I do not know enough about the blogging world to know whether this blog is too honest or raw…I guess in my ignorance, I am just going to post it. I wrote this blog about 18 months ago–but wasn’t ready to share this message until I had stepped out of the chaos and had gained some perspective. I know that I run the risk of being judged by some or the possibility of disappointing others. I realized though, I am okay with all of that. I feel slightly vulnerable…and yet I think that is what real people do. They give you a piece of their real lives and their real hearts and their real struggles, their real selves. That is what makes them normal and human. This is longer than most typical blogs but it is a message that I hope might encourage just one woman who feels like she has to be “Superwoman.” If you are not comfortable with this type of honesty read no further.
About a year ago when I heard Mike Lee speak about “abiding,” I was once again reminded of my longing to abide and yet the ways I fail miserably to do so. I was reminded how unworthy I feel of the love He gives me when I return–after doing life on my own…whether it be for a few hours, days, or months. Below is a journal entry that I wrote. I talk to God on paper–I thought it was worth sharing. So many of us stumble. So many of us stray. An over arching theme in my life is that I somehow try to live this life on my own. I fail miserably every time. This is just me, being honest about trying to be Superwoman. What I keep needing to remind myself is that she is a FICTIONAL character. (She doesn’t actually exist!)
Lord, over the past few months…I have lost touch. I lost touch with my LOVE. I have lost touch with your Spirit…I have not abided in you.
Over that time I have been striving to complete daily tasks, to be effective at work, to be a good mother, wife, and friend. Those tasks became harder and harder. It was not a conscious decision to go and do it on my own. It just happened. A missed a few quiet times due to being sick and needing extra sleep. I woke up 4 months later completely disconnected from your best.
I get to these places and feel so utterly lost, attacked, and having lost all perspective. In those places, I am reminded by close family and friends: “Take off the cape, you are not Superwoman.” I try so hard to be superwoman and do it on my own. I try to be the best mom, wife, friend, and businesswoman that I can be and I fail miserably at all of it. Or at least on the inside I feel like I am failing! On the outside I am balancing spinning plates and praying none will fall and break! (Unfortunately I don’t fail right away—which gives me the false sense that I actually can do it on my own.) What appears to be valiant efforts of hard work and “pushing through” become rebellion. It seems in those places of rebellion—I don’t realize I am rebelling at all. I just am trying to “make it through.” Yet—I am far from my Father, my Creator, my Love. Forgive me Lord for missing it…but more importantly THANK YOU for not leaving me.
In those places I am struck by God’s continued grace. He is there—but at times it seems His voice is muffled. It is like a bad game of telephone. I am longing to hear from Him so I strain my ear—but often I get His instruction wrong as I am only hearing only a fraction of what He is trying to tell me. He AMAZINGLY does not leave me or turn a deaf ear!?! He is waiting patiently for his prodigal to return. I am sure it breaks his heart to see me flailing around making a bigger mess, overwhelmed by anxiety and stress…but He is a gentleman and always awaits an invitation.
My understanding of love originated as a child—it was at times a conditional love. If you do this, then I will do this. If you are good, if you obey, if you stay within these bounds, then you are “good,” “appreciated,” and “loved.” So His LOVE, this patient, unchanging LOVE is something that I cannot wrap my mind around. God’s grace despite my lack of faithfulness astounds me. Why does He still bless me despite my lack of connectedness to Him? Why is He so quick to even try to yell and allow me to hear His voice despite my commotion and chaos? Why is He so quick to be present when I return to my senses? God’s grace and mercy astound me. Recently I actually had the thought—it must be because my husband is so wonderful and faithful. God must still be blessing me because of my husband’s obedience. I don’t pretend to know the mind of God and there may be some truth to this—but really in that statement I recognize that what I really believe: I SIMPLY AM NOT WORTHY OF THIS KIND OF LOVE.
When we live in an “unworthy place” we believe that we are so unacceptable that even now as God reaches out to us—we do not fully receive. We cower, we are shame-filled, or worse, we pridefully we think that His blessings are our own doing. We do not actually see His mercy and grace for what they are—purely a gift.
The image that I see is a homeless woman beaten down by the years, cast out and ridiculed by society. One day she finds $100,000 dropped at her feet. She looks at it…looks around and then quickly hides it amongst her things. She walks around for days…at some times with a big smile on her face…knowing that now with this money she might have hope and a future. Other times she is riddled with guilt knowing it is not hers and knowing that she did nothing to deserve it. Still other days she pretends she worked hard for that money and that she not only deserves the money—it was not good “fortune” but her OWN doing that made that money appear…wasn’t she entitled after all these years of poverty??
As she was walking along, the women does battle on the inside. As simply as this gift came…could it not just go away? She lives in a state of distrust and caution. As she is walking one day—she (literally) walks in to a man. He looks at her…he too is wearing rags. She stops and (not threatened) by His exterior…kindly says “hello.” He looks back with eyes of love that she has never seen or known. She feels as if she has known him for a long time and there is an immediate sense of trust…something she cannot explain. He asks her her story and why she is walking around poverty stricken, but somehow she sensed he already knew her story… her secret. She explains that this is all she has done for the past 25 years…and besides she questioned, “how am I supposed to change the circumstances I am in?” The man lifts up her coat and unveils the money that she found. She looks astonished wondering how He knew? He explains that he gave up his savings and all that he had so that she might be able to be freed from this life of poverty. The woman’s eyes filled with tears as she looked at the man in rags who was peaceful and happy to share all that he had so that she might be able to have life to the full. The women looked sadly at the man and explained that she could not know or understand this type of love. She did not believe that she was worthy to receive this kind of gift…and also felt completely indebted to him for his generosity, his unconditional act of love. He simply said… “sweet daughter, you haven’t truly received it yet.”
I am not worthy of this kind of love…and yet His sacrifice, His Son has made me worthy. Why do I struggle to receive this grace? Why do I continue to try to do it on my own? Why do I struggle to abide? All I know is that gracious beggar has given me everything so that I might find life to the full. I can hear His voice saying, “RECEIVE IT,” and once you do…ABIDE IN ME. And then TRULY LIVE.
(Okay we are back to December 2013…I found this blog in drafts and realized I wasn’t courageous enough to post it until now! Sad. The fun part about reading this blog is that I am SO happy to see how quickly things change when we fully accept the “life to the full” that He has to offer. When we surrender and transfer our dreams to His–that is when life truly begins! Life is SO much better on this side of things. There is less striving and stress. One might look at our current circumstances and think, “Now Jenni must really feel chaotic–she decided to surrender to God’s direction for her life and she is in AFRICA!?!” But I can assure you I have never felt more free, alive, and convinced that I was smack dab in the center of His perfect will. And there is great peace.)
So as December daily brings us closer to Christmas day–I pray that the women in my life that feel exhausted from trying to be SUPERWOMAN–doing life on their own–even when they know better–would receive the GIFT that He offers. Life to the full–but His way–and not ours. I pray this gift would be incredibly enticing and that we would lay down our striving, our good works, our activity, our need to please, our perfectionism, our busyness, our longing for what others have, our desire to make it look “pretty” on the outside…and we would REST. I pray that we would accept the gift he is offering–legitimately take it–abide in Him…and LIVE.
May You Be a Blessing and May You NOT be Superwoman,