As I turn my face toward the glow of the digital alarm clock, I can almost hear the seconds ticking away. I will myself not to look at the time, not wanting to know the limited hours until I must wake my son for school.
Instead of counting sheep, I talk to the Shepherd who keeps watch over them, but my thoughts are too many, too pressing, too jumbled to make sense in the unnamed hours. I silently mouth the words, “Oh, God…” and after more tossing, am finally able to slip into the abyss of sleep.
The perfectionist in me exhausts until my tank is far past empty. It is bone dry.
I wake the next morning and try to concoct a blog post, but the cursor blinks at me mockingly, flashing the seconds away as I sit without words. Why is it so hard to put text on a page?
I remember the thoughts from a recent book about how time can be our sanctuary if we let ourselves get lost in the moment, to be still in the weight of it, but right now the only thing I’m lost in is my inability to meet expectations. Mostly my own.
The laundry sits piled in the basket untouched and a list of uncompleted projects accumulates. Why can’t this mamma of two pull it together? Christ came so that I could have freedom, but I’m not free. I’m trapped in an unending chaos of motherhood, an aspiring writer trying to find balance between the pursuit of a dream and the reality of responsibility.
I abandon the computer, let the cursor win, and in the stillness of the morning I find a space to breathe. I hear the faint whisper of the Spirit calling ever so gently, “Come to me. Rest with me.” I reluctantly oblige.
Truth collides with my guilt when I open my Bible.
It falls open to the verses I so desperately need to hear, penetrating this stubborn vat of idealism which always leaves me hollow.
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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV
I’m struck with the simplicity of it. He never intended for me to be perfect. His power rests on me when I say, “God, I am worn out. I am a mess. Please give me the strength I lack.”
Freedom in Christ comes when I relinquish my need for perfection and rest in Him.
By holding myself to a standard only Christ can attain, I am simply fooling myself. When I let Him fill the spaces and the shortcomings with the glory that is His, and only His, I find rest. Sweet, soul-quenching rest.
So today, I’m making a promise to myself, which I may need to make again tomorrow. To not let myself be burdened any longer to the yoke of perfection. If I could attain this lofty standard, Christ would never have come.
For the sake of weary perfectionists everywhere, I’m so glad He did.
*This post originally appeared on (in)Courage in July, 2014.