“But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
Do you ever feel like you’re failing at everything? No matter what you do, or the control you try to hold tightly on to, you’re just never hitting the mark, stride, sweet spot of peace and happiness that you ‘think’ will make life better and easier. I have to confess that I feel this way, quite often. I’m a lover of control, of keeping things peaceful at all times, and keeping conflict far away and a perfectionist to my core.
I know I cannot be alone in this, and that many of us deal with depression, anxiety, and lack of joy, because of the unreal expectations we pile onto ourselves.
You can imagine how these things gather together (in a self-made grenade of implosion), as I am also a ministry wife, mother of two kids ages 5 and under, and trying to find my footing in a new state and new home. Can I tell you that while I am always grappling with these burdens, because I’ll never find perfection this side of eternity, I have found joy and peace to counteract it all? Would you like to know the source? Jesus.
My need for control and perfection took a massive hit in the fall of 2017. We were expecting our third child, and quietly hoping for a boy to add to our family of girls. At 20 weeks pregnant I was at the gender reveal ultrasound, by myself, and was told that our child was no longer living. I can remember in the moments leading up to this bombshell, as things seemed off and not quite right, I was alone and staring at the sterile, cold ceiling. I said out loud in an empty room, ‘Jesus, I think I’m about to need you like never before. Please be near.’
I composed myself, tear soaked and barely able to see, and I drove home. We called to be admitted to the hospital, labor was induced, and twelve hours later we delivered our baby into a quiet room. Every single part of my life was spinning out of control. Control I’ve always tried to hold onto so tightly. Peace was elusive. Grief was all encompassing. Lies from the devil took root in my heart, and all the things that trauma does to you became my new normal.
We had the most incredible support system of prayer, love, and care. I could not have survived without it. My sweet husband played a constant stream of worship music, from the drive to the hospital and all the way through to our drive home, leaving our baby behind. This one act on his part is probably what saved me. Constantly keeping our focus on Jesus. (By the way, we got to briefly hold and see the face of our hoped-for son. He was perfect.)
The story of loss never ends, and the journey through immense heartbreak and crippling anxiety has been one that only Jesus and I know the depths of. You see though I had a choice, we all do, actually, which road will we take? The one that leads to self-reliance, covering up, putting on old masks, and acting like we have it all together? This path leads ultimately to our own undoing. There’s another choice, although it’s painful and requires a lot of self-sacrifice. It’s a way of complete surrender, and opening the ugly, imperfect parts of our story that we don’t like at all. It’s a choice to fully, unreserved, with all that we have, go after Jesus. Actually, we don’t really have to go far at all. He’s ever present, and always waiting to wrap us up in His peace-filled embrace. Because did you know, He has scars too? He is the only one to have ever walked this earth that knows the EXACT level of your disappointment, anxiety, fears, hurt and brokenness. He took it all upon himself on the cross. Although He is totally God, He was also human, and He was taking on every ounce of what that means, in order to save us. To save you.
That’s the realization I had to come to, and the depth of the love that brought me into freedom. I believe you can find it too. You’re not failing. You’re actually living and learning what works or doesn’t. You can never reach perfection here on earth, so go ahead and give it up. Your anxiety is built on lies that the devil would love to use to keep you down. God’s truth says this: “Let those who fear the Lord say, "His steadfast love endures forever." Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Psalms 118:4-6.
Here’s all that you need to do, right now. Make your life one of unending worship and relationship with Him. Constantly laying everything down at the feet of the One who just wants you to give it up already. It’s hard and I miss the mark a lot. I am an imperfect person here! You will miss the marks too, but choosing Jesus before ourselves is grace and freedom in its truest form. I’m sick of feeling inadequate. I’m doing something about it, how about you?
Jesus, I don’t want to carry these burdens anymore. I’m so tired, weary, and done with feeling inadequate and broken. Trying to put on a mask of perfection. I know that you say to lay it all at Your feet, so here I am. I am an open book to You. Please wrap me in peace and in your healing love.
My only desire is to know You more. I will stay here in this special place of just You and I, I will listen for Your voice.
I praise you for all that You are, and for all that You did for me on the cross. For you to step down from Heaven and feel everything that I’m feeling right now, is the greatest love I’ve ever known. Thank you. I love you. I want freedom.