I got a couple dents in my fender
Got a couple rips in my jeans
Try to fit the pieces together
But perfection is my enemy
On my own I'm so clumsy
But on Your shoulders, I can see....
I'm free to be me!
- Free to Be Me
If you've never heard this song, then you should give it a listen. I heart it!
. After an amazing conversation I had last night (until the wee hours of the mornin'), and now hearing this song....all-of-a-sudden....everything makes sense.
I feel like something is about to happen in my life...like a shift of some kind. But, I can't tell what it is. I'm sure it's a good thing....'cause God is always doin' somethin' good, but the not-knowing is making me loco. I feel like a change is needed, but I don't know what the change is. I feel like I have ants in my pants...but I don't know why I feel anxious. Am I supposed to do something? Or am I supposed to be patient (ugh!) and wait? If I am supposed to do something...what the heck am I supposed to do? Or, if I am supposed to wait...what the heck am I waiting on!!!!??? Is my indecision making you want to click out of this blog? Believe me...I understand. But please don't...this is a good one.: )
I've been praying that God speak to me in a very blatant and obvious way about what I should be doing about a myriad of things. I think if I listed all of the thoughts and worries that run through my head, you would have to wonder how I don't just live my life curled up in a little ball crying in a corner. ; ) Okay....that is a slight exaggeration. Slight....!
Have you ever had times in your life like that? When you know that if God doesn't give you some sort of a flashing billboard pointing you in the right direction, you're liable to give up altogether, quit your job, join the circus, try and be the bearded lady, but then get frustrated with yourself that you can't grow a beard, which makes you feel even more like you can't do anything right, and so you quit the circus and the vicious cycle continues!????? No??!! Well, count yourself lucky then...cause I most certainly have....many times. At least about the giving up part. I have yet to desire an attempt at beard-growing. That, hopefully, is a big plus to the fellas out there.
I have yet to actually quit my job and join the circus, but I have definitely fantasized about running away from life for awhile..maybe living in a cave or something...I don't know, the plan hasn't exactly been well thought out...! I tend to get this feeling a good bit...the one where I feel like I am doing everything wrong no matter how hard I try. I realize that this is not a feeling that God wants me to have. It's not from God. But, just that knowledge alone, for some reason, is not enough to make me snap out of it. So God mercifully dropped a billboard in my face last night while I was talking to one of my amazing friends who is like a sister to me. The one. The only. Heather Baston Hull. She has known me since I was born and has seen me through every trial, tribulation, joy and wonderful moment that this world has given me...and vice versa. I am so thankful every day that we have both come to have deep relationships with God. Without Jesus as the center of our lives...I don't know where we would be and what we would be doing. (I feel like there would be a very real possibility that it would, in fact, involve joining some sort of traveling show.) And even when it seems like our lives are pretty darn different and that we wouldn't be able to understand what each other are going through....God comes in and shows both of us that not only are we not alone in how we feel and what we are going through, but that we can lift each other up and encourage each other in His word as we continue down the difficult path.
When the phone rang at 9:45 last night, I almost didn't answer it. I'm not a big phone talker...believe it or not. I had been reading for hours and I was just about to close my eyes. But....for some unexplainable reason....I answered it. And I am SO glad I did. Even though we didn't really know it...Heather and I both very much needed to have this conversation. It started off like any other chat..ya know...babies (her), boys (me), work, friends, money, etc, but within a few minutes...I realized that I was staring at my billboard from God.
As we were talking about the various things in our lives that are making us want to run away and live in a cave...we both realized that even though our circumstances are totally different (She lives on a farm in WV with her beautiful baby and wonderful husband. I live in a studio apartment in DC without a baby, boyfriend, or husband...not that I'm dwelling on that...)...the feelings and general experiences are almost exactly the same. It's pretty mind-blowing actually. We both have been feeling totally stressed, exhausted, and stretched too thin. We feel like we aren't doing enough while at the same time feeling like we are doing way too much. We can't sleep because all we can think about are all the things we still need to do and can't imagine actually getting done, or all the things that we think we did wrong already. We don't like asking for help...so we don't. We don't like accepting help when it's offered...so we suffer in silence. Or we suffer loudly...either way...it doesn't help. We always feel like we need to keep a smile on our face. God forbid someone get a glimpse of some concrete evidence that we aren't...*gasp*....perfect. We feel that we have to have our lives perfectly organized and controlled. But they rarely are...or at least they don't stay that way for long. We always feel like we can't say no. So we end up killing ourselves trying to be everything to everyone. Sometimes we feel alone even when there are people there. Sometimes we are almost paralyzed by our fear that we might mess up. We have days where we feel like we really might lose it. But we don't want anyone to know that. Because people that lose it...well, they're crazy...and we don't want to be crazy. We want to be perfect.
But what we realized last night...after hours and hours of talking...is that our need to control every aspect of our lives and always make everything as perfect as possible...well, it's making us very out of control and un-perfect. : ) All our efforts are futile. And do you know why!!????? It's because WE can't do it.
