How to Give God's Grace to Yourself {and Everyone Else, Too}

Most of us are pretty familiar with John 10:10.... it's at the top of this page if you aren't so much :) But we often quote the second part of the verse without thinking too much on the first. The full verse says: 

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (other versions say "to the full"). 

A psalmist describes the enemy as a lion on the prowl. And that, my friends, he is. And I'm beginning to think that the mark of the beast is a hashtag on one hand and a pinterest logo on the other. 

If you struggle with perfectionism (like I always have) then Face-Pin-Twit can add an extra-heavy dose of "not good enough" into your heart. Who we are as a wife, mother, friend, lover, homemaker, homeschooler all come into question, and there's room for improvement everywhere we look. 

I've lived my entire life constantly looking for "the better way". No matter what I do or attain, I never allow myself to rest in it or honestly feel any joy from it at all. I begin to immediately pick it apart. I am the BEST at finding what's lacking (in myself and those I love). And it does not come from a place of malice- but a heart to be the BEST I can be. And for my children to be the BEST they can be. For my husband to be the BEST he can be. 

And on the face of it, that doesn't sound like a terrible thing. But when the enemy is stealing, killing and destroying, the drive to be the BEST becomes a life of "never good enough". And we find that our moments of praising those we love are always tinted with a smidgen of "but it would be better if..." and our moments of personal satisfaction are quickly wiped away by finding the piece that could still be better.

But all of that- the comparison, criticism and perfection is a lie of the enemy. One he is using to destroy me, piece by piece, and hurt the hearts of those whom I love most. And he may be doing the same to you.

God has used this third kiddo to bring me a little closer to Jesus and whisper to my heart,

"Christ is perfection, and his ONLY standard is that you love him, follow him and believe on him. He knows that, no matter what, you are so far from perfection that you could never attain it. That's why he came, and that's why he died. To cover up ALL OF THE WAYS that you fail and don't stack up. If he came because of your imperfection, and he died to cover it up, then who are you to think you can attain perfection anyway?"

You see- Jesus IS the standard. And he promised that his yoke was easy and his burden was light.

So then, why does everything seem so heavy and hard?


Every time one of my girls does her best, but I point out how it could be a little better? Lies. Every time I believe that I'm doing my BEST, but think back over it to find all ways it could have still been done cheaper/faster/smarter/prettier? LIES. 

But INSTEAD, when I begin to look at what we are aiming to accomplish, and what we have accomplished, in light of the standard of Christ, I breath easy. This burden is light.

You see, Christ does not have a standard for what age my child begins to read. He did not set a standard for books read, quotes memorized, Latin declensions learned, math levels completed {and at what age}. He only requires that they follow him. So, as a parent, my only standard is that my children grow up to follow and honor HIM (not the voice in their head telling them it was never good enough). 

Christ does not set a standard for how pinterest-worthy our child's birthday party is. Or how cute our engagement photos are. Or how memorable our gender reveal was. Or how organized our refrigerator shelves or bathroom cabinet are. Or how more *natural* it was to use oils for that headache, rather than a tylenol.

Christ did not come so that we "could have life and have it full... of pin-able moments". 

Christ came and laid down his life for our SOULS. And our child's soul and our husband's soul. Our souls that has been won and perfected through what he did on the cross... AND BY ABSOLUTELY NO OTHER MEANS

The enemy uses potentially good tools in our lives to drive us into the arms and standards of this world, when we are called to be apart from it. He takes a montage of all of good and excellent and praiseworthy pieces of OTHER PEOPLE'S LIVES and tells us we have to measure up to THAT.

He came so that we could have OUR life- and have it abundantly. OUR LIFE. No one else's. 

There is NO perfection on this earth apart from Christ. My goal as a parent is that my children grow up loving the Lord and pursuing the passions that He has placed upon their hearts with fervor, character and skill, in a way that honors and glorifies Him. That's it.  

I've just celebrated my 34th birthday and the birth of my third child. And with that, I've also celebrated the wisdom that I am not perfect. My life is not perfect. I don't have to make things so hard.

Stop making things so hard. 

Yes- as a follower of Christ, we are called to serve others and perform tasks as unto the Lord. This is not a call to crappery. But, it's a call to do things well, with passion and character and THEN, LAY THEM DOWN- at the foot of the Cross- knowing that HE has them covered up and his grace is sufficient.

I don't have to review and reprimand myself or those I love. I don't have to point out how it could have been just a bit better if... I can celebrate the moment and enjoy the victory. I can rest in the peace of knowing that doing EVERY.SINGLE.THING. the very "BEST" does not add one moment to my life nor does it bring any glory to my God. As a matter of fact, my drive to perfectionism does not point to what Christ did on the cross in the least- it takes away from it and demonstrates my OWN lack of faith.

His standard is that I lay down MY standard and pick his up. And man... is it light.