If you were at my house right now, we would visit on the back deck.
The living room is covered in markers, toys, and candy wrappers from the treats my kids think I don’t know they’re sneaking. I’m picking my battles. The dishes happen to be done today – I’ll spare sharing how many days it has been since that last happened.
Physically isolated from friends & family, and so focused on maintaining peace in our home, I find myself riding the roller coaster of emotions between “I’ve got this!” and “Nuts, someone found my stash of survival chocolate.” If I’m honest, life is like this most weeks, even without physical distancing and a global pandemic.
Like so many, I was taught to rely only on myself to avoid disappointment in life. I poured into my academic studies, became a model employee, and donned a cape that allowed me to swoop in and be the hero in any difficult situation. The downside was wearing so many masks, I forgot my identity in Christ. I believed I needed to shape-shift so my performance would make others like me, and that lie got projected onto Jesus.
I convinced myself I should be able to raise my kids, work 3 jobs, have dinner on the table each night, and a clean house too. I had to bake organic muffins for snack, and dive into a daily Bible study. At the time, I was sure this pleased God, and made Him like me more. I was also sure it was burning me out.
My faith became driven by a lie, deeply rooted in a hidden place that pressed me towards perfection in order to be acceptable. My concept of God became so twisted, my view of Him and myself skewed. When the pressure to perform left me crumpled on my kitchen floor in a tear-stained breakdown, in His mercy, He sat with me. It turns out, He always wanted to teach me how to rest in Him, but I was too focused on my self-sufficient performance to let Him.
When I look around at the markers, toys, and candy wrappers, the drive to place my worth on my performance still wells up within me. This booming voice screams of my inadequacies, insignificance, and failure as a wife, a mom, and a Christian. It’s an attempt to pull me back into a belief I’m not who God says I am, and neither is He. When we forget who we are in Christ – fully loved and accepted – He sits with us in the middle of our mess and reminds us what is true:
“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1 NASB)
I need a daily reminder that Jesus made us acceptable through His finished work on the cross. It took me a long time – because clinging to self-sufficiency is comfortable and familiar – but Jesus slowly revealed to my heart that all of His love is fully available to me, right now.
There are still days I go looking for the stash of survival chocolate, because some days are wildly overwhelming. I’ll ask Jesus where He is when I’m struggling to keep up with life, and He always whispers back, “I’m still here.”
In the middle of the mess, in the middle of the storm, in the middle of the perceived failure, doubt, and inadequacies staring us in the face, Jesus is still here. Our identity is Christ in us, in the middle of the mess. In Romans 8:38-39, Paul says,
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (NASB)
If Paul is right, (and he is), Jesus loves us through every moment of life, whether we think we’re performing well or not. His thoughts toward us are too many to count, filled with kindness, love, and mercy. My prayer is to find Him in the middle of the mess, and accept His goodness toward me.
May you find Jesus in the messy middle of 2020!
Krystle Morris, Speaker & Writer
More about Krystle Morris is a speaker & writer at www.krystlespeaks.com. She loves to have authentic conversations about overcoming our inner mean girl with the power of Jesus’ love. You can find her on Instagram @krystlespeaks
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