Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Basics

I am not a perfectionist. I am far too much of a realist for that. I know full well my weaknesses and limitations. I am, however, very driven and performance oriented. I do not desire to be THE best...I just want to feel like I did MY best. There really is a big difference. I am not in competition with anyone else. Frankly, my standards for other people are nowhere near as high as they are for myself.

I confessed to a group of women last night, that God is revealing something interesting to me about one of the motivations of blogging: It is my alibi. I am reminded dozens of times everyday of the things I could have/should have done differently. I am mortal. I am flawed. I make lots of mistakes and I am OK with that. But when my husband comes home at the end of a long day to a frazzled shell of a woman or when my children are grown and have their list of the wacky decisions we made as we raised them.. I just want them to know how hard I tried, how much I sought God's wisdom and His help and how desperately I desired to serve well.

I know I must surrender these control and performance issues to God. I am just keeping it real confessing where I am right now.

The more full life becomes, the more I long for a bottom line. Tell me how to be a good Christian/wife/Mom/woman. I want a 12 step program. I don't mind hard work--and goodness knows I love to please...just tell me what I need to do.

I think it is easy to become ensnared in overanalysis. It happens in government, corporations, families, churches... People can get dangerously distracted from their stated objective when they start splitting hairs over things that are comparatively meaningless. I don't want this to happen in my life. I like to ponder. I want to be thoughtful...but last night I started wondering if I am making it more complicated than it needs to be.

Motherhood is not all of me. There are lots of other parts. I tend to write about it the most because in this season in dominates most of my time--but the truth is I am, first and foremost, a child of God. So, what did Jesus himself say of what is expected of us? The most important commandments, according to Jesus are: 1-Love the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul and strength & 2-Love our neighbors as ourselves. Personally, I could spend the rest of my life trying to master those two things.

And in Micah 6:8, we are reminded that God has told us what He requires of us. I have always loved it in the NIV:
"He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."

When I compared it in the Message tonight it spoke to me:
How can I stand up before God and show proper respect to the high God?
Should I bring an armload of offerings topped off with yearling calves?
Would God be impressed with thousands of rams, with buckets and barrels of olive oil?
Would he be moved if I sacrificed my firstborn child, my precious baby, to cancel my sin?
But he's already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women.
It's quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don't take yourself too seriously— take God seriously."

That is a good Word that my soul desperately needed to hear.

I am going back to the basics. Sovereign God. Jesus Christ crucified. Love. Grace. Mercy. Compassion. Peace.

I think that will be enough to keep me busy for a while. :-)


Emmy said...

Very well said! Me Too! Thanks!

Colored With Memories said...

Oh, Micah 6:8. I love that verse. Do you know the tune that goes with it?

You've got me humming it now!

Pam said...

One of my favorite verses . . . and I love the Message's wording as well. I do know the tune, and I am humming it right now.

I just finished a quick study on grace. It actually went too fast, so I am digging deeper on my own.

I feel that same need lately to pull back and lean on the basics more heavily in order that my foundation is firm and my heart is steadfast.

Your words resonated tonight as I read so much of what rattles around in my own head and heart. Thanks, friend.

Sun said...

this spoke volumnes to my heart - thank you! I can SO relate to what you share here - the struggles, the wanting to do my best, this verse REALLY spoke to me tonight! I hope it is ok, I am going to link my blog back to this post because I know this will speak to some of my Mommy friends' hearts as well! Sunshine

Big Mama said...

I totally get this, Jen. I've always loved Micah 6:8, yet I seem to forget it in my quest to do everything "right".

Hey, any chance we can talk you into coming to San Antonio for the Siesta Fiesta?

The Cole's est 2002 said...

I get it too. I am constantly hard on myself thinking I should be teaching my kids this and that and volunteering here and there. What is my purpose? What is my mission? What is my cause? I spent a week with the girls I teach Sunday school to in Daytona listening to Louie Giglio ask those questions. When I got home I prayed what am I doing to further your kingdom now God? What do you want me to do for you? What is my purpose? The answer from way back in college came to me. GOD's will is about God! It is not about me. If I am seeking God and loving others I will have a mission without looking for it. Thank you. God used you to solidify my feelings exactly.

MaryBeth said...

Last night at our Bible study I read Micah 6:8 from my Message Bible to all my friends... I was struck last week by how clearly the Word was speaking this exact same thing to me!! Thanks for sharing all your other insights.

Embracing my cup said...

Love this!! I needed to hear it! Thanks!