There isn’t a thing the matter with me.
At least that’s what I’m being told.
My head too often seems to gyrate with the notion that I have to be a different me to be a better me. You know… smarter. More hip. More together.
And sometimes, many times, more confident. More sacrificial. More humble. More accomplished.
Just plain more.
In the early days, I would eagerly gulp that Kool-Aid. The enemy of my soul, slimeball that he is, would whisper those lies and I would swallow hard, naively ingesting the poison. And boy, how it did spread: a wicked cancer licking through every crevice of my soul-system.
Yeah, maybe I was encouraged to perform early on, bystanders clapping hardily as I cleared every hoop. And maybe along the way that did begin to twist into some type of identity traffic jam. At some point, however, it took on a life of its own: the daily dose of pride and perfectionism and the adamant unwillingness to let it all go.
But tucked away in some corner I could still feel it, the desperation.
How do I keep this thing going?
All those plates spinning perfectly in synch with a grin spread across my aching cheeks and that cry throbbing in my chest.
I’ve seen it happen too many times. I’ve heard the heartache. I’ve listened across the room and watched the tears come fast, trails of pain marking yet another set of cheeks. And I’ve felt the pain of each dear one as deeply as my own. The wrestling struggle to let go, to drop abandoned into that pool of grace and just rest in Him.
‘Cause when Jesus found me trapped in that crazy circus show and I finally got it – there’s real freedom waiting for you – I felt like a kid let out for permanent summer vacation. Delicious, thrilling freedom. And through spankin’ new lenses, I could finally catch it: the only solitary person who cared about those plates being perfectly spun was me.
So I began to ditch the demeaning self-talk and the outlandish expectations and the ball-and-chain of guilt. I had to pull out the big guns, ‘cause those lies die hard; but by then, the freedom, the joy, was too great. I couldn’t go back.
Jesus would meet me and we’d talk about the way I really look to him. When I’m lounging on the front porch. Snuggling with one of my precious children. Walking the beach trail. Holding my husband’s hand. Not scrambling to check my boxes, not grasping hard to make it all work. Just resting in my Daddy’s arms.
Oh, how sweet it is to be free.
My Father seems to take a great deal of genuine joy in reminding me that I’m His, and that He’s already done it all, everything I could possibly imagine might need to be done and more, through the work of His Beloved on the cross. And I can’t add one iota to that righteousness through any scuffle of my own. So I might as well just lean back into my new, undeserved identity and take joy in His work.
Either that or strive my way into 10,000 kinds of miserable.
So now when He whispers so tender in my ear that I’m His and that’s enough, I grab ahold.
He’s got such a way with words, that Lover of my soul.
Photo by Josh Wray (#josh_wray)