Preface: I haven’t slept….much. And even if I had, please bare with me as I try to gather my whirling, swirling thoughts to make enough sense.
Those days…The ones where you wake up feeling defeated before your feet hit the floor. The ones when you’re exhausted and walking around in a fog. The ones where you feel like everything is crumbling. The ones where you feel like if your self esteem takes one more hit, you may be the one crumbling.
Before I move on further, I’m going to say that feelings are not the end all be all to our likely not crumbling world. We may “feel” like God is not hearing us, not caring, or just not around. But feelings are often wrong and the truth is concrete. He does hear us, He does care, and He’s never leaving us. Still, that is not to say that feelings are insignificant either.
I struggle with writing this type of blog for the main purpose of not wanting to attract attention to myself. I don’t want to seem boastful. I also don’t like to put myself out there. I do want to let people see inside my head a little (scary, I know. I said just a little :). I want my friends and family (all 4 of you) that read my blog to know that I struggle with things but for that to be an encouragement to you and to let you know that you are not alone in your struggles. I want others to know that no matter how small and insignificant you think your problems are, they are never too small to take to your heavenly Father. I mean, compared to the pity party I’m throwing myself, there are so, so many others that carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. I’m just a mom, at home with her four babies, trying to clean a house, a very. messy. house. I’m trying to bring this in from two different perspectives here. One, for those who think their problems aren’t good (? bad?) enough to take to God. I say that because I struggle so much with prayer and feeling so inadequate and unworthy to go to Him. Being a mom at all is a far cry from being insignificant. Whether you have 1, 2, 4, 7 or any in between and beyond, your role as a mom, is to disciple your kids and teach them what God’s grace (love, mercy, holiness, etc) looks like. They learn it from you. They watch you. The other perspective is to keep a reigned in check on these feelings, because although they feel very real to you and me, and do matter, there are people with very real, bigger issues.
Our ladies group at church is doing a small book study, “Because He Loves Me” by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick. This next part may be long, but I feel like it says so much that we need to hear.
The Specters of Condemnation
“Because there are times when our feelings of guilt or condemnation flow out of a superficial understanding of our sinfulness, I’ve belabored the point about our failures in this chapter. Although it seems counter-intuitive, fully embracing our utter inability to keep the law will actually free us from feelings of guiltiness. For instance, when your children fail and you respond to them in an ungodly way it’s easy to beat yourself up with thoughts such as “I’m such a terrible mother.” If however, you’ve been freed from the expectation that you should be able to be a wonderful mother, your heart’s response will be:
I know that I’ve failed to be the kind of mother he wants me to be, but that’s why I need a Savior, and it’s why my kids need one, too. Thank you, Lord, that you’ve given me your perfect record, and that even though I sin, I am accounted perfectly righteous before you. Please forgive me and help me respond to this great gift you’ve given in faith and grateful obedience. I trust you to work in me.
In my own life I frequently have to pray in this way numbers of times before I can silence the dreadful harping of my proud heart. I have to remind myself over and over that his righteousness is now mine and that the way my heart harasses me is more a function of my pride and self-sufficiency than a sincere desire for godliness. If godliness before him is what I was really after, then one look at the cross and empty tomb would suffice. But I can see that I’m frequently more concerned about whether I approve of myself than the fact that he approves of me. I sinfully long to be able to look at my life and feel good about my personal accomplishments – See what a good mother I am! – and it’s that desire that spawns crushing guilt. The only way to silence my heart and find solace is to continually remind myself of my new identity in Christ and to be satisfied with that alone. If I try to be satisfied in my own accomplishments or identity, I’ll never know the comfort he promised. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden,” he calls, “and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28 – 30).
When I come to him in meekness and dependence, I’ll learn the difference between proud self-condemnation (which is all about me) and humble conviction of sin (which is about him, his grace, and his law). His yoke is easy; his burden is light. I can come to him and find rest for my soul, but I must come in humility and brokenness (I Pet. 5:5), (Fitzpatrick, 75).”
I know that was a big excerpt but what an encouragement! I often and currently do feel like a failure. I yell at my kids, I sass my hubby on a regular basis, among many, many other things. My feelings of failure are based on selfishness? Yes! But our love is not like God’s love. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:1-2).” I may yet be a little whiny today (coffee will be my best friend), but I can move along with the knowledge that I am God’s child, and while I fail on my own merit every single day, he looks at me through the blood of Jesus and gives no condemnation. I also love the verse about his yoke being easy and burden light because I can hear mom and dad singing the song about it in my head and it brings back nice memories. 🙂