Imperfectly, perfectly YOU
In case any of you dear readers are thinking that my “Lessons in the Wilderness” posts are just sweet, inspirational thoughts from a person who has it all together and wants to help to rest of the world as they limp along in life…
They’re not. In fact, the reason my blog posts lately have been spotty, at best, is because I’m smack-dab in the middle of my own wilderness, and honestly, some days I’m just proud of myself for making my bed and showing up to church (and I’m the pastor’s wife!). I’m just being real with you. Because if we’re not real, after all, what’s the point? No one likes fake. And fake can’t hide your flaws for long. Even Jesus told His disciples,
“For nothing is hidden that will not be revealed, and nothing concealed that will not be made known and brought to light.”
Luke 8:17, NET
So, why hide our flaws? Why be fake? It’s so much work to keep up the façade of perfection, anyway! (I know; I’m exhausted!) Fellow recovering perfectionists, YOU CAN’T DO IT ALL! In fact, you weren’t created to! You were created to do your Best Thing, and do it well.
What is your Best Thing?? That’s truly your assignment- find your Best Thing, and do it well.
Jesus has gifted you with talents and interests and skills that only you can do, like you do. What are they?
Loving your kids and your husband? Cooking delicious, whole foods for your family? Sitting at Jesus’ feet in Bible study and meditation? Interceding in prayer for the unreached peoples of the world? Starting a business? Teaching a women’s Bible study? Creating art?
What is your Best Thing?
I’m asking myself this very question. Because what I’m attempting to do now, and what I have attempted to do for many years (aka, everything), just isn’t working. I’m always coming up short. Not good enough. Not meeting expectations. Letting people down (or worrying that I’ve let someone in the universe down, somewhere). Exhausted. Stressed. Frustrated. Feeling sapped of energy and joy. Constantly wondering, “Is this it? Am I really living life, or did I miss my turn somewhere?”
Have you girls also asked yourselves questions like, “When does Life begin? When I get married? When I have my first child? Or buy my first home? When I get a dog? When I…?”
How about, NOW? This is Life. Today. This moment that we’re in together, right now.
So it’s time to start living.
What will this mean for you? I think I can tell you what it means for me- at least, what it is beginning to mean for me.
It means doing LESS, and loving MORE. Loving myself, as I was created, wonderfully and marvelously shaped and formed by my Creator. Delighting in my normal, everyday life- grocery shopping, Bible studies, cleaning our cozy little apartment, holding hands with my amazing husband, sitting in God’s presence in the early mornings with my coffee and my journal, FaceTiming with my precious family….
Instead of squinting my eyes off into the hazy horizon of the “whens“, I’m going to live and delight and love in my NOW.
(Lord Jesus, help me!)
So back to my original thought…
You can’t do it all. I can’t do it all. We were never meant to. And no, I am NOT writing this blog from a place of “got it all figured out”. We’re in this beautiful, messy journey of life together. (And that’s the only way we’ll get through this thing, anyway- is TOGETHER. My lovely ladies, we need each other!!)
Here’s a pretty incredible (and freeing) quote from a book I’m reading right now:
Here is part of the problem, girls: we’ve been sold a bag of goods. Back in the day, women didn’t run themselves ragged trying to achieve some impressively developed life in eight different categories. No one constructed fairy-tale childhoods for their spawn, developed an innate set of personal talents, fostered a stimulating and world-changing career, created stunning homes and yardscapes, provided homemade food for every meal (locally sourced, of course), kept all marriage fires burning, sustained meaningful relationships in various environments, carved out plenty of time for “self care”, served neighbors/church/world, and maintained a fulfilling, active relationship with Jesus our Lord and Savior.
You can’t balance that job description.
Listen to me: No one can pull this off. No one is pulling this off [...] Trust me. No one can fragment her time and attention into this many segments.
- Jen Hatmaker, For the Love
Did you just breathe a sigh of relief? I did when I read this. In fact, tears stung my eyes as I saw, for the first time, how truly ridiculous my expectations are for myself. Of course! No one can really do it all! We weren’t meant to.
So I’ve been asking myself the question that I posed to you…
What is my Best Thing?
One of the chapters in my Bible reading plan for this morning was Luke 10. I read about the seventy being sent out, and their excitement at being able to cast out devils, and the parable of the Good Samaritan, and all that good stuff…and then I got to Luke 10:38:
38 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
And I was like, “Oh…this Martha girl again. I am SO her!”
39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.
And here I was like, “Why can’t I be like Mary and just lounge on the floor at Jesus’ feet?”
40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
Now, I’m sure I’ve read this story about a hundred times. But this time, I stopped at the word “cumbered”. I wondered, “What does that word really mean, anyway?”
So I looked it up in my trusty Bible app that finds those sorts of things out for me. And here is what I found:
The Greek word for “cumber” is perispao, and it means:
1. to draw around, to draw away, distract
a. to be driven about mentally, to be distracted
b. to be over-occupied, too busy, about a thing
I’m not going to fully unpack this definition for you…I want you to just sit on it and let it soak in. Ask God to reveal this to you, for you, where you are. What are you distracted by? How are you “driven about mentally”? What is the “thing” that you’re over-occupied about?
And now, what our dear sweet Jesus has to say to Martha’s (and our) frantic, frenetic heart:
41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
Sisters, only one thing is needful.
Truly, completely, totally, LIVING. Not doing. Not tasks and to-do lists. Not rushing around to meet everyone else’s needs. No. What that one thing is, really, is CONNECTION. Connection with those that matter the most. With Jesus. With amazing women and people who love us even though we’re a wreck.
Then, and only then, will you find your Best Thing. Because it’s a thing that can’t be found in our striving and our working. No, it reveals itself in our hearts as we allow ourselves to live and to love and to laugh, with people who love us in spite of us. It’s found in the living of Life.
Another clue- your Best Thing is that thing others are always telling you you’re “so good at”.
I leave you with a question to aid you in your quest for your Best Thing:
What is essential, and beautiful, and life-giving for you?
Do that! And in the process, you will find your Best Thing…and finally be really LIVING. Surrounded by people you love, doing what you love, creating beauty in just being absolutely, imperfectly, authentically YOU.
Because YOU, my dear girl, are amazing, and you rock God’s world. He’s crazy about you and He’s so behind you on this.
And I am too!
I want to hear from you on this- share below your journey towards your Best Thing- what will your first step be? Share your stories! I can’t wait to hear all about it!