Perfectly Imperfect

I’m tired…aren’t you

Tired of trying so hard.

Tired of trying to do it all. And trying to do it perfectly.

There is so much pressure on women today. Pressure to be the perfect mom, to have the perfect body, to eat organic, to perform well at work, to keep our husbands happy, to entertain our kids, to finally get the clothes out of the hamper, to clean the house, to drive kids to practice, to get to the gym more than once a week…

The list is endless! We can’t do it all.

Do you feel this too?

The pressure to do all these things and do them well enough to please everyone–and look good on Instagram!

Our culture puts so much pressure on us. We are exhausted and overwhelmed most of the time. I don’t think this is how God meant our lives to go.

I just want to be free. To breathe. To not have to perform. And to not have to be perfect.

Do you know what I mean?

I grew up with a perfectionist father. He was constantly pointing out what I did wrong. Even little details. I don’t think he meant it to hurt me; it was maybe just his way to help me become better. But the result was that I became anxious and fearful of making a mistake. I strived for perfection in every area of my life. It was exhausting.

Perfectionism is like that. Exhausting.

Do you know why?

Because it’s impossible.

Perfection is impossible this side of heaven.

So this crazy push for perfectionism–to be that perfect “does it all” woman–it’s just that: crazy.

And it will drive you insane. And it will fill you with anxiety. And it will steal your peace and joy.

Perfectionism is a form of pride. It seeks its own glory. But the Bible tells us we should do everything for God’s glory (1 Cor. 10:31).

Perfectionism gets me caught up in comparing myself with others and becoming too focused on how I look. In 1 Samuel 16:17 it says that God looks at the heart of a person, not the outside. And in Philippians 3 we learn to be content with what we have and who we are.

Perfectionism leads to shame when we feel like we don’t measure up. But God tells us we are forgiven and clean if we have trusted Jesus as our Savior.

Perfectionism looks at me and what I do or don’t do. God wants me to look at Him.

“Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.”‭‭Psalm‬ ‭34:5.‬ ‭

Look at Him, friend.

Stop looking at Instagram and Facebook and the Kardashians. Look at Jesus.

You can breathe. You are free. Rest. Relax.

You don’t have to do it all. And you especially don’t have to be perfect.

In 2 Corinthians chapter 12 it says that God is strong when we are weak. You have his strength to lean on. He made you. He loves you. You and I are not perfect. But we are growing and learning and living in His strength.

We are perfectly imperfect.

 

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Easter is for Women

Easter is one of the most sacred days of the Christian calendar. It commemorates the day that Jesus came back to life. The Romans, with the assistance of corrupt Jewish leaders at the time, had put him to death in one of the most gruesome ways possible: a Roman cross.

Two days pass. Many mourn. Some smile smugly. Roman soldiers guard the tomb.

Jesus’ followers are hiding. Even though He had told them he would be raised from death to life on the third day, they have forgotten. They are wallowing in fear and self-pity.

Except the women.

The women of the group came to the tomb that Easter morning to put the first century version of essential oils on His body. They are not wallowing in pity, they have come to honor their Lord.

The women find that the stone covering the entrance has been moved. They are told by an Angel that Jesus has risen and they excitedly head off to tell others. Jesus suddenly appears to them and tells them “Do not fear” and to “Go tell the others.” (Matthew 28)

In the book of John there’s an account of one of the women in Jesus’ group named Mary Magdalene. She had come to the tomb by herself and was upset, thinking the officials had done something to Jesus’ body. John writes:

“Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb…

she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).”

‭‭John‬ ‭20:11, 14-16

Jesus comes back from the dead, and who does He first appear to? Women.

In the Middle Eastern culture back then women had less rights than they do even now. Men were considered infinitely more important in society, and the testimony of women was considered to be less than reliable. Therefore, if you wanted someone to tell people about something amazing you wouldn’t choose a woman to do it. You would choose a man.

So why did Jesus appear to women before anyone else?

In his book, Jesus, the Man Who Loved Women*, Bruce Marchiano writes about each of the women Jesus encountered and how Jesus treated them.

Jesus treated women with dignity and kindness. He saw them as valuable when no one else did.

Marchiano writes, “Jesus knows a woman’s fears and frustrations, hurt and fatigue.” Jesus understands women. And He cares.

