My husband has told me several time that I have some perfect ideal of how life should go. An idea of perfection when it comes to how my children should behave and how my husband should, well, just be. The type of wife, mother, and friend I should be. And it doesn’t stop there. It spreads out into the other areas of my life and when things don’t go as perfectly as I’d hoped, I become depressed. Can I just say that? I get depressed about the state of my life. My marriage. My kids. My relationships. The fact that we don’t own a home. The fact that my kids don’t have a yard to play in. The fact that life just seems stinkin’ hard. The fact that I don’t seem like much of an adult, according to what I had envisioned an adult to look like.
But, as I wrote in my This is Me page, I’m 35 and my life is exactly where I thought it would be and it looks nothing like I thought it would look like. That right there is pretty much the only perfect statement about my life.
Well, tonight I got the kids in bed and I just left the house as the wreck that it is. Justin is away until tomorrow so I decided to get Becky Thompson’s (from Scissortail SILK) new book Hope Unfolding and climb into bed very early. Reading is my way to relax. To let everything else go and just fully disengage with the stress in my life. I don’t get to do it that often but tonight I knew it was needed.
As I read, she was writing about life not turning out how you had planned. About wondering if God had kind of forgotten you and was just letting you wander down some back road that was leading no where. Then, being surprised when he realized where you were. And this made me think about my ideals of perfection and where my life is at.
Where my life is so imperfectly at.
And I started to think about Jesus’s life. Bear with me here cause I’m not a theologian. But I started to think about how seemingly imperfect Jesus’s life started to go towards the end, and maybe even sometimes during his years of ministry. He had a following, yes. But he also had people who called him crazy and he was not even respected in his home town. He had disciples, yes. But some where loud mouths when they should have been quiet. Some decided sleep was more important than praying for him during his darkest hours. And one decided to turn on him for chump change. And a whole crowd of people chose a known murderer instead of him, sentencing him to death. Nothing about his life seems all that perfect to me.
His life was carried out perfectly. It was in the betrayal, the misspoken words, and dark hours that his life truly reflected perfection. It was not because his circumstances were perfect. It was not because everything around him was making sense. It was certainly not because the people closest to him were acting just as one would hope.
This is where it was the most real. And so, if I think of my life with that in mind, I realize that hoping, wishing, desperately working for perfection is completely hopeless. If perfection was lacking in the life circumstances surrounding Jesus, why in the world would they be present in mine? And if I want to take my cues from him, it seems that it is my reaction to my life, to him, that is most important, not my actual life circumstances. Did you get that? When everything is upside down and whirling around me, that in no way reflects anything about who I am.
Honestly, I’ve been trying to order and organize everything into perfection in my life because I believed that if it was perfect, I would be ok. I would be good enough. Good enough for my husband, for my kids, for friends, for God….for anyone else who is watching. But I fail. I fail because I have no control over the things I’m trying to put into this evasive perfect order. I fail and then I fail again because I don’t accept the grace I’m offered.
So, my prayer tonight is that I could let go of perfection. That I would start to let Love invade me. That I would release the relentless grip I’ve tried to have on my circumstances. That I would remember and accept that the circumstances of my life have no affect on who God says I am.
Jesus lived in this imperfect world, surrounded by imperfect people…and he walked through it perfectly for me. Even to death. To tell me that I don’t have to be perfect. That he is enough. He has done enough. I am enough of a reason to endure that. And that will always be enough.
He had your name in mind and your face before him when he went to the cross, just like he did mine. And if you are struggling for perfection, trying to be enough for yourself or for others, know that you can let go of that. Nothing going on in your life determines your worth. Only the fact that Jesus loves you and gave his life for you does.
And that my friends, is some good news for both you and me.