As I mentioned on Tuesday, I recently realized that I have been walking in pride, thinking that I could accomplish everything on my own – that I had to accomplish everything on my own. David pointed out to me about a month ago that I have a very deep belief that I could actually get it all done if I just tweaked my schedule enough. For perspective, everything in a nutshell is: bless my family, inspire my children in their education, keep a beautiful, clean, hospitable home, cook economical gourmet healthy meals, be everything my husband needs in marriage and business, set an inspiring example to younger women, have words of wisdom on my tongue for everyone I talk to, regularly connect with family and friends so that they feel the love we have for them, run a successful blog that blesses other families while also bringing in money for our family, stay physically fit and healthy, read good books and have interesting conversations, and, of course, all while maintaining a deep, passionate relationship with the Lord. Just writing all of that down, I can see why I am always working and never arriving! These are all things that I deeply desire, and some are from the Lord, some are from my background, some are from society overall, and some are from observing others I admire. I don’t think the ideals are wrong (otherwise, they wouldn’t be my ideals), but my pursuit of them has been out of order.
Last week, I was listening to some friends talk about pride, and during the course of the conversation, someone mentioned in passing that God wants us to rest. It wasn’t directed at anyone, sort of an aside, but the Lord immediately began pricking my heart. It’s definitely been a busy season for me, between launching this blog and the eBay store, but the truth is that I have struggled with perfectionism my whole life. Sure, it goes back to deep beliefs I formed in childhood of not being good enough (remember this post?), but the truth is that I’m never going to measure up to this crazy perfection. I wasn’t even created to be that perfect person. I was created by God to love Him and to love others. I show my love to Him by obeying Him – not by being everything admirable and lovely (as wonderful as that seems).
So, I felt like the Lord led me to start this blog, and I obeyed, but somewhere along the way in the past few months, I started worrying if it was good enough – if I was doing it right. The blogging world is new territory for me! I had a personal blog in the past and loved it (okay, and hated it too – because I ended up feeling obligated to continue posting regularly), but learning about SEO (how people who don’t know me would find my blog on search engines), affiliate advertising (how to make some money through people buying through my links), and technical design things (like how to get a new font, change my picture, add a navigation bar)… It’s really intimidating! It has been like going back to school to learn a new skill in a new language. I just knew that the Lord gave me an idea of a way to bless other families – I had no idea how much more work it would be beyond just reading and writing. It’s been amazing and humbling to see the hand of the Lord reminding me that He is our provider as He has brought people into my life to help me along the way – even down to the timing of a new friend asking me one day if she could just come over and clean our house regularly to bless our family (talk about a modern-day miracle!).
Like I said, somewhere along the way I got distracted from obeying – forgot Deuteronomy 8, which is a punch in the face to this pride. Verse 6: “Observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in obedience to him and revering him.” The Israelites are reminded that if they obey the Lord, they will be blessed and have a great life. Deuteronomy 8:10-14 “When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” Then the Israelites are reminded again of how good the Lord was to them They are warned in Deuteronomy 8:17-18 “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.” [NIV, emphasis added by me]
So that’s when I realized that I had strayed away from just loving by obeying and into thinking I had to do everything/be everything in order to be “successful” as a wife, mama, Christ follower, friend, business owner, blogger, etc. I’ve taken some time to look at the “why” behind what I’ve been doing, since all of the “what” is right, and it’s been a humbling time, my friends. I do lots of good things for selfish reasons. But praise God that He opened my eyes and that He is gracious and patient! I’ve been considering what the “Sabbath rest” of Hebrews 4 would look like in my heart, and I am inspired and awed by the thought of it. That my Creator would want me to rest like He does, to stop working in my own strength, what a kind and loving Father!