9.22.2015

you're not doing enough

As I sunk into the driver's seat of our minivan, a feeling of relief mixed with guilt washed over me. We had made it out of the house on time for my 2 month old's checkup 35 minutes away, so that was one checkmark I could place in the win column. Unfortunately, for this new mama of two kids, leaving on time comes at the price of foregoing a morning devotion and Bible study, or really any personal care and development. Feeling inadequate, I plugged in my iPhone to listen to some praise music on the drive. I knew this would cause my 2 year old to mutiny. She's really into Mulan's "I'll Make a Man Out of You" right now, so hymns just wouldn't cut it for her. But I was feeling conscience-stricken for not touching base with God that morning, so I braced myself for the screams anyway.

As our minds are inclined to do, mine began to snowball the small sense of guilt over a missed Bible study into a full fledged blizzard of regret and failure. Why can't I get my toddler to behave during church? I'm not doing enough to grow my business, while other women with 10 kids who own a gym and run worldwide charities seem to grow their businesses by leaps and bounds come hell or high-water. Im not committing enough time to personal growth. I still have a stack of papers to grade. I should be doing more tummy time with the baby! I need to be kinder to my husband. The meals I am cooking are lack-luster and probably not healthy enough, since I used packaged ingredients instead of starting my own farm and growing everything from scratch. I chided myself over and over for not having it all together, for not being more like other women who were more Godly, more outgoing, more successful.

I'm not doing enough. And I'm not doing anything well.

At that moment, the song "Rock of Ages" began to play.

"Not the labor of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.

Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to the cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die."

Hearing those words brought a profound moment of clarity. No, I was not doing enough. I would never be able to do enough. I would never be good enough. Because I'm human. Because I'm sinful.

I remembered the words from 2 Corinthians: "'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me."

The answer is not to work harder, do more, and beat myself up with guilt and shame. The answer is to turn to God. I may not measure up to the arbitrary standards I have set up for myself, and I'm definitely not measuring up to God's standards of perfection. But his grace is sufficient. His grace is enough. And when I have moments, or even entire seasons of life where my weaknesses are on full display, that only serves to bring me closer to him, to display his glory, and not the works of my own hands. 

In some ways, it was not the answer I wanted to hear. I wanted to hear that I could pull myself up by my own bootstraps and if I just tried harder, organized my life a little more, used my planner more faithfully, then I could do it all, and do it all well!

But truly, the more helpless I feel, the more likely I am to turn to his Word for comfort and guidance. I fall asleep repeating favorite passages for rest. I pray little prayers continually throughout the day for help. I read my Bible because I thirst to hear more from God, not as an item to check off my to-do list. 

I guess what I'm saying is that I love working toward continual improvement. I always want to strive to be a better version of myself, and that is God pleasing! I can use the talents God has given me to the absolute fullest! But never at the expense of my relationship with God. Never at the cost of thinking I can do it alone without his help. I simply don't have all the answers, and I don't think I'll ever know the right balance of the tightrope walk that is trusting God vs. getting into action myself. But thanks be to God for the grace he gives us each day! Here's to another day of letting his power shine through our weaknesses. 


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