Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Trying So Hard
Life the last few months has been somewhat of a vise. My default reaction to all the various pressures is to try harder. It's okay; I can just stay up later, use my daytime hours more wisely, be more on top of everything!
Give me a house that needs remodeling, two small children two and under, church commitments, relationships, and the hamster on the wheel starts racing madly. Turns out, a million variables that I can't control AT ALL makes me want to do nothing but try to control them all. And pull my hair out.
I'm a perfectionist, and seasons like the one we're in shine me up to my perfectionist best. (Or worst.) I've not always been this way; in fact, ask my mom if she ever thought her nine year old would be classified as a perfectionist, and she would laugh. But somewhere along the way - senior year of high school or junior year of college or somewhere in between - I started wanting to get everything right. Perfect, as it were, and there you go.
The fall-out is slow to come. At first, I believe my craziness is actually changing things and working for me to achieve my (ridiculous) ends. But God is gracious, and hallelujah, the light comes. No, my craziness is not doing anything but boiling up tension in the relationships I value most. It's teaching my daughter to freak out over tiny circumstances, because that's what she sees her mama doing. It's creating an atmosphere of stress, where anxiety and discontent fall like raindrops all around.
In my Lenten devotion today, I read the words of George Matheson.
O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe
that in thine ocean depths its flow
may richer, fuller be.
That's hope for the heart that tries too hard, isn't it? Jesus doesn't let me go, even in my grossest, most pitiful state. He welcomes me, weary and worn, into His rest. I'm trying so hard to create a life I perceive as perfect, but this life? It isn't even mine to begin with. Jesus builds his Kingdom on paradoxes, and here is one I have forgotten: the life surrendered is far, far better than the life held tight.
It's not enough that I try harder. It's never enough. The same exhausting routine amped up a few notches only produces more exhaustion.
But there's Jesus, and He's saying, "I am enough." His words are a freedom I want to receive.