For so long I lived my life in the tension of two extremes.
How can I serve more? Pour your unending love on your husband and children. When you’re tired, lean in and give more. Be patient, soft-spoken, kind, long-suffering. If someone is unkind to you, turn the other cheek. Smile more. Keep the house tidy and fresh. Be beautiful. Have sex with your husband so he doesn’t have a wandering eye. Be consistent with your children so they’ll be well-behaved. Be like Jesus. Be everything to everyone.
How can I make myself less? God loves you despite yourself. Beauty is vanity — why waste time decorating or putting on makeup? Taking time for yourself is selfish. Deny yourself and your human desires. Pleasure is bad. Don’t pursue happiness; pursue godliness. You deserve hell but by the grace of God you can avoid it. Suffering is good — it will make you holier. Lean into suffering. And remember you are worthless and God chose to love you anyway.
One extreme says, I’m all-powerful, and everyone’s needs depend on me. The other extreme says, I am nothing, a worthless worm who deserves suffering. I ping-ponged between these two extremes for decades. One moment, I have it all together, and I’m doing great! The next moment, I’m a miserable failure who deserves to be unhappy.
Neither of these extremes is true.
Neither is empowering.
Both lead to frustration and exhaustion.
Both will inevitably fail.
I am just me — in all my amazing imperfection. I am beautiful and loved. I am broken and tired. I am happy. I am sad. I’m angry. I’m silly. I love being with my family. I love alone time. I’m complicated. I love to have fun. I work hard. I need rest. I am a person. I’m not superhuman. I’m not worthless. I am worthy and loved —
the God of the universe sees me and loves me.
He made me to be me. He loves me just as I am. I don’t have to do anything or be anything to earn love.
So little depends on me. So little is in my control. I can exhale. I can live with open hands and an open heart.
I can create a beautiful home and enjoy it. Or I can let my home be messy and order pizza. Either way it doesn’t change the fact that I am loved.
I can bring dinner to friends with a new baby. Or I can simply send a text with my love. Either way, they’ll be okay. It doesn’t change the fact that I am loved.
I can be patient with kids or be grumpy and irritable. Either way they’ll be okay. It doesn’t change the fact that I am loved.
I can have sex with my husband, or we can say good night, roll over, and fall asleep. It’s okay. It doesn’t change the fact that I am loved.
I can check items off my to-do list like a madwoman, or I can take a long nap and let it wait. It doesn’t change the fact that I am loved.
All the trying and worrying and serving out of emptiness didn’t bring me closer to God or to my family. It just made me tired and eventually it made me angry and bitter.
The God of the universe loves me, loves my husband and kids, loves my friends, loves you. He doesn’t need me to be perfect and have everything figured out. He doesn’t need me to be everything to everyone. He’s got this.
Deep breath. He’s got this.
Deep breath. It’s all okay.
Deep breath. I am loved, right here and now.
Fill in the blanks below.
I don’t have to be perfect, I can let go of ___________.
I don’t have to be perfect, I can say when I need __________.
I don’t have to be perfect, I am allowed to __________.
Think on These Things
I am imperfect and that’s okay. Sometimes I’m a mess and that’s okay. I’m not all-powerful and that’s okay. I am just me and that’s okay.
A Lie and a Truth
Write a lie you have believed about yourself.
Now cross it out and rewrite it as a true statement.
Excerpted with permission from Be You by Lisa Leonard, copyright Lisa Leonard.
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What lies do you believe about yourself? What does God say? There’s no need to ping-pong, sisters. We are loved right where we are! Come share your thoughts with us on our blog. We want to hear from you about being imperfect… and loved! ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Full