Just look at how He treated women. Not only did He appear to them first, He comforted them (Luke 7:12-13), He healed them (Mark 5:25-28), He set them free (Luke 13: 10-13), He defended them (John 8:2-5), He honored them (Mark 12:41-44), He interacted with them (Luke 4:6-7), and He respected them (Luke 7:36-50).

Mostly, though, Jesus loves women.

In Song of Songs chapter 2, verse 4 it says, “His banner over me is love.” Jesus loves women. He values us as precious. He really sees us, because He made us.

So, this Easter, dear woman, remember that you are precious. That Jesus rose for you. That Easter is for you, especially.

*Marchiano, Bruce. Jesus, the Man Who Loves Women. 2008; Howard Books, New York.

Find it here: https://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Man-Who-Loved-Women/dp/141654397X/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?crid=2SL2PB2369FCA&keywords=jesus+the+man+who+loved+women&qid=1555908501&s=gateway&sprefix=jesus+the+man+who+loved&sr=8-1

Lover of My Soul

Looking back at my life, I see now that I spent so much of it looking for love.

As a little girl I wanted so desperately to earn my daddy’s approval, but he never seemed to be pleased with me. In my preteen and teenage years I wanted a boyfriend, because I thought I would finally feel fully loved and accepted. It didn’t.

In my twenties love seemed to be unreliable. Men said they loved me and yet never called again. People around me were getting married, but there never seemed to be someone right for me. People started getting divorced. I wondered if true love even existed anymore.

Once I had children I felt loved, a love that only moms can feel from their children! It’s also a love that requires more giving than receiving. It’s wonderful, but it won’t fulfill your soul–especially once they hit 12 years old, suddenly seeing you as uncool and completely incorrect about everything!

Getting married held the allure of love. It’s like a mirage that promises this wonderland, but once you reach it you realize the sand is still burning your feet and you are still thirsty. I wish I could say that marriage brought unconditional love and happiness to my life, but no. The first one left me broken from watching him destroy himself from substance abuse. The second left me fearing for my safety and that of my kids as his anger turned to violent rage. My current marriage is a daily struggle, like living with chronic pain. We are working on a cure, although love requires constant sacrifice on both sides.

Love has never been easy, never been like a Disney movie. Family has never been as happy as the Cosby Show. No matter what situation or whom we are with, we will never feel our souls are completed by human love. There are wonderful moments of romance. There are, “Mommy, I love you!” hugs that fill you to the brim with warm fuzzies. But none of it lasts forever. No one can love us completely: all our scars and secrets, our mistakes and regrets. No human can put up with everything, especially when our selfishness causes us to lash out at them or ignore them or not return their phone call because our favorite show is on.

But God can.

He is the only one that knows everything (yes, even that secret) about us and still loves us. He is the only one who doesn’t resent us when we act passive aggressive or hate the way our breath smells in the morning or get annoyed when we mess up and do that same thing AGAIN.

He is the only one who loves our very souls.

In Psalms 139 it says:

“You made my whole being. You formed me in my mother’s body. I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way. What you have done is wonderful. I know this very well. You saw my bones being formed as I took shape in my mother’s body. When I was put together there, you saw my body as it was formed. All the days planned for me were written in your book before I was one day old.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:13-16‬ ‭

God designed you and me before we were born. He had all of our lives planned out. He cared from the beginning.

To make it even better, Romans 8:35-39 tells us that nothing can separate us from God’s love. Nothing. Not even us.

He delights in me.

I’m the past several years I have been on a quest to understand God’s love for me. As a child I sang “Jesus Loves Me” in church, but I never really believed He could love ME. Other people were lovable–me, not so much. But in the last several years I have been learning that His love is higher and wider and more overflowing than anything I can imagine. Here are some places in the Bible I’ve found that have opened my eyes:

Psalm 103 says He heals me, blesses me, forgives me, has compassion on me, and more.

Isaiah 43 says He chose me, calls me by name, and never abandons me when life gets hard.

Zephaniah 3:17 says He delights in me!

John 8 tells about a woman caught in adultery. The religious leaders want to kill her, but Jesus stands up for her. He loves women and treats us kindly. (Read more about Jesus in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John to see how He was kind to every woman He encountered).

The Bible is full of messages to us about how He loves our souls.

He is the lover of my soul. Of your soul. He created you, designed you, and delights in you. You have a unique beauty to give to this world that no one else can give. Your creator put it in you, and He is waiting for you to turn to Him and let Him fill you to overflowing. He wants you to shine with a reflection of His love.

He is the Lover of your soul. Let Him love you.

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