hard I try and tell me it’s enough. More than enough, actually.

But Truth painfully reminds me I’m not enough and never will be, “for ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23).

Conversely, though I was dead in my transgressions, I was still worth saving.

“But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” ~Ephesians 2:4-5

The grace of God is enough for me.

“For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.”~ Ephesians 1:4

Jesus is more than enough because I never will be.

Because of my relationship with Jesus, I am looked on as Clean. Forgiven. Perfect. God the Father sees the righteousness of Christ when He sees me.

Jesus is there pleading my case, praying for me, closing the gap between who I am and who God says I need to be.

The awareness of this gap is known as insecurity and it, too must be conquered.

Death by Truth is just the first battle; the next is even more sensitive. We must render ourselves insecure and seek humility.

Very few people want to admit they are insecure and even fewer jump at the chance of being humbled. But Insecurity and Humility staunchly oppose one another; they cannot occupy the same space.

Insecurity is a preoccupation with self and a delineation of pride.

Humility is freedom from self. It is making the most of others, not the least of me, for Humility has no thought of self.

Freedom is declared when Humility defeats Insecurity.

“Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”~Psalm 46:10

The moment we cease striving is the moment we are free. No matter how “ideal” I try to be, God says He is going to be exalted, not me. He is going to get the glory, not me. This is freedom! This means I can quit trying to be Something and just be Me.

(Check out the song “I Can Just Be Me” by Laura Story.  Awesomely sums up all I’m chattering about today!)

Girls, we say some of the meanest things to ourselves, don’t we? And for what, motivation? Out of habit? Because we feel it’s what others are thinking of us?

Let’s stop lying to ourselves about who we think we “ought” to be because that girl is outta our league. We are made of earth and dirt and we’re stained with sin. No one else really cares about the things we stress over and it is arrogant for us to think they do.

Let’s stop asking more of ourselves than God does. Rather than powering up over our insecurities or shirking back because of them, let’s allow Jesus to set us free from them. Let’s find our identity in Him and be okay with who we see in the mirror.

“Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth—everyone who is called by My Name, whom I created for My glory, whom I formed and made.” ~Isaiah 43:6-7

Read that verse again—YOU were made just the way you are for His glory!

This means He loves me whether my To Do list is done or I burn supper. He loves Me. My frazzled-always-a-tad-late-ness. My black thumb and lack of athleticism. My loud mouth and slightly obnoxious humor. Because that’s Me, the unique individual God masterfully created to bring Him glory.

Living within His love and acceptance brings a sigh of relief to my battle-worn soul. I can be Me because of who He is, trusting He can and will use me just the way He made me. I need no other talents or abilities.

Friend, what are some of the mean things you say to yourself? Do you blame your negative self-talk on others? What are you afraid of or stressing over? Is it of God or Yourself?

No matter your answers, I pray you begin to see yourself as God does. Precious. Beautiful. Worth Dying For. And once you see yourself in His light, I pray you are inspired and empowered by The Holy Spirit to go forth and do amazing works that bring glory to His Name.

Because that is a hill worth dying on.

Jessie

“How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?…But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation.” ~Psalm 13:2,5

“But He gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’” ~James 4:6

Advertisements

When I Became a Mom

Standard

After I had my first baby I apologized to my mom.

Not for the hours of labor I forced her to undergo at my birth, I told her I was sorry I hadn’t loved her enough.

About two weeks after having my daughter I called Momma, tears streaming. “Momma, I finally understand how much you love me and I realize I haven’t loved you enough in return. I’m so sorry. I love you so much!”

The overwhelming love I felt for my daughter opened my eyes to the love my own mother has for me. In an instant, every crazy thing Momma ever did made sense. Every throw of the arm as she slammed on the brakes. Every silly dance to make me smile. Every lingering hug. Every teary goodbye when I was in college. They all made perfect sense now.

When I became a mom, I realized how much Momma loves me.

I understood her blink-of-an-eye willingness to sacrifice herself for me. Why she never had new clothes yet new items always seemed to appear in my closet. Why her hair and nails weren’t perfectly kempt. Why she was always the first to awaken and the last to rest. I finally got it.

When I became a mom, I realized Momma would give her very life, her own blood, for me. And I felt sorry.

Sorry I had never really understood this about her or that I hadn’t gotten it sooner. Sorry I took her for granted and regretful of the times I blatantly disregarded her wisdom. Sorry for the times I asked for more of her when I should have offered more of myself.

Once I became a mother, I understood sacrificial love.

What I thought I knew about love I realized was just the tip of the iceberg. I thought I understood love and all its forms: Agape, Phileo, Eros. But I didn’t have a clue about sacrificial love, not until I held one who had heard my heart beat from the inside. My head-knowledge suddenly became heart-knowledge.

Until I became a mom, I didn’t have the faintest idea what Momma felt for me.

When I became a mom, I sadly grasped not all children have a mother like this. Then my heart broke as I remembered my own mom was one such child. She never knew her mother.

So how did she become the mother I speak of today?

Before Momma was a mother, she gave her heart and soul to Jesus. She humbly confessed her sin and unabashedly devoted her life to Him.

She trusted in The Lord with all her heart and did not lean on her own understanding. Rather than dwell on the “why me?” of her situation, she acknowledged Him in all her ways and allowed Him to direct her path.

Momma delighted herself in The Lord, not The Pity Party, and trusted He would give her the desire of her heart. And what was that desire?

To be The Mother she never had and always wanted.

Forgetting the past and looking forward to what was ahead, Momma allowed God to transform her into the woman and mother she had never seen. Not having a role model to emulate wouldn’t stop her. There would be no excuse. By grace her children would know the love of a godly mother and have a living example to follow.

Momma learned to be a mother by watching her heavenly Father.

She put her faith in Him, not herself; not her experience, ability or knowledge. She followed in His steps in order to lead her children in theirs.

Momma found healing in Jesus’ stripes.

She wouldn’t allow her baggage to become her kids’ issues. Her scars wouldn’t affect their future.

She found shelter in His wings.

The peace of Christ would reign in their hearts and rule their home. Her children would feel secure in their surroundings.

Most of all, Momma rested in Jesus’ love.

As a result, His loved inspired her and flowed through to her children. Jesus’ love in her would encourage them to love The Lord God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength, and love others as their self.

When I became a mom, my heart awoke not only to all Momma had done for me, but everything Jesus had done for Momma and in turn, for me. His love took deeper root in my heart. I began to understand the width and length and height and depth of His love for me, Momma, and our entire family.

It is only by and through Him that we have been saved.

Momma wasn’t perfect but by God’s grace, His power was made perfect in her weakness.

Friend, I don’t know what angle you’re reading this from today. Maybe like me, you need to pick up the phone and apologize to your mom for not loving her enough. Maybe you need to forgive her for not loving you enough.

Maybe like Momma, you need to surrender your life to Jesus. Maybe you need to find healing in His stripes, forget the past and strain for what lies ahead.

No matter our circumstances or struggles, God can work wonders through us. He can transform the person we’ve been into the child He wants us to be. This is His desire for each of us, to form us into the likeness of His Son.

I pray whatever the case may be you’ll find the peace of Christ, that it will reign in your heart and rule your home. I pray your children, whether living or yet to be, will have a mother who loves them so much that they apologize when they become parents.

~ Jessie

“Her children stand and bless her…” ~ Proverbs 31:28

“…I haven’t learned all I should even yet, but I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ saved me for and wants me to be.” ~ Philippians 3:12

“…Being rooted and established in love, you may…grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” ~ Ephesians 3:17b-19

“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9