God wants us to lean on Him and give Him our burdens. He tells us in Psalms 55:22 that if the righteous cast our cares on Him, He will not let us fall. If I believe in God...which I do. And I believe that what He says in the Bible is true....which I do. Then why do I struggle so much with believing that He won't let me fall?
He promises to carry our burdens for us, but so many of us carry them around anyway. We feel like being who we are isn't good enough somehow. So...we keep trying harder and harder. But the truth is...we are exactly like God made us to be. How boring would life be if everyone looked the same, was the same size, talked the same, had the same skin color, liked the same things, etc? BORING! So then why do Heather and I find ourselves comparing our lives and ourselves to other people and then feeling bad when, by our own account, we don't measure up? Why don't we just give up all this crazyness to God? It seems silly, but the reason that we hold on is because.....without meaning to....we don't trust that He will take care of all of this for us. We have been let down too many times by humans and we think that God will do the same. Maybe we even tried trusting God in the past by giving things to Him and we felt like He let us down. But we can't always trust our feelings, can we? Just because something is hard, or doesn't work out the way we thought it would, doesn't mean that God isn't answering our prayers. Are you a bad parent if you let your baby cry? The answer is no. Then, is God a bad Father if He let's us cry and feel alone and scared sometimes? The answer is no.
If God was sitting in front of me right now and tried to explain His reasoning to me....I am pretty confident in saying that it would probably sound like Charlie Brown's teacher to me...because I wouldn't be able to understand. Just like it would be if Heather tried to sit down with her one-year-old and say to her, "Kylie, when Mommy puts you in your jumparoo and walks away for a minute to fix a sandwich, there is no need to be scared or cry. Even though you can't see me...I am right behind you, watching you to make sure you are okay. I know that you feel alone and scared, so you cry....but I just wish that you knew that I would never let anything happen to you and that I love you all the time." Kylie's command of the English language is an obvious first issue as far as Heather being able to communicate this to her...but also, Kylie's age and lack of experience would make it impossible for her to understand even if she understood the words that Heather was saying. When God let's us go out on our own...it's not because He's mad at us, or punishing us for not being perfect. It's because He loves us and wants us to grow and be confident not only in the fact that He is always there...but the fact that we are okay on our own. I am sure that when Heather walks away...Kylie feels totally unequipped to protect herself and fears that without Heather...she is in danger. But after a few times of being alone and realizing that she is okay...Kylie will quickly learn that she can survive without Heather. We are all infants to God. We all need to grow up and gain knowledge, strength, and confidence in order to make it in this world. Any good parent would want that for their child....and God is the only perfect parent there is. So, please...take comfort in the fact that the times in your life where you feel alone and like the world is on your shoulders....you are NEVER EVER EVER alone. God is there....always.
There are so many reasons why people carry things that were never meant for them to carry. I know for me, I like to be in control of everything because I am afraid that if I let go...everything is going to fall apart. I feel like if I don't try to be perfect, then I am making God look bad. I feel the pressure of people watching me. What if I do something "un-Christianlike" and it causes someone to turn away from God? What if I make a bad decision and go down the wrong path? Aren't I supposed to be perfect, like God is perfect? The Bible says that, you know...in Matthew 5:48. I take that verse and I run with it...believe me. But if you back up a few verses to Matthew 5:11...Jesus is asking us to take His burden.....because His yoke is easy and His burden is light. But wait a minute!? God wants us to give up our burdens...and take on Jesus' burdens!? But take heart my friends....Jesus' burden is the whole reason for His coming to Earth....and that is....LOVE. We need to give God all the cares that this evil world chucks on us every single day, and we need to take up Jesus' burden of loving God and loving each other as we love ourselves. Yes, love can be hard...but in comparison to hatred, anger, and unforgiveness...Love is a much easier burden to bear. Does love hurt sometimes? Yes. But is it worth it? Yes. It is. God tells us in Hebrews 11:6 that without faith it is impossible to please God. And He tells us that faith is the substance of things hoped for (Heb. 11:1). But He also tells us in Corinthians 13 that when it comes to faith, hope and love....the greatest of these is love.
What does love have to do with my every day stresses? Everything, actually. Because...dun dun dun...God is LOVE! If I can wake up in the morning and know that my only job for the day is to love God, love myself, and love others....and let God guide me through the rest.....well, it's already going to be a better day than if I woke up feeling like my job for the day was to save the whole world. We aren't superheros. No matter how awesome it would be to be able to leap from building to building in a single bound, or take off my glasses and suddenly be able to fly through the air..wearing a super stylish superhero outfit of some kind....it's just not the reality of it all. We are human. If we do good...it's because of God. Separate from God....we are all a bunch of bad bad Leroy Browns...and he was the baddest man in the whole dang town! We need God. All the time. Sometimes I am quite sure that God is up in Heaven rolling His eyes and putting on His Ipod so that He doesn't have to listen to me anymore. (He would totally be listening to MC Hammer...Too Legit To Quit...I just know it.) But God would rather I come to Him with everything than to keep it all to myself and drown under the weight of the world. I am Free to Be ME! And me.....is AWESOME!